Bone: Easy to Find and Easy to Work

La piedra. Primeros instrumentos Pulse para ampliar Sala 5. Prehistoria. El universo Paleolítico. La tierra de los enigmas (Paleolítico Medio-Superior)

During the Palaeolithic, human beings learned to transform other raw materials, such as bone. The properties of this material, softer than stone, made it easier to turn into tools.

Tools were made from animal bones, horns or antlers, all easily found in nature. The first step was to carve the shape of the desired object on the bone or antler using a stone burin with a wooden handle. Once a shaft or rod had been obtained, it was polished and shaped by rubbing it with a stone, an action that left marks on the surface.

Bone could be turned into a wide variety of tools. Spearheads made of bone were hafted onto a wooden handle or shaft. Both elements, spearhead and shaft, were bevelled and tied together with a cord. The harpoon is a hunting and fishing tool with a characteristic serrated edge and a hole near the end for tying it to a shaft, onto which it would have been hafted. This way, after the harpoon was thrown and sank into the flesh of their prey, hunters could retrieve both the shaft and the harpoon by pulling on a cord. Bone needles were threaded and used to sew pieces of animal hide together. An awl was used to punch holes in the hide first, making it easier for the needle to pass through. The final object in this display is a spoon from the more recent Neolithic period. Its shape, consisting of a concave part and a handle, is ideal for eating soft foods or soups. The forms of all these objects are perfectly suited to their functions; they were well designed, each according to the task for which it was intended.