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The Schöningen Spears

The Schöningen Spears

Dr. Hartmut Thieme of the Lower Saxony State Heritage Office is the discoverer of the world-famous Schöningen Spears. Since 1983, the archaeologist and his team have been carrying out rescue excavations in the Schöningen open-cast mine. The crowning achievement of his efforts was the discovery of several completely preserved wooden artifacts from the Paleolithic period between 1994 and 1998 - a find that is unparalleled and made its finder world-famous among experts. With an age of about 300,000 years, the Schöningen spears are the oldest preserved hunting weapons of mankind to date. With the Forschungsmuseum Schöningen, Thieme's find is presented to interested visitors and experts from all over the world.

The Schöninger Spears in the portal Cultural Heritage of Lower Saxony

Sensational find

In the middle of a hunting site archaeologists found more than 10,000 bones of wild horses as well as seven wooden spears, other spear fragments, a lance and two throwing sticks. A real world sensation. Never before have such old and completely preserved wooden hunting weapons been found. Thanks to unusually favorable geological conditions, the finds have been preserved for about 300,000 years. The news of the sensational find of the Schöningen spears went around the world.

Homo heidelbergensis

In Schöningen, Lower Saxony, one can uniquely reconstruct how and where our predecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, lived and hunted. There is no parallel to the Schöningen spears from the entire Paleolithic period anywhere in the world. For archaeologists, the carefully worked spears, which are more than two meters long, are like a treasure of knowledge. On the basis of the entire assemblage of finds, the settlement history of northern Europe can be explained and many assumptions about the life of Homo heidelbergensis can now finally be proven. Planning, communication, technological skills, sophisticated hunting strategies and a complex social structure were among his abilities. Thus, they were much closer to modern humans than previously thought.

Cooperation with more than 80 colleagues from 30 institutions worldwide