Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe

Date:
June 29, 2012
Source:
Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona
Summary:
Researchers have discovered the oldest Neolithic bow in Europe at La Draga Neolithic site in Banyoles. The complete bow measures 108 cm long and was constructed of yew wood.

Complete bow.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona

Researchers from UAB and CSIC have discovered the oldest Neolithic bow in Europe at La Draga Neolithic site in Banyoles yields. The complete bow measures 108 cm long and was constructed of yew wood.

Archaeological research carried out at the Neolithic site of La Draga, near the lake of Banyoles, has yielded the discovery of an item which is unique to the western Mediterranean and Europe. The item is a bow dating from the period between 5400-5200 BCE, corresponding to the earliest period of settlement. It is the first bow to be found intact at the site. It can be considered the most ancient bow of the Neolithic period found in Europe.

The bow is 108 cm long and presents a plano-convex section. It is made out of yew wood (Taxus baccata) as were the majority of Neolithic bows in Europe.

In previous archaeological digs, fragments of two bows were found (in 2002 and 2005) also from the same time period, but since they are fragmented it is impossible to analyze their characteristics in depth. The current discovery opens new perspectives in understanding how these farming communities lived and organized themselves. These bows could have served different purposes, such as hunting, although if one takes into account that this activity was not all that common in the La Draga area, it cannot be ruled out that the bows may have represented elements of prestige or been related to defensive or confrontational activities. Remains have been found of bows in Northern Europe (Denmark, Russia) dating from between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE among hunter-gatherer groups, although these groups were from the Paleolithic period, and not the Neolithic.

The majority of bows from the Neolithic period in Europe can be found in central and northern Europe. Some fragments of these Neolithic bows from central Europe date from the end of the 6th millennium BCE, between 5200-5000 BCE, although generally they are from later periods, often more than a thousand years newer than La Draga. For this reason archaeologists can affirm that the three bows found at La Draga are the most ancient bows in Europe from the Neolithic period.

A new study will analyze aspects of the technology, survival strategies and social organization of the first farming communities which settled in the Iberian Peninsula.

The research carried out at the La Draga site is financed by the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia and the Spanish Ministry for Economy and Competitiveness. This project is being conducted under the coordination of the County Archaeological Museum of Banyoles, with the participation of the UAB Department of Prehistory, the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of the CSIC Institute Milà i Fontanals, the National Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia and the Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Catalonia. The excavation includes the participation of archaeology students from UAB and other universities in Spain and Europe.

The Neolithic people of La Draga, Banyoles

La Draga is located in the town of Banyoles, belonging to the county of Pla de l'Estany, and is an archaeological site corresponding to the location in which one of the first farming communities settled in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. The site is located on the eastern part of the Banyoles Lake and dates back to 5400 and 5000 BCE. The site occupies 8000 sq m and stretches out 100 m along the lake's shore and 80 m towards the east. Part of the site is totally submerged in the lake, while other parts are located on solid ground. The first digs were conducted between the years 1990 and 2005, under the scientific leadership of the County Archaeological Museum of Banyoles. Since 1994, excavations were also carried out by the Centre for Underwater Research (Museum of Archaeology of Catalonia).

The current project (2008-2013) includes participation by the Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona and the Spanish National Research Council.

The site at La Draga is exceptional for several reasons. Firstly, due to its antiquity, which is considered to be one of the oldest of the Neolithic period existing in the Iberian Peninsula. Secondly, because it is an open-air site with a fairly continuous occupation. Lastly, and surely most remarkably, because of the exceptional conditions in which it is conserved. The archaeological levels are located in the phreatic layer surrounding Lake Banyoles, giving way to anaerobic conditions which favour the conservation of organic material. These circumstances make La Draga a unique site in all of the Iberian Peninsula, since it is the only one known to have these characteristics. In Europe, together with Dispilo in Greece and La Marmota in Italy, it is one of the few lake settlements from the 6th millennium BCE.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona. "Oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142412.htm>.
Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona. (2012, June 29). Oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142412.htm
Universitat Auṭnoma de Barcelona. "Oldest Neolithic bow discovered in Europe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142412.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Bee Fossils Provide Insight Into Ice Age Environment

Newsy (Apr. 12, 2014) — Archeologists have found many fossils in the La Brea Tar Pits, including those of saber-tooth tigers and mammoths. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins