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1,000-Year-Old Hunting Weapon Found in Melting Yukon Ice

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

copper barbed antlerCARCROSS, CANADA—CBC News reports that a barbed antler arrow point with a copper end blade discovered in melting ice last summer has been radiocarbon dated to 936 years ago. Yukon archaeologist Greg Hare discovered the hunting artifact in an area frequented by caribou during the summers on the traditional territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. The blade had been pointed into the earth, with the arrow half buried in ice, as if it had just been shot from a bow. “This is one of the oldest copper elements that we [have] ever found in the Yukon,” Hare said. The copper used to make the weapon was locally sourced, probably from a creek in southwest Yukon. Hare explained that in addition to representing the development of metallurgy in the Yukon, the arrow also marks the period when First Nations hunters were changing from atlatl (throwing dart) technology to bows and arrows. He thinks it may have taken two weeks to make the artifact, and that it would have been a significant loss for the hunter. For more, go to “Where the Ice Age Caribou Ranged.”

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