9000-year-old wooden spear discovered at a lake

A ritual wooden spear was found by archaeologists in Bolków near Lake Świdwie, north-western Poland. The ornamented artefact is believed to be 9000 years old.

Wooden spear from lake Świdwie (by T. Galiński)
Wooden spear from lake Świdwie (by T. Galiński)

The object, said to be the tip of a ritual spear, was found under a layer of over 1 metre thick peat. The artefact measures about 40 centimetres long and over 10 centimetres wide. X-ray analysis revealed that it is covered with geometric ornament consisting of triangles, zigzags, herringbone patterns, and both vertical and horizontal lines. The central place in the decoration shows a scene with three people and animals. One of the individuals, identified by the experts as the shaman, has a characteristic mask with wide deer antlers. The animals are typical forest animals and birds.

The spear in situ (by T. Galińśki)
The spear in situ (by Tomasz Galiński)

The spear is dated to the Early Mesolithic Era, about 9000 years ago. It was found near a previously studied shamanistic sanctuary from the same age. The archaeologists are excavating the site and its vicinity since 2012. So far they found, a meteorite within one of the huts, a unusually shaped walking stick, an object made of birch bark, possibly part of a mask. The newly discovered wooden spear is said to be the only such find from the area of Europe.

(after Nauka w Polsce, RMF24 & Tomasz Galiński)

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