Mesolithic Harpoon
West Highland Museum

This object is made from bone and is over five thousand years old. Found by a school girl washed up on the beach near Arisaig, this harpoon would likely have been used by hunter-fisher-foragers walking the shores of Arisaig beach.   

The design lends itself to being a tool for hunting sea mammals. It has barbs on each side and an oval-shaped hole near the end of the harpoon, with a straight hollow extending to the end of the harpoon. This provides a place for a thong to go. The barbs would ensure that the harpoon lodged in the prey and would enable the hunter to drag the prey and prevent it from swimming away.   

During Mesolithic times, Scotland was a very different world. Mesolithic people lived in camps, moving around seasonally as food resources came into abundance, and they lived solely on what nature provided.  

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Date: 3,000 BCE
Materials : Bone
Size : 12cm

Associated Activity

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