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The Stone Age hunter’s bow and arrow

An indispensable tool used by the Stone Age hunters was the bow and arrow. These could be used from a distance to bring down the forest’s large animals, as well as birds and smaller mammals. The arrow’s shape varied according to the target, but also through time.

Birds were popular quarry. Bird hunting took place all year round, but especially during the spring and autumn. Large collections of swan bones, particularly from the whooper swan, are known from some settlements. As well as being rich in meat, swans have a much sought-after skin with its feathers and down. If the skin was plucked free of feathers and the down was left intact, the skin could be tanned and used to make warm and soft under garments.

Finds of arrows with club-shaped heads show that in some cases special effort was made not to destroy the bird’s skin. The animals died from the shock of the hit. These kinds of arrows could also be used for hunting small fur-coated mammals.

The stone Age hunter's bow and arrow
The arrow types of the Stone Age show considerable variation. Their shape changes over time, which means they can be dated on the basis of their appearance.
The stone Age hunter's bow and arrow
The various types of arrows used by the Maglemosian hunters. The club-shaped arrow in the middle was very efficient in bird hunting.
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