54,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was armed with bows and arrows in Europe

Spread the love

54 000 years ago, Homo sapiens was armed with bows and arrows in Europe

< source srcset="https://images.radio-canada.ca/q_auto,w_960/v1/ici-info/16x9/homo-sapiens-europe-pointe-neronienne-fleche.jpg" media="(min-width: 0px) and (max-width: 99999px)"/>

Archaeologist Ludovic Slimak of the University of Toulouse holds between his fingers a tiny Neronian point found in the Grotte Mandrin .

A cave in the south of France has provided evidence of the oldest known use of bows and arrows in Europe, 54,000 years ago by Homo sapiens – that's 40,000 years older sooner than has been demonstrated so far, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.

In Africa, the The use of bows and arrows has been documented as far back as 70,000 years ago. But so far, in Europe, the oldest evidence was between 10,000 and 12,000 years old (in Germany).

This new study is taken from tools found in the Mandrin cave, in Drôme. The site has been excavated since 1990, and several archaeological layers there trace more than 80,000 years of occupation of the place, where Homo sapiens (modern human) alternated and the'Neanderthal man.

Small Neronian points have been experimentally reproduced using the same flint and techniques as at the time.

Layer E has been attributed to the presence of< em>Homo sapiens 54,000 years ago, caught between two layers demonstrating the presence of Neanderthals.

However, hundreds of cut stone points have been found in this famous layer E, with a finesse of execution superior to those present in the other layers.

These points are are revealed to be the key for researchers, because the other materials used for archery (wood, fibers, leather…) are much more fragile and therefore disappear over time, making the identification of this technique generally difficult.

To ascertain the function of these points – some of which are smaller than a coin – scientists have made replicas of them and projected them at the end of arrows using x27;a bow at dead animals.

We could only throw them at animals with a bow, because they were too small and light to be effective otherwise, explained to AFP Laure Metz, researcher at the University of Aix-Marseille and main author of the study. We had to use this method of propulsion.

In addition, the fractures obtained at the end of the replicas, due to contact with the bone of the animal, were then compared with those observed on the flint points found in the cave.

< p class="e-p">The fractures, many of them, although not all, were impact fractures, explained Laure Metz.

At the time, the occupants of the cave had to hunt horses, bison and deer. Animal bones were found inside.

The arrival of Homo sapiens in Western Europe has been dated to around 54,000 years ago thanks to discoveries made in Mandrin Cave. The researchers had then shown, in a previous study, that these two human species had occupied the place alternately.

Sapiens and Neanderthals probably crossed paths, according to Laure Metz, without it being possible to say what may have been the nature of their meeting, peaceful or not.

But the Neanderthals who inhabited the cave after Homo sapiens continued to use traditional weapons, such as spears, without developing propulsion techniques, she pointed out.

The traditions and technologies of these two populations were thus profoundly distinct, illustrating a remarkable technological advantage for modern populations as they expanded across the European continent, the study authors concluded.

Previous Article
Next Article