Monday, January 15, 2007

Archaeologists get to the point
Call it CSI: Stone Age, an archaeological investigation of how ancient flint arrowheads left their mark on some very old bones.

The trauma caused by these arrows may be a clue in the scholarly mystery of whether warfare existed in the centuries before recorded history, says the team led by archaeologist Martin Smith of the United Kingdom's University of Birmingham. "Finds of embedded projectile points are not uncommon" in bones from the late Stone Age, or Upper Paleolithic, about 10,000 to 40,000 years ago, the team says in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

While archeologists have long examined butchering marks and rock bashes left in bones, identifiable signs of the glancing blows of arrows, prehistory's weapon of choice, had heretofore been lacking. That's because archaeologists didn't know what to look for, Smith and colleagues suggest. So, they decided see for themselves what sort of wounds flint arrowheads leave behind.

Must get this paper and read the whole thing. Will report on it later.