The Hindsgavl Dagger (Denmark, 1900-1700 BC). This Neolithic flint dagger is considered amongst the most beautiful examples of Scandinavian flint knapping

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 In the Neolithic period the flintworkers achieved very high technical standards. The magnificent dagger from Hindsgavl with its blade less than 1 cm thick is the finest example of the flintworkers’ outstanding skills at the end of the Stone Age. It was found around 1876 on tihe island Fænø in the Little Belt. The dagger type is called a ‘fishtail dagger’ because of the fishtail-formed hilt. Pressure-flaked daggers mark the beginning of the end of the Stone Age, and are the reason why the period from 2400-1800 BC is called the Dagger Period.


The worked daggers of flint appeared at the end of the Neolithic era. On the European continent the Early Bronze Age began and the dagger became the man’s most important status symbol. This development also occurred in Denmark, where the daggers were made of flint, but modelled on the European metal daggers. The flintworkers’ knapping technique permitted them to make elegant daggers with thin blades. Their technical skill culminated at the end of the Dagger Period, for example with the Hindsgavl Dagger. This is precisely where we see the competition with the imported metal daggers at its strongest. After this the heyday of the flintworker was over. Although bronze became very popular, the production of beautiful flint daggers continued far into the Bronze Age.


The worked flint daggers were much sought-after among the farming societies in Denmark at the end of the third millennium BC. They came into use all over the country, but were mainly made in northern Jutland and southeastern Denmark. While many of the flint implements of the Stone Age such as axes and knives were essential to life, the daggers do not seem to have been usable for everyday activities. They had another function. They were prestige objects that were used to show the owner’s status. In the men’s graves of the Dagger Period the daggers lie by the waist of the body.

 

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