An archeological discovery in southern Poland is the first evidence in Europe that inhabitants of this region killed mammoths by hunting.
The discovery comes from one of the largest unique concentrations of mammoth skeletons in Europe, in the southern Polish city of Kraków. Decades-long excavations have revealed 110 skeletons from over 25,000 years ago.
Recently, a small segment of spear blade was been discovered in a mammoth skeleton, the first discovery of its kind in Europe.
“During a detailed analysis of tens of thousand bones I encountered a damaged mammoth rib. The damage was proved to had been caused by a stone spear blade,” said Piotr Wojtal from the Kraków Polish Academy of Sciences.
He emphasised the lack of a consensus among the scientific circles on the way that ancient Europeans killed those animals. Until now, evidence of spear hunting had been found only in Siberia, with other hypotheses being the use of deep pits as traps, or forcing the mammoths to fall off cliffs.
The stone blade discovered is only 7 mm long and is judged to have been broken after contact with the mammoth’s body. Mr Wojtal added that the wound had not been fatal but the animal was most likely killed by being stabbed in softer tissue.
Until now, discoveries of this kind in Europe were only encountered in skeletons of bears. The one in Kraków proved to be a “smoking gun” for the argument that European predecessors in fact hunted mammoths.