Originally assessed as being between 380,000 and 400,000 years old, they represent the oldest completely preserved hunting weapons of prehistoric Europe so far discovered. As such they predate the age of Neanderthal Man (by convention taken to emerge after 300,000 years ago), and are associated with Homo heidelbergensis. The spears support the practice of hunting by archaic humans in Europe in the late Lower Paleolithic.
The age of the spears was estimated from their stratigraphic position, "sandwiched between deposits of the Elsterian and Saalian glaciations, and situated within a well-studied sedimentary sequence." More recently, thermoluminescence dating of heated flints in a deposit beneath that which contained the spears suggested that the spears were between 337,000 and 300,000 years old.