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Early development of the sling (Read 7975 times)
Douglas
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #15 - Mar 6th, 2004 at 1:08pm
 
Since we know that the Americas were colonized around ? 25,000 years ago (and certainly the Indians knew the sling), so that might begin to give us a bracket for the development of the sling...
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english
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #16 - Mar 6th, 2004 at 4:29pm
 
Native Americans (or as they are known in Canada, First Nation Peoples) colonized the Americas thousands of years ago, and estimates vary, because carbon dating for the time is very innacurate.  And it could be that the native Americans developed the sling once they arrived in America, as it's use is not known to be universal.  The atlatl and bow were developed indepently of everywhere else, the atlatl inumerable years ago, the bow fairly recently, around 100 BCE to 500 CE, dependent on where you are thinking of.  So the native Americans can only give us a rough estimate, or not even that.
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Douglas
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #17 - Mar 7th, 2004 at 4:52pm
 
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Native Americans (or as they are known in Canada, First Nation Peoples) colonized the Americas thousands of years ago, and estimates vary, because carbon dating for the time is very innacurate.  And it could be that the native Americans developed the sling once they arrived in America, as it's use is not known to be universal.  The atlatl and bow were developed indepently of everywhere else, the atlatl inumerable years ago, the bow fairly recently, around 100 BCE to 500 CE, dependent on where you are thinking of.  So the native Americans can only give us a rough estimate, or not even that.

Wow. I did not know that about the bow in the Americas - if it's true...  Wink

Certainly the atlatl is isolated, in fact isn't it unique to the central American peoples?
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Hondero
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #18 - Mar 8th, 2004 at 2:37pm
 
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Korfmann has a map showing worldwide distribution of the sling. Australia is noticably vacant.
Aborigines arrive there in 40,000 BC and by 20,000 BC had covered the mainland. This would suggest that the sling is not older than 40,000 years.


It is a good assumption for the discovery date of the sling, although the absence of archaeological specimens donīt implies the nonexistence of the weapon, been perishable its materials. The fact that it donīt exist archaeological projectiles of sling in Australia, could mean that it was not longer used in the times in which manufactured projectiles were used, but not that the first settlers did not take the sling with them, who would use it with natural stones that canīt be identified. It is possible that the sling was not useful in the Australian environment, or who  knows. And also, as you say, it is possible that first Australian settlers did not take the sling with them, but that doesnīt means that  it  didnīt exist previously in other places.

The well-known writer Jean M. Auel, authoress of the prehistorical saga of Ayla (so admired by Ulrica) place the use of the sling in the time in which Neanthertals and Homo Sapiens coexisted, that is to say, around 40.000 years B.C. Of course we canīt grant scientific value to the viewpoint of a novelist who is not antrhopologist, but she certainly counted on the advising of archaeologist and anthropologist to write his novels.
Nevertheless, the archaeological evidences place the appearance of the "bolas" long before, around 200.000 years B.C. when other previous human species, the Homo Erectus, had spread from Africa to everywhere. If we admitted that the sling could be derived from the bolas, it would locate its discovery long before the  40.000 years. But this is only a possibility, the invention possibility of the sling, because its archaeological evidence  does not appear until the Neolithic, around the year 7.000 B.C., date in which are dated the clay projectiles.

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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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Chris
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #19 - Mar 8th, 2004 at 2:56pm
 
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Third, he noticed that was a pity to lost frecuently this well worked and rounded stones and decided to tied them to a long string so that he can recover them and throw again in a few seconds.


I don't think they actually had them tied onto themselves.  When I said tethered rock, I meant a sting tethered to the rock only.  The purpose of the cord was to gain additional mechanical advantage, and thus range and power.

Archeological evidence is not the best factor for understanding the distribution for sling use.  The primary evidence for slings are large numbers of sling glands, either in caches or left after a big battle.  The first civilizations which we know that used the sling were in mesopotamia (Sumerians, Babylonians, etc.), northern africa (Egypt), Mediterranean (Greece, Roman), so it's not surprising we find lots of evidence for slings there (almost always in the forms of ceramic or lead projectiles used for battle).  But using only such evidence excludes less dramatic uses, like hunting, or cultures that used only rocks as their primary projectile.  These would be hard to find and then to distinguish from other debris, especially in hunter-gather groups which hunted in large areas.  I think the sling existed in many places, most we'll never know about.  

Chris
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english
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #20 - Mar 8th, 2004 at 3:48pm
 
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Wow. I did not know that about the bow in the Americas - if it's true...   

Certainly the atlatl is isolated, in fact isn't it unique to the central American peoples?

Yes, the thing about the bow is true.  And atlatls are/were used literally the world over.  Every single culture in the world is thought to have used atlatls at some time.  In Australia, aborigines still use them (they call them woomeras), Inuits use them, and they use the phrase throwing board, rather than atlatl.  Atlatl is a nahuatl word, the Aztec language, which is why many people believe the atlatl to only have existed in the Americas.   The oldest atlatls in the world are from north west Africa, dated at 25,000 years old, although many believe that atlatl use was widespread in Europe and Africa around 40,000 years ago.
What I meant was that the atlatl was developed by most native American groups without influence from elsewhere, despite the fact that everyone was using them.  The atlatl is the weapon I like the best, especially my newest one, a Tlingit style atlatl.  Looks nice as well as practical.  Anyways....
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Hondero
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Re: Early development of the sling
Reply #21 - Mar 8th, 2004 at 7:12pm
 
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I don't think they actually had them tied onto themselves.  When I said tethered rock, I meant a sting tethered to the rock only.  The purpose of the cord was to gain additional mechanical advantage, and thus range and power.
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Archeological evidence is not the best factor for understanding the distribution for sling use.   But using only such evidence excludes less dramatic uses, like hunting
Chris



There are historical references on the use of a weapon of this sort in South America. I think that initially it could be used a long cord to recover labored projectiles simply sent by hand, and that in the practices of recovery by means of the cord it was found the utility of the turn around to obtain greater reach, appearing the bola of a single stone.
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It is certain that the archaeological and historical evidences do not describe all the places and times in which the sling was used, or any other weapon, but that is the only way we have to be completely sure. Often what it is possible is not made due to a lot of circumstances, and any supposition or speculation aside from evidences has probabilities of being erroneous. Even the archaeological objets have been sometimes interpreted wrong, been confuseds with objects of other uses, like the famous clay balls of Catalhoyuk, which use is still not known, but that someones confuse with sling projectiles

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He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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