Fishtail-Daggers

This is a heavily resharpened and worn flint Fishtail-dagger from the latest Neolithic (1900-1700 BC) of Southern Scandinavia.

Although Fishtail-Daggers are often interpreted as prestige goods, many of them show extensive traces of resharpening, which is suggestive of a use embedded within profane activities. It has been shown, that Fishtail-Daggers start as long and very long artifacts (>20cm) but, over the course of many careful resharpening phases, these were reduced significantly in size.

Interestingly, preserving a pointed tip seems to have been a main goal during rejuvenation of these daggers. Thus their use as a stabbing instrument and weapons can not be ruled out, although newer interpretations rather focus on their use as implements for the slaughter or offering of livestock.

Over half of the fishtail daggers in Jutland are recorded as single stray find with unknown context. In contrast to the frequent hoards of Type I flint daggers far fewer fishtail daggers seem to have been included in hoards.

Flint daggers of the European North are generally seen as “Skeuomorphs”. Skeuomorphism means a non-functional survival in shape or design which implies derivation from an earlier form or from a prototype in another material. In the case of Nordic flint daggers it has been suggested that the forms of knapped Fishtail-daggers produced during the latest Neolithic in Southern Scandinavia were inspired by the metal daggers which began to circulate in Europe during the fourth millennium BC. At this time point no useful native metal was available in Scandinavia. It is possible, that the imitation of metal daggers allowed the owners of flint daggers to symbolically participate in the economic world of metal users in the south. Anyhow, this does not mean, that the Scandinavian and Metal- daggers fulfilled the same social functions. Quite the contrary contextual data point to a very different use.

911 Views since 2/2016 1 Views Today

About Katzman

During my whole life I was fascinated by stone age artefacts. Not only the aesthetic qualities of these findings, but also the stories around them and the considerations arising from their discovery, are a part of my blog. Comments and contributions are allways welcome! About me: J.L. Katzman (Pseudonym). Born in Vienna. Left Austria in 1974 and did not regret. Studied Medicine and Prehistory at a German University. Member of a Medical Department at a German University. Copyright 2010-2017 by JLK. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to use material in these posts so long as you cite the work.
This entry was posted in Plaeolithics and Neolithics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *