9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Orłowska

Drilling through antler with wooden and bone drill bits: first observations and conclusions

Justyna Orłowska

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń

From the Stone Age comes a whole range of various kinds of artifacts made of antler (e.g. axes, hammer-adzes), distinguished by a presence of a large hole (diameter over 2 cm) in their structure. With time, people started to wonder about possible ways of producing holes of this type, because besides the size itself, enchain also their regularity (in the majority of cases their inner walls are smooth) and the fact that their inlet parts are of the same diameter on both sides (Bagniewski 1992; David 1999; Pratsch 2006). This encouraged researchers to suggest that the holes had to be produced with help of special drill bits (most probably made of bone or wood), designed for kind of drilling devices (Henriksen 1973; Bagniewski 1992).Unfortunately, so far we do not posses findings unambiguously resolving the problems surrounding the production of this type of holes in antler artifacts.

The above issue became a starting point for conducting an experiment, designed to test the properties and capabilities of bone and wooden drill bits.

Bagniewski Z., 1992 W sprawie obróbki surowca rogowego w mezolicie, [w:] Studia Archeologiczne, t. 22, s. 13-33

David E., 1999 L’industrie en matières dures animales du mésolithique ancien et moyen en Europe du Nord. Unpublished D.Phil thesis. Paris.

Henriksen G., 1973 Maglemosekulturens Drilbor med et par boretekniske betragtninger, ;[w:] Aarbøger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie 1973, s. 217-25.

Pratsch S., 2006 Mesolithische Geweihgeräte im Jungmoränengebiet zwischen Elbe und Neman. Ein Beitrag zur Ökologie und Ökonomie mesolithischer Wildbeuter. Studien zur Archäologie Europas 2. Bonn


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