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Slinging Mummies (Read 3725 times)
StaffSlinger
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Slinging Mummies
Jan 2nd, 2009 at 1:58pm
 
Did anyone catch the History Channel marathon of Mummy Forensics in New Years Day?  Most of it was about Peruvian/Andean mummies.  One mummy had a bashed in skull that someone thought might have come from a sling stone. 

So they had this professor/expert using a "sling shot" (our kinda sling not the rubber one) to chuck rocks at a hacked off pig's head on a stake.  The professor has this wimpy 'limp wristed' underhand sling style; but even with that he was getting 65 miles per hour out of what appeared to be not much bigger than a golf ball rock.    Figure a 4 oz (150 gr) rock (more than double the weight of a golfball); that's about 35 foot pounds of energy or 46 joules.  From a practical standpoint; with that energy he bruised and gouged the pigskin a couple times but did not break bone.  The shots would have given Sir Pig a headache; and probably a concusion, but not necessarily put him down.  Watching this expert compared to the videos of our fellow slingers, we're putting out 'way more energy with much more deadly force!

Sure would be nice if some of these documentaries actually contacted real experts (us), they way they did Luis,  rather than some academic looking to promote his latest theory....
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slingbadger
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #1 - Jan 2nd, 2009 at 4:19pm
 
About a year ago there was a similar show about a Coptic Christian mummy. They came to the same conclusion about it. The theory was he had been hit from behind with a sling stone. When they did the demo on that one, they did a pretty good job portraying it.
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winkleried
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #2 - Jan 2nd, 2009 at 9:48pm
 
Sigh, Both of these stories are a main reason why our favorite missle weapons gets little respect. Basicly some pointed head historical expert with a massive case of tunnel vision ( Nah I never worked around academics.......) gets the brillant idea that becase it's so simple that anyone could use it, without actually trying it out. I would love to see what a good figure 8 or byzatine cast would do to the test media.

They at least are using the underhand cast, Probably due to Korfmanns article on it and ignoring just about everthing else out there on the sling.

And for the record I didn't see either show.

Marc Adkins
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slingbadger
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #3 - Jan 2nd, 2009 at 10:30pm
 
Winklereid, the show I saw had a darn good slinger using a figure 8 cast. It showed that someone could have very easily fractured a skull. They also did comparisons with other weapons, like swords and maces. None came close to the way the fracture on the mummies skull was.
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The greatest of all the accomplishments of 20th cent. science has been the discovery of human ignorance  The main difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.-Einstein   I'm getting psychic as I get older. Or is that psychotic?
 
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winkleried
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #4 - Jan 3rd, 2009 at 12:16am
 
I misunderstood ya then Badger, I thought you were refering to a poorly cast stone and then drawing conclusions from that.

No Prob and I'll chalk that one up to me.
Marc Adkins

slingbadger wrote on Jan 2nd, 2009 at 10:30pm:
Winklereid, the show I saw had a darn good slinger using a figure 8 cast. It showed that someone could have very easily fractured a skull. They also did comparisons with other weapons, like swords and maces. None came close to the way the fracture on the mummies skull was.  

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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #5 - Jan 4th, 2009 at 4:56pm
 
Funny how "academic discussions" on the subject of the effectiveness of slings often seem to focus on whether a sling would have enough power to kill; the required accuracy is often taken for granted. For me the "miracle", if indeed any Divine intervention was in fact required in the DvG encounter, was the apparent ease with which D hit a relatively small moving target. Cracking his skull was the easy part.
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Rockman
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #6 - Jan 4th, 2009 at 7:52pm
 
The problem with that test is that they used a pig skull as a replacement for a human skull. This is wrong for the simple reason that a pig is not a man.

When I tried slinging against a pig skull I found out that the angular shape of the head makes a rock bounce off the target. A human skull is almost flat and thus the results of a hit would be far more powerfull.
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StaffSlinger
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #7 - Jan 4th, 2009 at 8:24pm
 
Good point Rockman!

Aussieslinger - I don't really have any problem with the requisite accuracy.  Spend a few hours a day, six days a week, for say 4-5 years, chucking rocks, and you and I too could make that shot with relative ease.  Besides academics can't put numbers to accuracy, but they can to impact force, distance, velocity...
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winkleried
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #8 - Jan 4th, 2009 at 8:25pm
 
Unfortuneately a pig skull is more readily available than a human skull. Now you can get polymer (Plastic) skulls all day long if ya know where to look. But they are made for students to use while learning the anatomy of the skull and not for direct foce comparisions...........

