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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
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Message started by TobyAttle on May 31st, 2017 at 6:15pm

Title: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by TobyAttle on May 31st, 2017 at 6:15pm
Here is a map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites around the world. Data from Manfred Korfman. Map created by Eric T. Scov.
slingMap2.png (95 KB | 87 )

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by TobyAttle on May 31st, 2017 at 6:19pm
This map is of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites in the Great Basin. Data from Heizer and Johnson. Map created by Eric T. Scov.
SlinMapGreatBasin.png (169 KB | 59 )

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Morphy on May 31st, 2017 at 7:00pm
Very interesting. I wonder if its possible to correlate these spots with any external features. Such as availability of smooth stones. I wouldnt think theres a 1:1 correlation but it would make sense that the sling would be used more in such areas.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by TobyAttle on May 31st, 2017 at 8:59pm
That is an interesting hypothesis the slings definitely seem to be centered around the equator and coasts and river basins, smooth stones would be readily available here and but are also centers of population throughout history, so it could also just be a coincidence. What information does correlate with external features are the materials the slings are made out of. The sling materials reflect the available resources in geographical areas. African slings are usually made completely out of plant material, while slings in arctic regions like Siberia are almost completely made of hide and sinews

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by kicktheotter on Jun 1st, 2017 at 3:59am
Does just go to show that, although the Bealeric Isles get all the fame, the sling really is an international invention.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Morphy on Jun 1st, 2017 at 2:46pm

TobyAttle wrote on May 31st, 2017 at 8:59pm:
That is an interesting hypothesis the slings definitely seem to be centered around the equator and coasts and river basins, smooth stones would be readily available here and but are also centers of population throughout history, so it could also just be a coincidence. What information does correlate with external features are the materials the slings are made out of. The sling materials reflect the available resources in geographical areas. African slings are usually made completely out of plant material, while slings in arctic regions like Siberia are almost completely made of hide and sinews


I guess one way to find out would be to use the areas that dont have access to stones as controls and then compare the ratio of access vs lack of access and see if theres any correlation. Ive had an idea about something I call niche weapons for awhile. The idea is basically a study of why certain cultures use certain tools and what niches exist that each tool fills. Most cultures will have similar niches but based on the enviorment will fill those niches with different tools. Everything seems to come down to cost/benefit analysis and the sling is one of the best examples.  With exetremely high costs and benefits.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by TobyAttle on Jun 1st, 2017 at 11:40pm

Morphy wrote on Jun 1st, 2017 at 2:46pm:

TobyAttle wrote on May 31st, 2017 at 8:59pm:
That is an interesting hypothesis the slings definitely seem to be centered around the equator and coasts and river basins, smooth stones would be readily available here and but are also centers of population throughout history, so it could also just be a coincidence. What information does correlate with external features are the materials the slings are made out of. The sling materials reflect the available resources in geographical areas. African slings are usually made completely out of plant material, while slings in arctic regions like Siberia are almost completely made of hide and sinews


I guess one way to find out would be to use the areas that dont have access to stones as controls and then compare the ratio of access vs lack of access and see if theres any correlation. Ive had an idea about something I call niche weapons for awhile. The idea is basically a study of why certain cultures use certain tools and what niches exist that each tool fills. Most cultures will have similar niches but based on the enviorment will fill those niches with different tools. Everything seems to come down to cost/benefit analysis and the sling is one of the best examples.  With exetremely high costs and benefits.


Yes, but finding a culture that does not have access to something as simple as stones would be difficult to find. Oceanic peoples and cultures set in far north places covered most of the year by ice might be the closest to a control group, but even they had slings. Many slings have been found in use by Siberian reindeer herders and fishermen, and Filipinos used very long slings. I can not think of a culture that did not use slings, even Bedouin nomads in the Sahara desert made slings to throw rocks when out of the dunes. Your idea about niche weapons though is genius. People will always make inventions to solve problems in their environment.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Bill Skinner on Jul 27th, 2017 at 10:15pm
The group down in the Florida pan handle in the first map is pretty rock free.  It's basically sand on top of limestone.  It is also the area where ducks and geese migrate to on the Atlantic flyway.  And while there aren't many stone in the area, there is a lot of high grade clay that you don't have to fire.

So, could slings be more for hunting waterfowl in certain areas?

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Samuel on Nov 27th, 2018 at 5:08am
Hi, I know this is a dead topic since 2017, but still...

Reading “Historia de la Honda” by Jesús Vega Hernández I found that he discusses those maps and he has de theory that the area with highest concentration of sling-related artifacts / slinging tradition correlates with the Alpine Orogeny from the Tertiary.

His point is that the use of sling is highly related with its use as a tool by pastoral societies that live around mountain ranges and highlands.

