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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
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Message started by RDY on Aug 19th, 2011 at 6:50pm

Title: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Aug 19th, 2011 at 6:50pm
This is to announce that ca. Oct. 15, 2011, a book that my wife and I have written, Slings and Slingstones, The Forgotten Weapons of Oceania and the Americas, will be published by Kent State U. Press. It can now be pre-ordered, see p. 16 of the KSU Press 2011 catalog at www.kentstateuniversitypress.com. Or, actually we've found that just Googling "Gigi Robert York Slings" generates many relevant links.  

In doing our research the Slinging.org site and Chris Harrison were of considerable help to us, which we acknowledge in our book.

Our book primarily is written with an archaeological/anthropological audience in mind (natch, that's our background) but we believe (immodestly) that it contains much of interest for all w/an interest. We think it addresses many of the ?s we have seen in the Forum -- especially, of course, concerning Oceania and the Americas -- and/or supplies plenty of grist for discussion and debate.    

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Masiakasaurus on Aug 19th, 2011 at 7:01pm
Cool! There are a lot of people on the forum that like these kinds of things, myself included. I was under the impression that slings didn't play much of a role in Australia. Does your book give evidence for sling use by Aboriginal Australians, or do you focus sling on use in the pacific islands that circle the main continent?

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Aug 19th, 2011 at 9:09pm
RE: Sling in Australia? I will resist saying "wait and read the book and see what you think".  Don't you like surprises?  But the answer is, we very much looked into Australia and found no evidence it was ever used there -- at least not aboriginally.  This, of course, also goes for the bow & arrow. The woomera (atlatl in the New World) or spear thrower was the projectile weapon of Australia's native peoples thruout its long prehistory, reaching back to 1st settlement some 60,000 years ago.  Now this doesn't mean there wasn't lots of rather lethal hand throwing of rocks, particularly this behavior was witnessed by the early European explorers of Tasmania. All this raises lots of intriguing ?s for archaeologists and anthros., that as far as we know havn't been addressed much.           

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by wanderer on Aug 19th, 2011 at 9:11pm
That's good news.

I'm sure many of us look forward to reading it when it comes out.


Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Masiakasaurus on Aug 19th, 2011 at 9:21pm
You're an author willing to answer questions! :D Alright, you just earned yourself a reader.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Rockman on Aug 20th, 2011 at 6:09pm
Thank you for taking the time and effort in writing a book about this fascinating subject.

-From an amateur slinger in Lima, Peru

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by curious_aardvark on Aug 21st, 2011 at 7:48am
looked at the catalogue and it doesn't mention either a price or the number of pages in the book.
prosaic things i know, but given the usual cost of limited edition academic textbooks - it's always useful to have some idea of pages per buck when considering ordering one :-)

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by wanderer on Aug 21st, 2011 at 9:05am

Curious Aardvark wrote on Aug 21st, 2011 at 7:48am:
looked at the catalogue and it doesn't mention either a price or the number of pages in the book.
prosaic things i know, but given the usual cost of limited edition academic textbooks - it's always useful to have some idea of pages per buck when considering ordering one :-)


From the publisher's web site:

2011, c. 224 pp
ISBN 978-1-60635-107-9
Cloth, $55.00s

Getting you 4.07 pages/$ - approximately ;)

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by ArchaeoMan on Sep 25th, 2011 at 12:05pm
 Haha. You beat me to it! I'm hoping to get a master's thesis done this spring on sling experimentation and I've always had this little fantasy that I'd be one of the first to introduce the topic to North American archaeologists. Congratulations on the new book and I hope to read it soon!

 I've run across a lot of stuff on trephining in the Pacific islands and Peru, were you able to incorporate that data in the book?

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Sep 28th, 2011 at 2:19am
Thanks. We hope you will find our work of interest and provocative. We're sure you will find plenty of questions to tackle, plenty of room to expand on our research, and we certainly hope you many others do.  Concerning trephining, yes we have incorporated trephining data. As you obviously recognized, we also discovered the practice of trephining is particularly relevant to understanding the use or non-use of the sling.  