Also plastic is not bone and even bone can vary on it properties. So sort of actually slinging against a human ( which would be illegal and immoral) we are stuck with simulations. Some of these simulations are good and some are not so good, but they do advance our knowledge a bit evertime we do one of them.

Marc Adkins

Rockman wrote on Jan 4th, 2009 at 7:52pm:
The problem with that test is that they used a pig skull as a replacement for a human skull. This is wrong for the simple reason that a pig is not a man.

When I tried slinging against a pig skull I found out that the angular shape of the head makes a rock bounce off the target. A human skull is almost flat and thus the results of a hit would be far more powerfull.

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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #9 - Jan 5th, 2009 at 3:42am
 
StaffSlinger wrote on Jan 4th, 2009 at 8:24pm:
Aussieslinger - I don't really have any problem with the requisite accuracy.  Spend a few hours a day, six days a week, for say 4-5 years, chucking rocks, and you and I too could make that shot with relative ease.  Besides academics can't put numbers to accuracy, but they can to impact force, distance, velocity...


I suppose that if you conjecture that the hole in the skull you're examining has been made by a slingstone by implication someone has been accurate and powerful enough to do the job. However 65 mph and 35 ft.lbs are very low figures, real beginner stuff, so I wonder how accurate the slinger in question was? Doubling that energy output would require only a relatively small amount of practise. But as you say developing the requisite accuracy takes a lot more.

I think quantifying accuraccy isn't all that hard. Assume the "kill zone" of the head to be a 3" circle. Stand 15 yards away and see how many hits you get out of 10 shots.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #10 - Jan 5th, 2009 at 8:20am
 
3 inch or 3 foot circle ?

I personally don't know anyone who has either  3 inch or a 3 foot diameter head.
Not sure where you're getting this number from aussie Smiley

Look a good hard slung stone just needs to hit head - it really wouldn't matter where it impacted. At the very least it will knock you unconscious. At which point you're as good as dead on a battlefield anyway.
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #11 - Jan 5th, 2009 at 6:02pm
 
Agree that even a decent body shot will bring an unarmoured person down, even if it doesn't kill him outright.

The 3" dia is admittedly pretty arbitrary, after a carefully considered 10 seconds or so, based on the thought of a fully armoured man advancing toward you (viz. Goliath). To be certain of a "kill", David would have had to hit him above the bridge of the nose, below the line of his helmet, and laterally probably no wider than between the eyes. Now we can have endless discussions about how big Goliath's head would have been and whether a 3" circle (or perhaps it should be a square) is too small.

My point was that, whatever the specifics, even if you decide to sling at a silhouette target like pistol shooters do and accept a hit anywhere on the target as a "kill" you can still quantify accuracy. Nominate the target, nominate the distance and any other constraints, blaze away and publish the results. Everyone will still argue about their meaningfulness, as they do about whether a pig's head is a realistic substitute for a human skull etc. etc. etc. But at least there will be some raw data to argue about.
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #12 - Jan 7th, 2009 at 7:02pm
 
ah right - but didn't david cut goliaths head off with his own sword ?
So basically it makes no odds whether goliath was dead or merely unconscious.

So any head shot would have done the job Smiley

What's any of that got to do with mummies killed by slingshots anywy ? I've sort of lost track - again lol
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Re: Slinging Mummies
Reply #13 - Jan 7th, 2009 at 7:57pm
 
It's all about academics musings about the effectiveness of slings as weapons based on experiments conducted by less than experienced slingers, ie themselves. Hardly indicative of what real professional slingers could do.

I didn't really want to get into the specifics of the DvG issue, too open to interpretation. Essentially "effectiveness of sling as a weapon" argument boils down to being able to sling accurately enough and powerfully enough to do the job. IMHO developing the required accuracy is the hard part. Even a relatively inexperienced slinger will be able to launch a sizeable rock with enough force to crack some unfortunate's skull, provided he can hit it. I have noticed that DvG skeptics generally focus on the "impossibility" of cracking Goliath's skull rather than on the difficulty of hitting it in the first place.

BTW it's not some weirdo slinging at dead Egyptians wrapped in bandages. In the very dry climate high in the Andes bodies will often not decompose but dessicate into natural mummification. The dead guy in question was still a "daddy" when he copped a serious case of terminal headache, whether from a sling or club. I saw a documentary recently where bodies from the conquistadores times were exhumed in Lima. Most were still quite intact after 500 years, quite macabre.
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