The Lithuanian National Museum (LNM) in Vilnius has unveiled a 13,000-year-old exhibit – a Baltic hunting axe.
The country’s oldest archaeological find was unearthed six years ago near Biržai, a northern Lithuanian town. Dalia Ostrauskienė, head of the archaeological department at LNM, said that the axe was discovered by accident.
“In 2014, some men were digging in a farm that belonged to Vilius Venckūnas. They found what they thought was a horn and gave it to the landowner,” Ostrauskienė explained.
“Sometime later, a friend from Germany visited Venckūnas and said that he saw a similar horn in a German museum. Then the owner realised the value of the find and passed it over to the specialists,” she added.
Only hunters in the Baltic Sea region used such types of weapons. Axes made of reindeer horns were popular, but modern archaeologists rarely discover them.
Archaeologists from Lithuania and London examined the axe and found that it was made from reindeer horns, which usually decompose in a few thousand years. It was a miracle that the axe survived, according to the specialists.
Some 13,000 years ago, the territory of present-day Lithuania was undergoing temporary climate warming following the Ice Age. The discovery of the axe and its analysis is also helping scientists expand their knowledge about hunters’ lives in this period.
The exhibit is on display at the Lithuanian National Museum in Vilnius, Arsenalo Street 3.