The earliest evidence for mechanically delivered projectile weapons in Europe

Katsuhiro Sano, Simona Arrighi, Chiaramaria Stani, Daniele Aureli, Francesco Boschin, Ivana Fiore, Vincenzo Spagnolo, Stefano Ricci, Jacopo Crezzini, Paolo Boscato, Monica Gala, Antonio Tagliacozzo, Giovanni Birarda, Lisa Vaccari, Annamaria Ronchitelli, Adriana Moroni, Stefano Benazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Microscopic analysis of backed lithic pieces from the Uluzzian technocomplex (45–40 thousand yr ago) at Grotta del Cavallo (southern Italy) reveals their use as mechanically delivered projectile weapons, attributed to anatomically modern humans. Use-wear and residue analyses indicate that the lithics were hunting armatures hafted with complex adhesives, while experimental and ethnographic comparisons support their use as projectiles. The use of projectiles conferred a hunting strategy with a higher impact energy and a potential subsistence advantage over other populations and species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1414
Number of pages6
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 1


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