Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 3-1 (November 2011)Wietske Prummel; Hülya Halici; Annemieke Verbaas: The bone and antler tools from the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp 1
5 Six groups of bone tools, production waste and unfinished tools

5.6 Transport: bone skates and a sledge runner

Bone skates were made from horse radii and metacarpi and a cattle radius. A sledge runner was made out of a horse metatarsus (table 3; fig. 32). That these objects were used on a completely flat and hard surface, i.e. ice, is proven by the flat dorsal side of the bones, which makes straight, sharp edges with the lateral and medial sides of the bones (Becker 1990).

To skate using bone skates, a person would have had to use a stick to push oneself forward and feet were not lifted from the ice during skating (Clason 1980; Becker 1990). This explains why several bone skates found at the site lack holes for ropes to attach the skates to the feet. Ten bone points, made out of cattle, horse and sheep long bones, are identified as the tips of skating sticks (fig. 33) (compare Lauwerier 1995, 203-204; Lauwerier & Van Heeringen 1995, 6-7).


Figure 32 Sledge runner made out of a horse’s left metatarsus, find no. 7536, Ottonian period.


Figure 33 Hollowed out bone point made out of the proximal end of a horse’s left metacarpus, presumably used as the tip of a skating stick, find no. 2596, Carolingian or Ottonian period.