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29 February 2000

Was Homo heidelbergensis a dab hand with spears and slings? At what range could he hit an elephant?

Invitation to the media: Spear-throwing demonstration on 10 March 2000 (4 p.m.) at the place where Homo heidelbergensis was found, the Grafenrain sandpit in Mauer, near Heidelberg – Part of colloquium "Early Humans in Central Europe – Chronology, Culture, Environment"

Was the 400,000-year-old Homo heidelbergensis a deadly accurate professional spear-thrower? How much help were the missiles of the day in the hunt for food? These and other questions are up for debate at the colloquium "Early Humans in Central Europe – Chronology, Culture, Environment" organised by the Society of Scientific Archaeology. The organisers extend a cordial invitation to the media to be present at a spear-throwing demonstration at the site where Homo heidelbergensis was first discovered, the Grafenrain sandpit in Mauer, near Heidelberg. The event is scheduled for 10 March 2000 (4 p.m.). Just follow the signposts when you get to Mauer.

The archaeological colloquium from 9 to 11 March promises to be something special. Alongside the 20 papers presented at the Academy of Sciences in Heidelberg the programme of events includes an excursion to the place where Homo heidelbergensis was first unearthed. Here a test demonstration with ancient wooden spears (reconstructed by experts from Schöningen) will cast light on what Homo erectus could bring down in the way of edible prey 400,000 years ago. To this end the organisers have enlisted the assistance of an outstanding javelin thrower, Stefan Schlechter of Heidelberg's University Sports Club. In addition there will be an on-the-spot demonstration of the accuracy and range of spear and sling combinations known to have been in use in the late Stone Age (Dr. Ulrich Stodiek). A presentation of the early uses to which bows and arrows were put (Leif Steguweit) rounds off the event, which represents an interesting collaboration between archaeology, early history and sport-science experts.

Subsequently there will further on-site discussion, a visit to the museum in Mauer town hall and a talk by Prof. Mania from Jena.

The organisers would appreciate being notified in good time about media presence and can be approached for further details at any time. "We'll get you in even though there's not much room out there at the sandpit," says Prof. Dr. Hermann Rieder, former director of Heidelberg University's Institute of Sports and Sport Science (Neuenheimer Feld 700, 69120 Heidelberg).

Please address any inquiries to:
Prof. Dr. Hermann Rieder
phone: 06223/970041, fax: 970043

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax:542317

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Updated: 03.03.00





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