Reverse engineering in prehistory: The neolithic bow of la draga, spain

Juan A. Barceló, Vera Moitinho de Almeida, Oriol López-Bultó, Antoni Palomo, Xavier Terradas

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review


La Draga is an archaeological site in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula dating to the Early Neolithic era, more than 7000 years ago. Given the extraordinary preservation of objects made of wood and vegetable fiber, this site offers an exceptional window on a period in human history when agriculture and herding were used for the first time in Europe to produce food and new means of living. In this chapter we concentrate on a single kind of object: archery equipment. We do so not only because these represent an important kind of tool, but also because the way we have researched them involves a combination of detective work, forensic research, and state-of-the art computer technology. It is our view that only by “reversing” the prehistoric engineering, in the same way as modern designers do with modern objects, we can learn how people lived in the deep past. In our efforts to “revive” prehistoric societies, we sometimes need both state-of-the-art modern computer technology and the careful work of archaeologists, as the roster of authors of this chapter attest.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging Archaeology
Subtitle of host publication25 Case Studies in Research Practice
EditorsStephen W. Silliman
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781119240549
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2018


  • Archery
  • Computer simulation
  • Europe
  • Experimentation
  • Hunting
  • La draga
  • Learning
  • Neolithic
  • Spain
  • Wood


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