Bones and antlers

Pig scull

Skull from a young pig / wild boar found in shallow waters by the settlement


Finds of, among other things, fishbones and bones from stags, wild boar and cows show clearly that Stone Age people lived off both fishing and hunting. Parts of stag antlers have also been found, which would have been used as tools, including for working flint, and as fishing tools.



Antlers were often used as tools.


In addition, a large number of different bone tips has been found. Finds of bone tips are, however, nothing new, but the many different types that have been found in Rødbyhavn indicate that they were made with a specific purpose in mind. Some were used as fishing tools, others for sewing fishing nets and clothes. There would have been a sort of professionalisation, where the tools were processed so as to match the specific task.


Bone tips

Bone tips - with and without ornamentation - are richly represented in the excavations.


A few of the tips feature ornamentation in the form of lines. Whether these are merely decorative or they had a practical function, e.g. in connection with tying the tip to something is uncertain.

One tip is in the shape of a lancet and looks like a small spear. It is an arrowhead made of bone. The arrowhead would have been hafted by having the long end stuck into the hole of an arrow shaft.


Livestock in prehistoric times
In prehistoric times, livestock were important to the population. Once under human control, livestock produced skins, milk, meet and served as labour - no part of the animals was wasted. The individual animals each had their own role, but they did not all become domesticated at once. It was a long process that spanned most of antiquity.
Initially, the dog appeared in the middle of the Mesolithic Age (from ca. 9000 BC). This was followed by goats, sheep and cattle, which started appearing in earnest after the arrival of agriculture in Denmark ca. 3900 BC. The horse followed next during the Bronze Age (1700 BC - 500 BC), and by the end of the Iron Age, pigs, chickens, cats and ducks were also to be found in the villages.
All of the animals mentioned here went through a genetic change over time, adapting to life as livestock. They all started as wild versions, but as time passed, they were adapted through deliberate breeding in order to utilise and improve their best qualities. Such animals are called domesticated animals.