For Hunting or for Warfare? Bone Arrowheads from the Late Bronze Age Fortified Settlements in Eastern Baltic/Relvad Voi Jahiriistad? Luust Nooleotsad Baltimaade Noorema Pronksiaja Kindlustatud Asulate Leiumaterjalis

Article excerpt


Bone arrowheads are quite numerous among the archaeological finds of the Late Bronze Age (ca 1100-500 BC) from the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The present article is mainly based on Estonian finds, but in spring 2006 the author had an opportunity to study some bone arrowheads from two fortified settlements of Lithuania in the Lithuanian National Museum. Still, most of the Lithuanian and Latvian material is discussed on the basis of published finds: about Lithuania the material published by Elena Grigalaviciene (1986a; 1986b; 1992; 1995) and Regina Volkaite-Kulikauskiene (1986) has been used, and about Latvia the publications by Janis Graudonis ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1967; Graudonis 1989) and Andrejs Vasks (1994). Estonian arrowheads have been discussed in greater detail by Vello Lougas (1970, 99-106) and Uwe Sperling (2006, 112-114), but they have also been mentioned in various other publications concerning archaeological finds from fortified settlements (e.g. Indreko 1939, 24; Vassar 1939, 82; Baccap 1955, 118; Lang 1996, 49).

The present study does not aim tot compile a typology of Bronze Age arrowheads, such typologies have been compiled in each Baltic country (Lougas 1970, 100 ff; Graudonis 1989, 34-35; Grigalaviciene 1995, 113-115; Sperling 2006, 112-114, fig. 35). Sometimes small sharp-tipped bone fragments, which have been but slightly worked, have been discussed together with arrowheads (e.g. Grigalaviciene 1986a, fig. 19; 1986b, fig. 20: 1-5; 1995, fig. 63), but his article deals only with carefully finished arrowheads. One of the aims of the article is to analyze the material, tools and technology used to make these arrowheads. An answer is sought to the question whether these arrowheads were used for hunting or for warfare.

Finds of bone arrowheads from Estonia and other eastern Baltic countries

About 50 bone arrowheads have been found from the fortified settlements of Estonia (Fig. 1). From Asva more than 30 bone arrowheads and their fragments have been found, including some blanks and unfinished objects (Figs. 2: 1-6; 3; 5; Indreko 1939, 24, fig. 7: 3; Baccap 1955, 118, fig. 35: 4, 5, 7; Lougas 1970, 99, pl. 22; Sperling 2006, 112-114, pls. LI: 1-2; LIV). The number of arrowheads and their fragments from Ridala is more than 20 (Fig. 2: 8-9; Lougas 1970, 99) and three arrowheads and their fragments dating from the Bronze Age have been found from Iru (Fig. 2: 7; Lougas 1970, 99; Lang 1996, 49, pl. VII: 4) (2) From Iru a couple of bone fragments are also known which may be blanks for making bone arrowheads. One arrowhead was found from Kaali (Fig. 4; Lougas 1978, 328) and one more from Peedu in south-eastern Estonia (Moos 1939, fig. 70). Some bone arrowheads are also known from the Bronze Age fortified settlement of Joaorg in Narva (Nikitjuk 1997, 79, fig. 2), but as this site was already inhabited in the Neolithic, the exact date of these arrowheads is not certain.


Bone arrowheads are also numerous among archaeological finds from the fortified settlements of Latvia, e.g. from Kivutkalns, Vinakalns, Mukukalns, Brikuli (Fig. 1; [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 1967, 89-90, pl. XII; Latvijas 1974, pl. 18: 3-9, 11-16; Graudonis 1989, 34-35, pls. XVI-XVIII, XLVIV: 16-19; Vasks 1994, 40, pl. VIII: 2, 10-12); and Lithuania, e.g. from Narkunai, Kereliai, Sokiskiai, Moskenai, Petresiunai (Fig. 1; Volkaite-Kulikauskiene 1986, 28 29, figs. 33, 34; Grigalaviciene 1986b, fig. 20: 6, 7; 1995, 113-115, fig. 62). In Lithuanian National Museum I could examine some arrowheads from the hillforts of Narkunai and Kereliai, which resemble Estonian ones by their manufacturing techniques and working traces. Bone arrowheads of the Bronze Age occur also in other countries around the Baltic--in Poland, Sweden and Russia as well as in Finland, where they are found also from the Iron Age sites (Lougas 1970, 101 ff.; Ikaheimo et al. 2004, 8-10, fig. …