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Egyptian sling (Read 49571 times)
funda_iucunda
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Egyptian sling
Feb 26th, 2006 at 3:16pm
 
Hallo fellow slingers,

this mail is my very first in this form. The Goliath project is very interesting. I didn't read the whole thread so far. Did you already discuss ancient Egyptian slings? Samples survived from Lahun (west of Nil river) and in the tomb of Tut Ench Amun. In the british Journal of the Arms and Armour Society 2.10 June 1958 (p. 226-230) is an article about the reconstruction: "An ancient Egyptian sling reconstructed". I desperately searched for libraries and book sellers disposing of this journal, but without any success. On the continent it sometimes seems very difficult to get british publications (with the exception of Harry Potter;-))).  I need information about the methods of construction of those surviving slings. The article "The Ballistics of The Sling" by Thom Richardson just mentions that there are reconstructions, but gave no detailled infomation. Who can help?


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Matthias
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #1 - Feb 26th, 2006 at 8:11pm
 
I have some very nice pictures that were sent to me by forum member Gaius_Cornelius quite a while ago, but I'll have to dig up my archives to track them down... Even with large high-res images, the construction is hard to sort out. The reconstruction doesn't appear to have been constructed in an identical manner - the shape and overall look is right, but the detail in the weave (?) may not be.

Matthias
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bigkahuna
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #2 - Mar 2nd, 2006 at 12:41am
 
If you look in our "Members Gallery" you will see two nice replicas of the Egyptian sling. One is by a fellow named Paul and the other is by a Graham Cole. They both did nice jobs judging by their pictures. Smiley
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funda_iucunda
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #3 - Mar 3rd, 2006 at 4:14pm
 
Many thanks for your information. Especially the photos of the sling of Graham Cole look very convincing. But it is difficult to judge about the exact way of braiding. The originals are made from flax. The manner seems rather complicated with cords braided of 10 strings. The loop is made of a 5 strings cord of which the ends coming together create the 10 strings cord. The pouch seems to be for me the most complicated part. It seems to be woven by using the 10 strings as warp (5 on each side). In the center seem to be additional strings woven in. For that I have no idea. Richardson points out that the making reminds on recent peruvian slings. But the peruvian sling I have seems to be different. Its strings are much tighter and thicker so the structure of the pouch is rather lengthwise. The egyptian sling pouch is rather crosswise structured. May be that these difference is caused by differnt relations of thickness of the warp and the filling.
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Willeke
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #4 - Mar 4th, 2006 at 7:19am
 
I had an othere look at the Egyptian sling and its remake as shown in these photos:
...

...

I get the impression that in the remake the extra warp is brought in at the outside, maybe the pouch is made first and the string is added afterwards. The tool with the thread on it gives the impression that what would be the warp, the threads from the string, is the weft in this way of working.
In the old version I do not get that impression and it seems that the extra warp needed are added and taken away along the line I made red in his sketch.
...
If you use a simple loom, like a backstrap loom or cardweaving, this is easy to do.
That way of working allows you to start working on one end of the string, like in the finger loop, to continue till the other end of the sling, adding threads and taking them away when needed.

May I repeat that all I have to go on are these 2 photos, so it is not really much in the way of evidence.

Willeke
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Gaius_Cornelius
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #5 - Mar 16th, 2006 at 3:34pm
 
Perhaps I can clarify a few things.

Firstly, Graham Cole and Gaius Cornelius are one and the same person - myself. The photographs refered to were taken by me, but the reconstruction is that of E. Martin Burgess.

The paper that you need to see is an article in Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Voll II, No 10, June 1958, pp226-230: An Ancient Egyptian Sling Reconstructed, E Martin Burgess.

Burgess goes into considerable detail regarding how he reconstructed the sling.

Having had a good look at both the original and the Burgess reconstruction I would have to say that Burgess got it right in every detail.

I have attempted my own reconstruction, but I never finished it. The cords are a 10 strand eliptical sinnet (Burgess calls it a square sinnet, but that is not strictly correct), that is fairly straightforward, but I could not get an attractive looking finger loop even after several attempts.

In case any one is wondering, the loom in the photos was made by Burgess and is speculative.
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Willeke
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #6 - Mar 16th, 2006 at 4:41pm
 
Thanks for explaning.
As you have seen the origional and had a good look at the reconstruction, your oppinion is much better than mine, based as it is on a photo.

It will be hard, for me, to get hold of the article mentioned, because I do not have access to a library where they keep magazines like that.

Willeke
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SlingWolf
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #7 - Mar 19th, 2006 at 7:12pm
 
Where did u find that sling?

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Gaius_Cornelius
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #8 - Mar 21st, 2006 at 3:02am
 
The sling is in the Petrie Museum in University College London.

It is discussed in this article:

http://www.slinging.org/25.html

Also see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sling_%28weapon%29
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funda_iucunda
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #9 - Mar 21st, 2006 at 4:58pm
 
at Gaius Cornelius:

the article in the Journal of Arms and Armour seems to be a good source. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a copy so far. May be this is such a special kind of literature which is quite seldom in german libraries.
In the www I found some information concerning the square sinnet but nothing about the elliptical sinnet. What's the difference? Is it just the fact that instead of 8 strands 10 are necessary which causes a rather elliptical or oval profile of the cord?

funda iucunda
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Gaius_Cornelius
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #10 - Mar 24th, 2006 at 3:55pm
 
funda_iucunda: I have left a message for you in your inbox. Gaius Cornelius.
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funda_iucunda
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #11 - May 17th, 2006 at 4:28pm
 
Gaius Cornelius,

many thanks for your information. Rethinking the material I'm not sure how thick the strands have to be. 1 mm is probably too thin, 3 mm seems very thick. If I put 10 strands in a cord I get a diameter of 3 respectively 4 cords. With each one being 3 mm the whole cords diameter would be 9 to 12 mm. The cord of the original sling is 6 to 7 mm thick.  With 2 mm flax it would be easier to get 7 mm diameter, I think.