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Oct 27th, 2011 at 3:15pm
Short delay on publication. You all may have noticed that Oct. 15 has come and gone and our book still is not out. Our publisher, Kent State U. Press, info'd that it's essentially ready to print, except the cover design still needs to be completed. They did not give us a new target date for publication but it should not be too much longer.  Again, of course, it is available for pre-order thru various outlets (KSU Press, Amazon, etc.).

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Dec 2nd, 2011 at 2:27pm
Update on Publication: KSU Press informed us all problems have been resolved, it was sent to the printer in November, and should be distributed no later than Jan 12 -- we're of course hopeful it will be released before.    

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by xxkid123 on Dec 4th, 2011 at 3:54pm
great job  ;)

hope my local libraries might carry it.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by The_Peltast on Jan 13th, 2012 at 8:48pm
Any word on when this will actually be available? The 12th has come and gone.  :'(

Just really looking forward to reading it, even if it is expensive. Its not exactly everyday a book gets published about slinging. :)

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Jan 19th, 2012 at 2:00am
That's a good question, since, obviously, we're interested to know what's up w/our book too I checked with KSU Press, to quote their rep: "We're in the process of binding and distributing as we speak." I take that to mean it should be available shortly -- it better be -- maybe yet this week and hopefully no later then next week.  Concerning price, the lowest price I've seen is Amazon's. But check various sites, maybe someone has a better deal. I noted a previously posted comment to the effect that they hoped their library would obtain it. I would suggest to all you can help that happen by bringing it to the attention of your friendly librarians for acquisition -- forgive the shameless self-promotion.            

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by RDY on Jan 25th, 2012 at 8:58pm
;D Finally! I'm pleased to announce that our book is now available, at least thru our publisher, the Kent State University Press. You will find it shown as their featured new publication and it may be ordered at: www.kentstateuniversitypress.com . I do not see that it is shown as yet available on other vendors sites, e.g., Amazon, but that should happen quickly now.  

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by The_Peltast on Jan 26th, 2012 at 2:33pm
Excellent, thanks for the update.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by ArchaeoMan on Feb 3rd, 2012 at 2:12pm
Book appeared today on Amazon as well!

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by David Morningstar on Mar 31st, 2012 at 6:09am

I have the book. I am very impressed so far, havent finished it yet. I will do a full review later.

Thearos, even though it isnt your area you should buy it anyway.


Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Bill Skinner on Apr 4th, 2012 at 9:19pm
I got my copy today, so far, I like it.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by David Morningstar on Apr 5th, 2012 at 11:51am

I'm not going to have time to do a full review for a while, so this is the short version:

Slings - not much here. A bit of a disappointment

Slinging - not a great deal, some good descriptions from the past. No experiments.

Slingstones - this is what its all about. Biconical slingstones made of fired clay or worked stone. Lots from the Pacific islands, all measured and weighed. But the real standout is the biconical slingstones of North America which I have never ever heard of before.

Did you know the Lovelock cave sling was found with two biconical slingstones? Neither did I, but there they are, in photos and sketches. There are many biconicals found in different places across the US but they are rarely identified as such.

I would advise caution for some of these - I dont accept the Poverty Point Objects as slingstones, I think they are for tying onto cordage, maybe as weights for a throwing net. Also, large biconical stone objects can be tomahawk heads. If it is grooved, it is definitely a tomahawk head.

Its much more an academic than a popular text but there are lots and lots of references for further study, if you have access to them.

A good work, a big step forward in academic slingstone study especially for North America. Not for average sling enthusiasts but for academics this is a must-have.


Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Pikaru on Apr 5th, 2012 at 4:39pm
I think I'll just wait for the movie.

Seriously, looks like a very interesting read and since Amazon has it on thier list of available books it looks like I'll have my own copy soon.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Atlatlista on Apr 5th, 2012 at 11:09pm
Is the cover picture really the same as "Sling Braiding of the Andes" or is that an amazon mistake?  Anyway, I'll have to pick a copy of this up, as I'm intensely interested in slingstone finds and the dates for the artifacts.  I think slings are definitely neglected in archaeological literature and that they represent a sort of "low-hanging fruit" in the study of the development of projectile weapons systems.

