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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
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Message started by Teg on Jan 10th, 2018 at 2:20pm

Title: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Teg on Jan 10th, 2018 at 2:20pm
Many of you know that I have been working on the egyptian slings for several years now, with a special focus on the sling in Manchester Museum (Acc. No. 103). In 2015 I had the unique opportunity to investigate one of the Lahun slings in Manchester Museum (a huge thank you to David Colter and Campbell Price at this point!). The last years I invested some time into analyzing the pictures as well as experimenting with different reconstruction methods. The reconstructions are documented in the links below.

Now I put together a progress report about the current findings from the analysis. A low resolution version is attached to this post, a version with full resolution images can be downloaded from here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/7xjyalnu8lwkye2/Report_Manchester_published_20180110_fr.pdf?dl=0 (~180 MB) and a full collection of all ~120 photographs is available upon request from me (Mail or PM).

The project itself has reached a point where it is near its final target: a full publication in a journal. A couple details remain however. First, I forgot to take some measurements and pictures of some details. Second, Id like to take another closer look at the pouch in person, especially at the twist direction of the threads. Also, I was unable to perform a reliable thread count from the pictures as their contrast is sometimes a bit questionable. There is still considerable room for interpretation which fabrication method was used (and most probably will always be).

So another personal visit to Manchester is most probably required. However, before I invest the time and money, Id like to discuss the current findings with other people, which is the reason why I released this progress report.

Im looking for any kind of input: Details in the photos that I may have missed or corrections of my observations, another idea for a reconstruction approach, methodology, general feedback and ideas,

What also remains to be done is a thorough literature and archive research for the exact circumstances under which this sling was found (i.e. its accurate historic context). I found the sling being mentioned in the original digging report, however no further details are given. A possible avenue would also be the look for other found items made with similar thread, from which one could infer something.

So here you go! Im looking forward to your feedback here or by Email/PM. Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.

Teg / Thomas Gartmann

Links to past discussions:
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1505851909/0
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1360291032/0
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1305757185/0
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1331821760/0
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1094667990
[edit] working link
https://fundamittere.jimdo.com/app/download/5845581763/Rekonstruktion+der+Schleuder+von+Lahun+150912_1.pdf?t=1348458289[/edit]
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1140984986/0



http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?action=downloadfile;file=Report_Manchester_published_20180110_lr.pdf (4029 KB | 128 )

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by kicktheotter on Jan 11th, 2018 at 4:09am
Amazing work. I really need to get back to attempting a woven pouch again. My first attempts were... questionable so I'll have to get back to practicing.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Morphy on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am
Interesting. I read most of it. Although some of the weaving and twining portions went over my head.

I had a couple things come to mind reading this which may have little to do with the scope of this paper but maybe others are curious about as well.

So one would be do you know what quadrant of the sling pouch had the most wear and tear? Or was there any significant wear on the pouch at all? I was thinking it would be interesting to extrapolate if this was a left or right handed slinger.

Secondly, do we know the length of the other Egyptian slings? And do any of them have ammunition that can be reliably connected to them as sling ammunition? 55 cm (21 inches) is quite short. But there are other ancient works of art showing similarly short slings. It would be fascinating to find out that a sizable segment of slinging history was using slings shorter than what is typically considered ideal. And if such a trend existed it would beg the question as to why.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Curious Aardvark on Jan 11th, 2018 at 12:14pm
shorter slings would be good for hunting, which is always going to be a close up job with a sling.

Bear in mind most of the historical slings we know are war or shepherd slings - which would need to be longer.

The balearic target slings are also pretty short, as they're rarely used for anything beyong 20 metres. Which would be about max for small animal hunting.
I've tried for the last 4 years to get them to shoot at 30 metres - they just refuse, make excuses and wimp out  :-) 

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Morphy on Jan 11th, 2018 at 2:22pm

Curious Aardvark wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 12:14pm:
shorter slings would be good for hunting, which is always going to be a close up job with a sling.

