Ancient Polish tool originated in Finland

A pierced antler shows long-distance trade was in full swing 11,000 years ago. Jeff Glorfeld reports.

Prehistoric hunter-gatherers in north-eastern Europe travelled thousands of kilometres to trade and exchange gifts with other communities, a new study suggests - writes

A paper published this week in the journal PLOS ONE describes how an ornamented baton found recently in central Poland was made from the antler of a reindeer native to northern Scandinavia.

A team led by Grzegorz Osipowicz, from Poland’s Nicolaus Copernicus University, conducted a DNA analysis on the artefact – known as a “baton perce” – and established that it came from a caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Carbon dating placed the antler in the Early Holocene period – between 11,700 and 8000 years ago.

Records of caribou remains indicate that at that time its range was restricted to northern Scandinavia and north-western Russia. Isotopic analysis of the antler further narrowed its origin to North Karelia or South Lapland in Finland – meaning that it had travelled about 1400 kilometres to end up in Poland.

Osipowicz says it is “impossible to determine conclusively” how or why the baton covered the distance, but it does provide “the first direct evidence for the flow of goods between hunter-gatherer groups in the Early Holocene at such a great distance”.

The so-called baton perce, or pierced rod, is a much-debated type of prehistoric artefact, typically 15 to 20 centimetres long, with at least one and often two holes drilled through them. Originally they were called batons de commandement (“baton of command”), but it was argued the title made an assumption about their function, which remains in dispute.

Many of these batons are decoratively carved, and most researchers believe they were used for straightening spears and arrows, or as spear-throwing tools. However, at least one study, from 1996 , argued that they were handles for “brace drills”: sticks rotated against wood to generate friction for fire-making.

Read also other news of Helsinki on our site.

Finland AncientPolishtool
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....