Human Bone Daggers Made By New Guinea People

Posted: Apr 25 2018, 12:12am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 25 2018, 1:20am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Human Bone Daggers Made by New Guinea People
The top dagger is a human bone dagger from New Guinea while the below one is a cassowary bone dagger. Photo Credit: Hood Museum of Art/Dartmouth College; Dominy NJ. et al, Royal Society Open Science via LiveScience
  • These Human Bone Daggers Made in New Guinea

Natives of New Guinea shaped Human Bones into Aesthetic and Deadly Weapons

A century ago, if you lived in the New Guinea region, you would have a dagger with you strapped to your arm. This would not just be any ordinary knife but one made of human bone.

Although there were knives made from the bones of birds, the ones made from human bones topped the list in superiority and rank. The human bones used came from corpses of enemies who had been slain in battle.

An anthropologist who studied these bones found them to be intricately carved and beautifully shaped into knives that stood out from the rest of the tools of these people.

What he noted was that the most complex carvings were along the gripping handles of the knives. This was so that the grip strength could be at its maximum force and the weapon could be applied with ultimate power.

These daggers could be described as formidable, fierce-looking and beautiful. Human bone knives are a rarity.

From 500 bone daggers present in the Field Museum in Chicago, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Conn., and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, only 21 are made from human bone.

These human bone daggers date back to the beginning of the 19th century. Making them was a part of the tradition of the natives of the regions.

The daggers were meant not only to tear into flesh and draw blood, but they were also supposed to instantly disable an opponent by rupturing his throat and severing the neck bone. The decoration of implements and utensils is a common tradition throughout all the cultures of the world.

The New Guineans are no different. Warriors of New Guinea used to kill cassowaries with these weapons of choice. Also since these daggers were made from human bone, they symbolized the original strength of the deceased from whose bones they had been made.

The findings of this new study got published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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