Period: Stone Age - the Mesolithic (15.000 – 4000


Project title: Reconstructing the manufacture and use of maglemosian barbed points by experiment


Researcher: Eva David, Universitée de Paris, France & Johanna Sëppa, Finland

Email: eva.david(at)


Year: 2009




When man was still living as hunter-gatherers a variety of tools where used for the primary occupation of the age – hunting. Hunters from the Maglemosian culture, who lived in the densely forested Scandinavia 8000 years ago, used pointed and serrated hunting tools made of the long bones of animals like deer and wild oxen. But how were these slender weapons produced and how were they used. Were these barbed weapons used as harpoons on animals like seal and deer? Were they arrow points? Or were they used as fishing spears in the many fresh water lakes of the deep forests?


Eva David and Johanna Sëppa will investigate the manufacture and practical use of these beautiful tools. And in conclusion she will be testing, which kind of hunting the bone points are best suited for.



The Researcher's Conclusions:


Reconstructing the use of the Early Maglemosian (ca. 8000 BP) barbed points will provide new insights in reasons for evolution of their shape through the Mesolithic until their decline and disappearance 2000 years later. They were at the start an important part of hunting equipment and they represent more than 50% of the tool kit made of bone and antler. A series of 13 experimental tests are therefore being undertaken in order to understand the relationship between the barbed hunting tool and the hunted game. Two of these experiments have taken place at the Land of Legends and entail reconstructing spear-heads made on bovid ribs. Know-how of making efficient spears with prehistoric technology has been explored through these experiments. The use of the spear-barbed replicas with hand force enables us to set up criteria for their accidental breakage, as well as their efficiency to pick and carry fish in enclosure.


Reference number HAFF 10/09