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Friday, June 26, 2009

Bow and Arrow PreDate Modern Man

Abstract for an article that surmises that the use of the bow and
arrow predate modern man.

Experimental Use and Quantitative Performance Analysis of Triangular
Flakes (Levallois points) used as Arrowheads


Matthew L. Siska, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The
Corresponding Author and John J. Sheab, E-mail The Corresponding
Author


aInterdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, Stony
Brook University SBS-S501, Stony Brook NY, 11794-4364


bDepartment of Anthropology, Stony Brook University SBS-S501, Stony
Brook NY, 11794-4364


Received 29 March 2009;
revised 11 May 2009;
accepted 21 May 2009.
Available online 28 May 2009.


Abstract


The invention and widespread use of projectile weaponry is a
characteristic presumed to exist only with Homo sapiens. However, as
finds of wooden material during the early development of projectile
weapons are extremely rare, this remains a contentious topic. Recent
work has proposed a series of ballistically-significant morphological
characteristics of stone points that yield information about their
potential use. Here we report on initial experimental approaches to
quantifying the performance of relatively simple stone points as arrow
armatures. Two experimental trials were performed using a series of 51
Levallois points. The first, against a uniform density target, was
designed to give an overall indication of performance. The second,
against a simulated animal carcass, demonstrated the durability of
these points. The results of this study suggest that small Levallois
points could have functioned as arrowheads, albeit ones likely to
break after limited use. They also suggest that these points'
penetrating power is strongly controlled by their morphometric
characteristics, most notably their perimeter. This latter finding
refines a method for assessing hypothetical Paleolithic stone points
on the basis of tip cross-sectional area previously proposed by
others.

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