Neolithic arrowhead found in Iron Age burial

Archaeologists from the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) have uncovered a Neolithic arrowhead in an Iron Age burial, which according to the researchers may have been used as a talisman.

LWL archaeologists have been excavating an Iron Age cemetery containing cremation burials near Fröndenberg-Frömern in Germany’s Unna district.

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Dr. Eva Cichy from the Olpe branch of LWL Archeology, said: “When a few remains of corpses were uncovered, it quickly became clear that we had found a small burial ground. In some graves, the remains of vessels used as urns were still preserved, while most of the burials had already been destroyed by agriculture.”

Two large burials have been noted by the archaeologists. One slightly oval pit at a depth of 15 centimetres contained large ceramic shards deposited as funerary offerings, some of which still have the finger impressions from their production around 2,000-years-ago.

Image Credit : LWL-AfW Olpe/Michael Baales

In a neighbouring pit, excavations have found a complete, winged and stalked arrowhead made of flint from the Bell Beaker culture during the Chalcolithic – Early Bronze Age. The Bell Beaker culture, also known as the Bell Beaker complex, is an archaeological culture named after the inverted-bell beaker drinking vessel.

The culture extended across Western Europe, encompassing Iberia, extending eastward to the Danubian plains, reaching northward to encompass the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The culture also had a presence on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily, as well as certain small coastal regions in northwestern Africa.

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According to the researchers, the arrowhead may have been collected as a talisman or a curiosity, however, the artefact may have simply fallen into the pit by chance while digging or filling. The re-use of prehistoric objects as talismans has been documented from various later cultures across Europe as symbols of protection.


Header Image Credit : LWL/Petra Fleischer

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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