As a sort of side note, I've always found slings to be a terribly vexing weapon, as they don't leave much in the way of archaeological remains behind.  You have to figure that slinging greatly predates specially-manufactured biconical slingstones, but unmodified stones are impossible to track, and slings are organic, so there's no way to prove just how old.  I think one alternative way forward might be to do experimental work and look at expected injury patterns from sling use, in the hopes of finding injuries which are "consistent" with the use of the sling.  Alternatively a look at bone plasticity might help, if slinging differs substantially from ordinary throwing in the loads it places on the body.  Of course, I'm not sure the latter is true, or that sling wounds are distinguishable from club wounds when you get right down to the damage done to bones.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by ArchaeoMan on Apr 11th, 2012 at 8:39am
"As a sort of side note, I've always found slings to be a terribly vexing weapon, as they don't leave much in the way of archaeological remains behind.  You have to figure that slinging greatly predates specially-manufactured biconical slingstones, but unmodified stones are impossible to track, and slings are organic, so there's no way to prove just how old.  I think one alternative way forward might be to do experimental work and look at expected injury patterns from sling use, in the hopes of finding injuries which are "consistent" with the use of the sling.  Alternatively a look at bone plasticity might help, if slinging differs substantially from ordinary throwing in the loads it places on the body.  Of course, I'm not sure the latter is true, or that sling wounds are distinguishable from club wounds when you get right down to the damage done to bones."

I've been hitting the same wall trying to do research on this stuff for the last 2 years. I would think that constant slinging would leave a skeletal signature - much like longbow use does - but I doubt that the average shepherd, hunter or warrior would use it enough to produce these signatures. The longbow signature appeared precisely because of the extensive practice and powerful bows used. I imagine there's a similar signature with powerful composite bow users. So while sling specialists like the Balearic auxilliary should have some sort of skeletal modification, I don't think that modification is likely to be a good indicator of lower levels of use.

Similarly, distinguishing slingstone impacts from other blunt trauma could be difficult. Wells (1962), looking at Peruvian burials for trauma evidence, does have a snippit about how many depressed skull fractures are the same size as the sling projectiles, but it seems like he's imagining weapons in general to be more standardized than they really were.

The problem is frustrating enough that I just went into the ethnographic records instead  :)

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by curious_aardvark on Apr 11th, 2012 at 9:07am
it's dountful that slinging would cause any easily distuinguishable growth or skeletal adaptations.

Essentially it's the same movement and musculature used for throwing spears, rocks, clubs etc.
The only thing that could be considered would be increased elbow damage or strenghtening. Hard slinging (ir: with force and large rocks) puts a lot more stress on the elbow than any other joint.

Might be worth looking into. Essentially a lifelong slinger might be expected to exhibit similiar elbow injuries or strengthening as a modern professional baseball pitcher.  Hope that helps :-)

Think I'll pass on the book - once you've seen a few thousand sling stones - you've seen them all  ;)
I can always borrow davids book :-)

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by ArchaeoMan on Apr 11th, 2012 at 9:30am
"it's dountful that slinging would cause any easily distuinguishable growth or skeletal adaptations.  

Essentially it's the same movement and musculature used for throwing spears, rocks, clubs etc. "

That's where I'm at with it. However, the skeleton adapts in some subtle ways to how we live. I had a prof in forensic anthropology who once identified that someone habitually wore high heels based on the orientation of a muscle attachment area in the lower leg (90% sure it's on the tibia). So even if it's indistinguishable, if there's a few skeletons all with that throwing signature, maybe with some other supporting evidence one could argue they were slingers. It's probably not enough on its own. Though, I'm more on the archaeology side of things. It would be interesting to get a forensics-type to take a look at the problem.

Title: Re: New book on Slingstones in Oceania & Americas
Post by Sasquatchslinger on Aug 1st, 2012 at 10:48pm
Dangit must find book now wood you mind if I use wires from your book for my Summer thesis (Stupid private school I'm only in kindle school)?

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