Paleolithic Long-Range Weapons Identified in Belgium

Belgium Flint PointsLIÈGE, BELGIUM—According to a statement released by the University of Liège, spear throwers dated to 31,000 years ago have been identified at the archaeological site of Maisières-Canal, which is located on the banks of the Haine River in southern Belgium. The dating of the artifacts pushes back the use of such long-distance hunting weapons, which can propel darts up to 260 feet, by some 10,000 years. To determine how the stone points from the site were used, researchers from TraceoLab and the University of Liège fired replicas of Paleolithic projectiles with spears, bows, and spear throwers, and then compared the resulting marks on the replica points with marks on actual Paleolithic projectiles. Noora Taipale of TraceoLab explained that the marks made by the spear throwers on the replica projectiles were a close match to the marks found on the artifacts from Maisières-Canal. The researchers plan to examine additional artifacts to see if they can find even older examples of long-range weaponry. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Scientific Reports. For more on ancient weaponry, go to “Weapons of the Ancient World.”


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