There has been a justifiable enthusiasm in recent years for charred timber finishes, popularized most recently by interest in the work of figures such as David Nash and Terunobu Fujimori. However the process of charring timber to harden it, preserve it and change its appearance has its roots in the Palaeolithic.
The Schoningen Spears, discovered by Hartmut Thieme in the 1990's, show evidence of highly developed technological skills and of a profound workmanlike tradition. The tips were worked symmetrically from the base of the stems and charred to increase hardness.
From a woodworker's perspective the spears represent an extraordinary tradition of craftsmanship, knowledge and skill from a culture that at best had only stone tools to work with.
One wonders that with such limited tools must have come a deeper understanding of the material in order to work it so successfully.