Bear in mind most of the historical slings we know are war or shepherd slings - which would need to be longer.

The balearic target slings are also pretty short, as they're rarely used for anything beyong 20 metres. Which would be about max for small animal hunting.
I've tried for the last 4 years to get them to shoot at 30 metres - they just refuse, make excuses and wimp out :-)


Is this only in the competitions you have taken part in or do they never go out to 30 meters? That seems very odd to me, and really not utilizing the sling to its full capabilities.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Teg on Jan 12th, 2018 at 10:00am

Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am:
So one would be do you know what quadrant of the sling pouch had the most wear and tear? Or was there any significant wear on the pouch at all? I was thinking it would be interesting to extrapolate if this was a left or right handed slinger.


There is no damage that I could instantly assign to slinging related damage. To me, the pouch looks not very well used. But on the other hand the release cord seems to be pieced together, something I'd like to follow up on in the future. I could not have a good look at the inside as it is not possible to unfold it. From what I could see it is not damaged or abrased. The next time I'll bring a small dental mirror or similar along to have a better look.



Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am:
Secondly, do we know the length of the other Egyptian slings?

The other sling from Lahun (22nd dynasty, analysed by Burgess in 1958) is ~22 inch long, so a very similar length (both lengths measured without taking the pouch into account, so add another ~7 cm for total folded length). I'm not aware of any measurements of the tut slings.



Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am:
And do any of them have ammunition that can be reliably connected to them as sling ammunition?

Not that I know. The round balls are not mentioned in Petries report (Kahun, Gurob and Hawara, 1890), so I'm not sure in which relation they are to the sling. There are some founds of sling amunition, but not from the same place. See Wernick, Slings in the ancient middle east with reference to the egyptian material, ZS 2014 for a starting point.


Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am:
But there are other ancient works of art showing similarly short slings.
Which ones are you thinking about?



Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 8:51am:
It would be fascinating to find out that a sizable segment of slinging history was using slings shorter than what is typically considered ideal. And if such a trend existed it would beg the question as to why.

I would guess that hunting of waterfowl is quite a good assumption for Lahun as it was located close to the Faiyum Oasis.




Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Morphy on Jan 12th, 2018 at 10:52am


Here's the one that came to mind. I know I've seen others. So it makes me wonder about the average sling length.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Bill Skinner on Jan 12th, 2018 at 1:20pm
The length of those slings is about finger tip to elbow, which makes sense if you are slinging in formation.    And the only way to mass your fires was to put your projectile guys close together.  Not just slings but archers, muskets, crossbows, matchlocks, pilla and the like. 

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Morphy on Jan 12th, 2018 at 1:32pm
I agree. Short slings and light lead ammunition makes good sense tactically speaking. I imagine these guys were not using lead but they probably practiced quite a bit and were capable of throwing heavier stones far with short slings.

My main question is how prevalent was the short sling altogether in the slinging world. And by short I mean no longer than around 26 inches. Militarily of course it makes sense but I wonder if longer slings were the exception rather than the rule in most slinging activities.

My own preferences have changed dramatically over the years from 48 inches down to my preferred arm length sling @~ 24 inches.


Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Sarosh on Oct 8th, 2019 at 1:04pm
How do you make the warp so perfect?
It usually comes out too tight other times its too relaxed.
I pass the warp through with a long knitting needle and the weft is tight , then I pull it through and comb it into position.

IMG_2015824__Small_.jpg (87 KB | 6 )

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Curious Aardvark on Oct 8th, 2019 at 2:31pm
think that's the one david made for the manchester museum. Also Teg has studied and made them.

David you need to ask on facebook - unless you can write a message on top of his beer, facebook is the only way to get hold of him.
Teg was around here yesterday :-)

looking at that image - it makes you wonder who influenced who. 'cos that's a balearic sling and the classic balearic way of holding it.

Also interesting that they are slinging in ranks.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Teg on Oct 8th, 2019 at 5:32pm
First some terminology to avoid confusion:
The warp is the fixed thread on your loom. The weft is the thread you have on your needle and pass through. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warp_and_weft


Sarosh wrote on Oct 8th, 2019 at 1:04pm:
How do you make the warp so perfect?

