When does hafting first appear?

When does hafting first appear?

Research Goal

It is still unclear when (and where) the expertise of hafting first appeared, but it is clear that the existence of a tool technology utilising organic materials is a precondition for any future adoption and advances of hafting. Organic tools may have been used for various functions, such as digging sticks and alike, but obviously also as hunting weapons. While hafting has been reliably identified on sites dating to about 200.000 years ago in both Europe and Northeast Africa (Rots and Van Peer 2006, Rots In press), this may not yet represent the earliest evidence. It is essential to examine material from a range of Old and early Middle Palaeolithic sites in order to be able to deal with this question.

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Stone artifacts from Schöningen 12 and 13 were examined microscopically to identify residues, wear, and manufacturing traces in order to clarify their possible anthropogenic origins and their function. We present evidence showing that the stone tools were used for working wood and hide and for cutting meat. The results from the use-wear and residue analyses proved complementary in several instances. Suggestive evidence of hafting was observed on a few pieces, which is particularly interesting given the identification of wooden hafts at the site. The positive results of this analysis demonstrate the efficacy and potential of these techniques for Lower Paleolithic sites such as Schöningen.


Rots, V., Hardy, B. L., Serangeli, J., & Conard, N. J. (2015). Residue and microwear analyses of the stone artifacts from Schöningen. Journal of human evolution, 89, 298-308.

PI Schöningen avec Hartmut Thieme à gauche
(Left) Helmut Thieme
Shöningen Site
Veerle Rots_pin
Associate researcher
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