Here we can see two more maps showing the orogeny and the slinging archeological remains.

Imagen1_001.png (356 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Samuel on Nov 27th, 2018 at 5:09am
both sling sites and Alpine mountain ranges.
Imagen2.png (96 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by kicktheotter on Nov 27th, 2018 at 7:45am
Now that's interesting. I do think we forget on the forum that slings were for many (most?) cultures a tool used by shepherds. I think we get caught up in the warfare and hunting and forget the "keeping wolves away" uses. I found with the Tibetan slings I have that they would be perfect for throwing a stone at something and in a very obvious way (long sling so big wind-up, have to use heliopter or a similar throw) to maximize scaring off what you are throwing at. For a war or hunting? Far from useless but for herding they're perfect. This correlation makes a lot of sense. Thanks for reviving the post :D

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Bill Skinner on Dec 3rd, 2018 at 2:33pm
Not in N America.  Especially not in the eastern seaboard.  The only domestic animals in that area were dogs and chickens.  And the chickens came up out of Cuba, probably from the Yucatan  Western seaboard had dogs, chickens and turkeys.  No herd animals.

South America had llamas but I'm not sure when they were domesticated or the range.

Pretty sure that in N&S America, it was a hunting/warfare type of tool.

For that matter, pretty sure most of Polynesia didn't have herd animals. 

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by kicktheotter on Dec 3rd, 2018 at 3:16pm
Ah I didn't consider the Americas. Good points.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Samuel on Dec 4th, 2018 at 5:27am
Bill, good point about North America. As for the Andean region, herding was a major activity, very important for their economy and culture, more for the wool than for the meat (even their slings (huaracas) are made out of wool!!!). I learned that South American technology was focused towards textiles: wool, strings, fabric… (they used it to build bridges, tools, of course clothes, and even their written language was about making knots). I would say that for the Andean region the point relating sling use and pastoral society is strong.

About North America I don’t know much, but all the info I’ve got is that the sling was in fact used, but not as widespread as in other regions and in general was a secondary tool/weapon (I might be wrong). One interesting thing about the Americas would be to know if the sling came with the first settlers during the Paleolithic or it was developed entirely separately from “the old world”. (as far as I know nobody knows the exact time when the sling was invented) 

Regarding Polynesian people… well, I don’t know. They had pigs, chicken, dogs (I think). But I wouldn’t call them “herders”. I actually think that there is also some tendency to the use of the sling by islanders (Mediterranean, Polynesian, even Irish…), but it’s just an impression.

For me the general idea is that basically every human society since at least the Neolithic has known the sling and used it to some degree, but there are some economic and ecological aspects (herding, mountain ranges, abrupt terrain, ¿islands?...) that seem to enhance the use of the sling.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by kicktheotter on Dec 4th, 2018 at 5:50am

Samuel wrote on Dec 4th, 2018 at 5:27am:
For me the general idea is that basically every human society since at least the Neolithic has known the sling and used it to some degree, but there are some economic and ecological aspects (herding, mountain ranges, abrupt terrain, ¿islands?...) that seem to enhance the use of the sling.


Except for Australia. They never developed the sling (or it was developed but didn't take off, was imported but then abandoned quickly or some other variation). Again, they didn't have herds so that might have contributed to it not being needed in their society if they had other tools to cover the other uses of a sling. All speculation though.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Samuel on Dec 4th, 2018 at 7:20am
True, native Australians always forgoten. My bad. I imagine there are some other peoples that never used the sling.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by kicktheotter on Dec 4th, 2018 at 8:17am
I guess there must be but it seems it's so hard to track the history of the sling. I think slings have suffered from the fact that in a lot of cultures they were so common and peasent tools that no-one bothered to say much about them and then they've always been made of materials that decompose so next to no archeological evidence except glandes and slingstones (which might not be recognised as such) and then a few slings that happened to be in the right conditions to survive. 

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Bill Skinner on Dec 5th, 2018 at 11:32am
What's odd about Australia is that it was surrounded by sling using peoples.  Who also switched to the bow and arrow when it showed up.

I'm going to guess that just like large areas of N America stayed with stone tools, the people at the time didn't need to change to metal to survive.  And the Old Wisconsin Culture was using hammered copper tools 7000 years ago and there was a trade route from the source all the way to the Gulf Coastal areas.  Pacific Northwestern natives were also using hammered copper nuggets for tools and jewelry for longer than that. 

My first thought when I saw the second map was that it pretty well mapped out Homo Sapiens migratory routes from Africa.  50,000+ years ago.

Title: Re: map of slings and sling related artifacts from archaeological sites
Post by Curious Aardvark on Dec 8th, 2018 at 8:46am
track the history of herding animals and you'll find the sling goes right along.
That and some fishing cultures.

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