Dr. Hartmut Thieme of the Lower Saxony State Office for the Preservation of Monuments (NLD) is the discoverer of the world-famous Schöninger Spears. Since 1983, the archaeologist and his team have been carrying out rescue excavations in the run-up to the Schöninger opencast mine. The culmination of his efforts between 1994 and 1998 was the discovery of several fully preserved wooden artifacts from the Paleolitol period – a find that is unparalleled and made their finder world-famous in professional circles.
The Schöninger Spears are the oldest surviving hunting weapons of mankind at an age of about 300,000 years. With the Schöninger Speere Paleonresearch and Experience Centre, Thieme’s fund is being duly staged for interested visitors and experts from all over the world.
In the middle of a hunting camp you will find more than 10,000 bones of wild horses as well as seven wooden spears, further spear fragments, a lance and a throwing wood. A real world sensation. Never before have such old and fully preserved wooden hunting weapons been found. The finds were preserved for about 300,000 years thanks to unusually favorable geological conditions. The news of the sensational find of the Schöninger Spears goes around the world.
In Schöningen in Lower Saxony, one can understand how and where our predecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, lived and hunted. From the entire Paleolitol age there is no parallel to the Schöninger spears worldwide. For archaeologists, the more than two-metre-long, carefully worked spears are like a treasure trove of knowledge.
On the basis of the entire find ensemble, the history of settlement in Northern Europe can be explained and many assumptions about the life of Homo heidelbergensis can finally be proved. Planning, communication skills, technological skills, sophisticated hunting strategies and a complex social fabric were among his skills. This made him much closer to modern humans than previously thought.
Research and Experience Centre
Phone: 05352 / 96914-0
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.