Carved bone points to ancient, complex hunting weapons near Indonesia
A 35,000-year-old piece of carved bone found on Timor, an island between Java and Papua New Guinea, indicates that complex hunting weapons were manufactured much earlier than previously thought in Australasia.
A team led by archaeologist Sue O’Connor of Australian National University in Canberra has unearthed, in a project that began in 2000, what it regards as the broken butt of a bone spear point. Three closely spaced notches and part of a fourth were carved on each side of the artifact, above a shaft that tapers to a rounded bottom.
Wear on the notches and residue of a sticky substance close to the bottom suggest the point was tied and glued to a slot on the side of a wooden handle or inserted into a split hollow shaft, the researchers report January 15 in the Journal of Human Evolution.
Stone Age islanders threw spears from boats at large fish and other sea prey, O’Connor proposes.