Shark-Tooth Knives Studied in Indonesia

Indonesia Shark TeethJAKARTA, INDONESIA—Newsweek reports that two 7,000-year-old knives made with shark teeth have been discovered on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi by an international team of researchers led by Michelle C. Langley of Griffith University and Akin Duli of the University of Hasanuddin. The tools have been associated with the hunter-gatherer Toalean culture. The remains of the first knife, recovered from the cave site of Leang Panninge, consists of a tooth with two holes drilled through its root. The second knife, uncovered at the cave site known as Leang Bulu’ Sipong 1, is represented by a broken shark tooth with one surviving hole. Both of the teeth came from tiger sharks thought to have been more than six feet long. The knives would have been assembled by attaching the shark teeth to a handle with twine made of plants and adhesives made from mineral, plant, and animal materials. Analysis of these artifacts pushes back the use of shark-tooth blades by some 2,000 years. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Antiquity. To read more about the archaeology of Sulawesi, go to “Shock of the Old.”


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