The coolest ancient weapons discovered in 2020

Ancient swords, elaborate daggers, even early artillery — 2020 turned up a number of intriguing ancient weapons that tell the story of the violence of the past. These discoveries cover hundreds of thousands of years of human history, ranging from the ice age to medieval times. 

An ice age throwing stick

(Image credit: Alexander Gonschior/University of Tübingen )

The first stop in our weapons tour takes us to the ice age, where the now-extinct human species Homo heidelbergensis used tools to hunt. Measuring about 25 inches (64.5 centimeters) long, this throwing stick found in Germany was first reported in April in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. It dates back a whopping 300,000 years and would have been used to wound or kill small prey, like rabbits, swans and ducks, according to the University of Tübingen. Homo heidelbergensis also used spears and long lances to hunt. Most of these wooden weapons are long gone, but the German site of Schöningen preserves exceptional examples of this ancient hunting tradition. 

A very old sword

(Image credit: Elif Siebenpfeiffer)

What was thought to be a medieval sword sitting in an obscure museum is actually one of the oldest swords ever discovered

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