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No aboriginal slings (Read 7740 times)
bernardz
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No aboriginal slings
May 6th, 2013 at 10:30pm
 
The oldest evidence for slings seems about 4000 BCE.

The aboriginals of Australia did not have slings.  They are believed to come from one of the  earliest human migrations out of Africa some 125,000 and 60,000 years ago; they came to Australia between 40 000–80 000 years ago. (Note the overlapping dates which show how vague some of the dating is). I am sure the sling was invented later.

However, the aboriginals in Australia did have some contact with East-Asia as the dingo might have arrived in Australia between 4,600 to 10,800 years ago from East-Asian domestic dogs suggesting contact then. They certainly had contact with the Macassan people later.

Yet they never got slings, bows, etc from these contacts? Any thoughts?


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David Morningstar
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #1 - May 7th, 2013 at 3:47am
 

It is a mystery to me. There was contact via the Torres Strait islands to Papua New Guinea, where the bow exists.

"The islands' indigenous inhabitants are the Torres Strait Islanders, Melanesian peoples related to the Papuans of adjoining New Guinea. The various Torres Strait Islander communities have a distinct culture and long-standing history with the islands and nearby coastlines. Their maritime-based trade and interactions with the Papuans to the north and the Australian Aboriginal communities have maintained a steady cultural diffusion between the three societal groups, dating back thousands of years at least."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torres_Strait

Sometimes skills are just dropped for no obvious reason. In New Zealand, the Maoris came from the expert slinging cultures of Polynesia but once they colonized Aotearoa, the sling vanishes. Only the hand-thrown spear, not even using a cord, remains as a ranged weapon.

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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #2 - May 7th, 2013 at 6:45am
 
well with the maoris ranged weapons were considered cowardly. maori fighting is all about hand to hand brutality.

With the aborigenes - can we say: no flocks Smiley
So they would not have originated slings without shepherds.

Plus with the boomerangs and spear chuckers (don't know the aboriginal technical name for an atlalt)
They did not actually need another ranged weapon, so would not have any incentive to adopt them from another culture.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #3 - May 7th, 2013 at 12:36pm
 
Woomeria

No flocks of domesticated animals, what about wild flocks of ducks, geese, or the like?  How about pigeons or something similar?
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #4 - May 8th, 2013 at 4:06am
 
Quote:
Yet they never got slings, bows, etc from these contacts? Any thoughts? 


I'll direct your attention to the info in this thread:

http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1361924194/6#6

its not much info, but still...

The aboriginal tribes up north got a lot from the macassan trepang (sea slug) traders such as dug out canoes (as opposed to the common bark canoe) and tobacco pipes. The cultural exchange was a two way street - even now some aboriginal Yolngu words can be found in the macassan language.

There is a Yolngu book "Guya bunarra'wuy" which translates as "Fish with bow and arrow"

Quote:
the hand-thrown spear, not even using a cord, remains as a ranged weapon.   


not strictly true, see here for a start: [url]http://www.jps.auckland.ac.nz/document/Volume_66_1957/Volume_66,_No._2/The_Maori_kotaha,_by_J._B._Palmer,_p_175-191/p1   [/url]

Quote:
Plus with the boomerangs and spear chuckers (don't know the aboriginal technical name for an atlatl) 


well, that depends on which tribal language you are speaking, but its common usage to refer to it as a "Woomera" a word from the Dharuk Language of Sydney NSW.

Quote:
No flocks of domesticated animals, what about wild flocks of ducks, geese, or the like?  How about pigeons or something similar?   


throwing stick and spears were used. Also climbing up the trees with stone axes to get koalas and possums was common practice...
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #5 - May 8th, 2013 at 6:39am
 
A hunting technique used for wild ducks was to throw a returning type boomerang above a flock of ducks on the wing near water. They would descend rapidly to the water to escape from the 'Hawk or Eagle' and this would bring them into range of the heavier throwing stick and spears.
The north Queensland tribes also had wooden sheilds and a type of sword also made from wood that they used in in fighting.


Kava has pretty much told it well enough though.


Mick
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #6 - May 8th, 2013 at 6:54am
 
Bill Skinner wrote on May 7th, 2013 at 12:36pm:
Woomeria

No flocks of domesticated animals, what about wild flocks of ducks, geese, or the like?  How about pigeons or something similar?


yep but my theory is that slings were developed by shepherds, who had the relevant skills, time to both make and practice with slings and most importantly the need to both protect their flocks and direct them during herding. This accounts for slings relative age, where they are commonly found and the materials they are traditionally made from.

Australian Aborigenes never developed a herding culture. They just got insanely good at living off the land.
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #7 - May 8th, 2013 at 9:18am
 

The Polynesians are mad keen slingers and dont herd anything. There are paleoamerican slings and biconical slingstones in North America dating back at least eight thousand years and they didnt herd anything either.

