- To get more thorough data, Milks asked Owen O’Donnell, an expert in reconstructing ancient technology, to create the best possible replicas. He made two from spruce—the same wood as in the Schöningen spears. He built them to the same weight—1.67 and 1.76 pounds respectively. And he finished them with stone tools to give them an authentic texture.
“I’ve been asked a lot if I threw in my own experiments,” says Milks. “But that wouldn’t tell us anything, other than that I’m a bad thrower.” Instead, she gave the spears to six trained javelin-throwers, whom she filmed with high-speed cameras. The participants hurled the spears both far and fast. It’s sometimes said that heavy spears would slow mid-flight and hit their targets with dull thuds. But Milks found that the replicas slowed very little, and landed with a kinetic wallop comparable to projectiles launched by bows or spear-throwing tools.