Stone Age Projectiles

Who shot Neanderthal Man?

The Museum of Natural History in London displays an early Paleolithic skull, dated at 38,000 years old, and excavated in 1921 in modern Zambia. Skull with Bullet Hole On the left side of the skull is a perfectly round hole nearly a third of an inch in diameter. Curiously, there are no radial split-lines around the hole or other marks that should have been left by a cold weapon, such as an arrow or spear. Opposite the hole, the cranium is shattered, and reconstruction of the fragments show the skull was blown from the inside out, as from a rifle shot. In fact, any slower a projectile would have produced neither the neat hole nor the shattering effect. Forensic experts who have examined the skull agree the cranial damage could not have been caused by anything but a high-speed projectile, purposely fired at the prehistoric victim, with intent to kill. bns2If such a weapon was indeed fired at the man, then one of two conclusions can be made: Either the specimen is not as old as it is claimed to be, and was shot by a European in recent centuries, or the remains are as old as claimed, and the marksman was ancient too. In view of the fact that the Paleolithic skull was excavated from a depth of 60 feet, mostly of lead rock, the second conclusion is more plausible. But who possessed gunpowder 38,000 years ago? Certainly not Stone Age man himself.[1]

Auroch Survives Bullet

An auroch's skull was excavated, (currently on display in the Paleontological museum in Moscow), and determined to be several hundred thousand years old. It too has a small hole in the frontal part that has no radial lines. This, combined with similar features to the above, suggest a small projectile. More interesting is the fact that the hole did NOT happen after death- the wound had partially healed!

[1] Information from and pictures from