Given the near global distribution of the sling I think it was invented before the early modern human migration out of Africa. I think the same about the atlatl.

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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #8 - May 9th, 2013 at 8:00am
 
Quote:
There are paleoamerican slings and biconical slingstones in North America dating back at least eight thousand years and they didnt herd anything either. 


Well the oldest evidence in the 'how old is the sling thread' is catal hyuk at between 5-7'000

So where's the evidence of these slings and missiles ?
And don't quote the lovelock caves they only go back a couple thousand years.

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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #9 - May 9th, 2013 at 10:27am
 
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #10 - May 9th, 2013 at 12:01pm
 
lol ok - so just assume I'm skint (reasonable assumption) and am not going to fork over £45 for a book.

Any relevant passages you can post ?

Also remember that the original plains indians of north america were all wiped out before the white man got anywhere near them. So any evidence that they were herders was long gone.

What we currently call plains indians were actually coastal tribes who moved inland to fill the vacumn left by the tribes disease had wiped out.

Plus I'm not advocating slings were only used by shepherds. Just that they originated with them and spread outwards from such cultures.

It's not unreasonable for a hunter or warrior to see a competent display of slinging and decide to adopt the sling asa weapon. But it is unreasonable for a man who already has projectile weapons to bother inventing and spending years on getting good with something completely new.

It's also a fact that herding cultures have existed long before any historical records of slings or slingstones.
Man started herding animals long before he started cultivating crops.
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #11 - May 25th, 2013 at 11:32am
 
My own theory is that slings developed as a hunting implement, probably for smaller game, and was then adapted to warfare and herding. The evidence from North America shows slings use with biconical projectiles until around the time that the bow arrived. This suggests that the sling and bow filled the same role (at least initially in the bow's development) as a small-game and warfare weapon that complimented the large-game atlatl darts. As bows became more powerful they could supplant the atlatl as well (at least on the plains there is at least a 500 year overlap where people were using both weapons)

Of course hard evidence for this is scant. As CA noted, the earlier evidence in North America only dates to a few thousand years ago. I think the development of biconical projectiles is probably correlated with use in warfare, so use in hunting could predate that evidence. Fiber and leather is unlikely to preserve, so we will probably have to rely on projectiles for earliest evidence. North American archaeologists don't have the familiarity with slings that Old World and South American archaeologists, so we may have already found appropriate missile caches and simply not recognized them.
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #12 - May 25th, 2013 at 11:54am
 
ArchaeoMan wrote on May 25th, 2013 at 11:32am:
My own theory is that slings developed as a hunting implement, probably for smaller game, and was then adapted to warfare and herding. The evidence from North America shows slings use with biconical projectiles until around the time that the bow arrived. This suggests that the sling and bow filled the same role (at least initially in the bow's development) as a small-game and warfare weapon that complimented the large-game atlatl darts. As bows became more powerful they could supplant the atlatl as well (at least on the plains there is at least a 500 year overlap where people were using both weapons)

Of course hard evidence for this is scant. As CA noted, the earlier evidence in North America only dates to a few thousand years ago. I think the development of biconical projectiles is probably correlated with use in warfare, so use in hunting could predate that evidence. Fiber and leather is unlikely to preserve, so we will probably have to rely on projectiles for earliest evidence. North American archaeologists don't have the familiarity with slings that Old World and South American archaeologists, so we may have already found appropriate missile caches and simply not recognized them.

IMO a sling is not an effective weapon for small game unless you are really, really good.
Not many people even know what a sling is. I am assuming something here, but I think that the atatl led to the development of the sling.
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #13 - Jul 23rd, 2013 at 6:35am
 
in honderos book he believes that a bolas led to a staff sling that led to a hand sling.

I'm kinda 50/50 on the progression.
Given that all of those weapons would have been used primarily by herders and shepherds it fits with my theory.

But he still thinks that hunters developed it from hand thrown stones.
I don't buy that - the development path is too convoluted and on the way they'd have discovered atlatls, which are much better suited to hunting game than a sling is.

A subsistance/hunter gatherer lifestyle does not allow for the luxury of spending lots of time learning and developing new weapons. It requires a simple, easy to make and learn and effective weapon for hunting game.

There just isn't the time or need for something as difficult to use and ineffective (relatively speaking) as a sling.
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Re: No aboriginal slings
Reply #14 - Jul 24th, 2013 at 8:49am
 
What about that string-tied-to-a-rock weapon ? maybe some ancient dude threw some rocks and he thought of attaching a string to a rock to throw it further. It worked impressively and he started thinking of a way to do the same, but without throwing your string away. After a lot of thinking and testing, he invented the sling, tada!

Seems most logical to me.
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