Training and experience ;). It's all about the right tension and spacing.

Some tips:

1) There is too much tension on your weft. In the blue circle you can see how you pull your warp out of position. Use less tension on your weft, if you want your textile weft-faced (i.e. the weft showing). The weft should lie in there loosely (but snug), so that you can beat it up.
Make sure your warp is well tensioned. The warps should not be pulled out of position.

2) Your warps are quite dense. If you space them more it will be easier.
See https://peggyosterkamp.com/peggys-weaving-tips-sett-weaving-balanced-warpfaced-weftfaced-fabrics/ for example. See in the density image how a little less dense warps can have quite an impact.

3) If its too hard to pull your weft through at the edge, move it further away into the middle. It's easier there. You have to tension the warps in the end either way, so it doesn't matter that much if you work right at the edge or not.

4) The more warps you have, the more difficult it will be. Start with ~10 warps or so (see the second picture) and experiment until you are satisfied and have a feeling for it. Then go larger.

5) Instead of a comb it is also possible to use a weaving sword. In the "beating" photo I pushed the threads up with the needle, as shown by the red arrow. That might be easier if your comb is not stable enough. In this part I intentionally had the warps very densely packed.

6) work evenly, smoothly and slowly. If you yank, you can't control your tension.

7) it takes a couple rows (4-5 rows) to look nice. Make ~5-10 rows and arrange them. If you don't like it, start over.


I hope that helps you.

On a side note: Both Lahun slings (the Manchester one and the one in the Petrie museum) are not a plain weaves but twined. But I guess that doesn't bother you at the moment ;)
IMG_2015824__Small__001.jpg (100 KB | 1 )
beating.jpg (225 KB | 3 )
density.jpg (258 KB | 3 )

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Sarosh on Oct 9th, 2019 at 4:06am
@ Teg

Thanks for the detailed answer! :)
going to experiment

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Sarosh on Oct 10th, 2019 at 9:07am
3rd try came out nice! :D very hard pouch , I guess it would be very good for lead. Haven't used it yet.
I might make a video on it.
IMG_9_141__Medium_.jpg (142 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by cram on Oct 10th, 2019 at 9:26am
Woven pouches eventually soften up, but they still keep their tightness

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by TheJackinati on Oct 10th, 2019 at 4:48pm
I completely suck when it comes to shaped woven pouches.

I can do a Peruvian style pouch with the long slit because they are fairly straight, but whenever I try shaping them they end up looking like... well, horrible, and often still are far too narrow.

Title: Re: The Kahun/el-Lahun sling: Analysis and Pointers for Reconstruction Approach
Post by Curious Aardvark on Oct 11th, 2019 at 7:45am

Morphy wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 2:22pm:

Curious Aardvark wrote on Jan 11th, 2018 at 12:14pm:
shorter slings would be good for hunting, which is always going to be a close up job with a sling.

Bear in mind most of the historical slings we know are war or shepherd slings - which would need to be longer.

The balearic target slings are also pretty short, as they're rarely used for anything beyong 20 metres. Which would be about max for small animal hunting.
I've tried for the last 4 years to get them to shoot at 30 metres - they just refuse, make excuses and wimp out :-)


Is this only in the competitions you have taken part in or do they never go out to 30 meters? That seems very odd to me, and really not utilizing the sling to its full capabilities.


they do sling at 30metres in ibiza - not sure about mallorca. A normal competition in ibiza is 5 shots at 20 metres and 5 shots at 30 metres.

But the thing is with target shooting at short distances, it's easy to set up a range on a bit of scrub land - or in one case the end of a carpark is regularly used. It has scrub land behind it, and yes members of the public do occasionally appear in the firing line.
Health and safety - not so much :-)

From what I've seen of the balearic islands, there just are no large flat areas for any kind of distance slinging with hard ammo. And while they will sling with tennis balls - none of them like it.

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