Another question concerns the weaving of the strings into the pouch. Spliting up the strings into half means to have 40 half strings at once at a point of the pouch where it is still quite narrow. When it is possible to weave in 40 strings at each end of the pouch it must be diffficult to have enough half strings as a weft thread to cover the warp in the centre of the pouch where it is much wider. The pictures of the sling make the impression to me that in the centre of the original pouch additional strings have been worked into the warp. The diamond shaped cente of the pouch seems to differ in texture and colour to the surrounding borders of the pouch.

Just the day after reading Burgess' reconstruction of the egyptian sling I found an antiquarian edition of Ashley's Book of Knots in a small book store around the corner. So I feel well equipped for the start.

funda iucunda
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funda_iucunda
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #12 - Aug 26th, 2006 at 5:25pm
 
After three months of silence on this mail thread comes my first attempt to reconstruct the ancient Egyptian sling of Lahun, Egypt. The method of my reconstruction is largely based on the description of Burgess (Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. II, No. 10, June 1958, pp. 226-230).

...

replica of the Lahun sling 2006 (match box for comparison)

For this first attempt I used an organic string made for tying up parcels. The biological origin is not known to me. The disadvantages of this material are obvious. But I wanted to start the work and gain experience instead of wasting more time in search for the optimal flax string. Officially the string I used has a diameter of 2 mm. But actually it varies between 1,5 and 3 mm. Even with 2 mm diameter the string is much too thick to reach the diameter of 7 mm the cords of the original sling have. It has a diameter betwenn 9 and 10 mm. This thickness and stiffness of the used material caused a stiffness of the sling that surely differs much from the original one. But the over all length and the size of the pouch are nearly identical to the original sling.

My reconstruction deviates a bit from Burgessí method to make the retention loop. Burgess passed only the centre strings of the 9 plait through the little 5-plait loop. Inspired by my own interpretation of the pictures I passed all 9 strings through this little loop with the outcome that only the tenth string keeps the retention loop from tying up. After a second and closer comparison of photos and my reconstruction I now agree with Burgess.

The release cord of the original sling is not preserved. So there are different solutions possible. Burgess recommended that each cord is made separately. So it is not too unrealistic to make the release end according to the way of making the loop (of course considering the necessary differences). I started from the end by making first a small 5 string plait with a loop and then going on with a 10 string plait. So it is virtually similar to the retention cords end but without the big loop. The advantage of this solution is that you get a tough end that would nearly never split up. But on the other hand it is not possible to get a cord that is thinner at its end than next to the pouch.

The whole work on the replica took me at least 10 hours. Especially the pouch was very laborious. I used a frame like Burgess. But after all Iím not sure whether the Egyptians made it in this complicated way. I presume that the pouch may have been made by weaving with small plates in a way that the 10 strings of the cord would be weaved forming a diamond shaped frame that then would be filled by another string of similar material and size. From the pictures of the original sling I took the impression that the weft in the centre part of the pouch is made of another material than the edges.

...

pouch, loop and the end of the release cord (replica 2006)

Another issue is the fact that Burgess plated both cords from different strings. The cords are then worked from both ends into the weft of the pouch. Though I first doubted that such a pouch made of strings coming from two sides would be strong enough I changed my mind after using it. It is tough enough not to be torn off by frequent use. But it might come out to be more elegant to make the cords and the pouch of strings going straight through over the total length of the sling.

For throwing I used egg shaped stones of a weight of about 50 to 60 g. Though the range of the sling is limited by the rather short cords the stones flew with pretty much energy about 60 to 70 m far. A problem was the fact that especially heavier stones rolled from the pouch too early, because itís flat. I think that for this reason stones of more than 100 g are not useful.

During my throws I got the impression that the sling with an optimal stone a little bit reminded me of the ancient reliefs showing Assyrian slingers in action. May be that the Lahun sling is founded on Asian models as I read somewhere in the literature. Korfmann found out that the sling was not an original Egyptian weapon but was adopted by the Egyptians after getting in contact with the Asian cultures of Ur, Babylonia Assyria and others. So is it possible to interpret the Lahun sling as being kindred to the depicted Assyrian slings?

My future plan is to make a sling of the original material, flax. I now dispose of a flax string of a diameter of 0,7 mm. If I twist it double a 10 string plate might come close to that original diameter. The pouch I want to weave with plates by splitting the double twisted strings in order to get the figure of eight weave Burgess writes about. This method would allow as well create a release cord that becomes thinner to its end by cutting half of each string when going on plaiting the cord.

funda iucunda
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siguy
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #13 - Aug 26th, 2006 at 6:38pm
 
wow.

that's some nice work, and some nice experience gained.

i wish you much luck in the future with your further efforts
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Re: Egyptian sling
Reply #14 - Aug 26th, 2006 at 7:44pm
 
funda_iucunda,

Beautiful work, so I'll get striaght to my point. On your next effort would you be willing to take more photos. I have asked Willeke to do a write up for the wiki on the Egyptian sling. And seeing as you have completed one and have the paperwork, could you talk to her I would appreciate the both of you working on an instruction for the wiki.

Nightweave

PS it really is a great job you've done.



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