Ancient javelins

How good were prehistoric spears?
12 February 2019
Presented by Adam Murphy
Production by Adam Murphy.

Javelin thrower

A man in a red vest pulling his arm back, ready to throw a javelin

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Archaeologists working in the UK and in Germany have come across rare examples of what look like ancient wooden spears that would have been used by our ancestors 400,000 years ago. But scientists were pointedly stuck on whether these weapons were just for poking, or if they could have been thrown, like javelins. To find out, Annemieke Milks built replicas of the original spears and asked six experienced, sharp-eyed javelin throwers to see if they could throw them. She told Adam Murphy how they got on…

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