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Upper Palaeolithic boomerang made of a mammoth tusk in south Poland

Abstract

Excavations in a cave in the Oblazowa Rock in south Poland revealed an Upper Palaeolithic cultural level with an abundance of lithic and organic artefacts as well as palaeozoological material. This level yielded a fragment of mammoth tusk showing the characteristic traits of a complete boomerang. This is the earliest certain find of this type of weapon in the world. The same layer also contained an adult distal thumb phalanx which represents the earliest find of human skeletal material in Poland to date. Human food debris in the cultural layer suggests that the Upper Palaeolithic people inhabiting the cave hunted reindeer for the most part. The faunal complex of this cultural level is typical of the Upper Pleistocene steppe–tundra, while the artefacts belong within the complex of Central European cultures with backed points and have attributes which allow them to be grouped within the Pavlov culture dating from ~23,000 yr BP. The site might have been of importance in the course of migration of human groups with backed points from today's Moravia and southwestern Slovakia regions north-eastwards to the Don river basin.

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Valde-Nowak, P., Nadachowski, A. & Wolsan, M. Upper Palaeolithic boomerang made of a mammoth tusk in south Poland. Nature 329, 436–438 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1038/329436a0

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