Excavations in Motala, eastern central Sweden, have yielded a large and diverse material of osseous tools
dating from the Late Mesolithic, c. 6000–4500 cal. BC. The assembled collection comprises some 1500 pieces.
About half of the identified tool types consist of different types of bone points among which barbed points
dominate. The utilised raw materials were predominantly red deer (Cervus elaphus) metatarsals and antler,
but other elements do also occur, as do bones from other species such as elk (Alces alces) and roe deer
More than 450 fragments of barbed points have been identified and interpreted as leister points or
harpoon heads. The barbed points were classified morphologically according to the general appearance of
their corpuses (setting of barbs), but more specifically to their basal ends. Aside from harpoons eight different
groups of leister points were defined. The leister points are interpreted as prongs or single-hafted points
for fish-spears. Plain bone points are the second largest group; these may be sorted into several types, which
are primarily interpreted as projectiles like arrowheads. Small bullet-like arrowheads and some rhombic
points as well as club-shaped points made of antler are also present. Slotted points appear in two different
types, either with uni- or bi-lateral edges.
Based on the collection from the site Strandvägen and with the help of defined morphological groups as well
as a large number of radiocarbon dates, we have identified a change in the utilisation of fishing implements
at Motala at c. 5000 cal. BC. The change is detected as a discontinuation in the use of barbed leister points
and a possible shift from bi-laterally to uni-laterally slotted points in addition to decreasing human activities
on the settlement in general, despite a continued presence at the site.
Gummesson, S.,Molin, F.: Points of bone and antler from the Late Mesolithic settlement in Motala, eastern central Sweden, in: Gross et al. (edd.), Working at The Sharp End at Hohen Viecheln, Untersuchungen und Materialien zur Steinzeit in Schleswig-Holstein und im Ostseeraum, Vol. 10, pp. 263–287, DOI: 10.23797/9783529018619-10.