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19 July 2012
Oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe

The Neolithic site of La Draga, near the lake of Banyoles in northeast Spain, has yielded a complete bow dating between 5400 and 5200 BCE, corresponding to the earliest period of settlement. It is the first bow to be found intact at the site, and can be considered the most ancient bow of the Neolithic period found in Europe. The bow is 108 centimetres long, D-shaped in section, and is made of yew wood - as were the majority of Neolithic bows in Europe. In previous digs at the same site, fragments of two bows were found from the same period.
     La Draga is one of the first farming communities settled in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. The site is on the eastern part of the Banyoles Lake, dates to 5400-5000 BCE, occupies 8000 square metres, and is partly submerged.
     La Draga is considered one of the oldest settlements of the Neolithic period existing in the Iberian Peninsula - an open-air site with a fairly continuous occupation. The archaeological levels favour the conservation of organic material, making La Draga unique in all of the Iberian Peninsula. Together with Dispilo in Greece and La Marmotta in Italy, it is one of the few lake settlements in Europe from the 6th millennium BCE.
     The phenomenon of Neolithic lake settlements is well known in the more modern chronologies of central Europe, where there is an abundance of lakes and humid environments, but extremely rare outside this area. For this reason La Draga is well-known, and attracts researchers from around the world.

Edited from EurekAlert! (29 June 2012)

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