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Thread: Poison Arrows and Bone Utensils in Late Pleistocene Eastern Africa: Evidence from Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar

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    Poison Arrows and Bone Utensils in Late Pleistocene Eastern Africa: Evidence from Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar

    Poisoned points in Africa 13kya.

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/...X.2016.1173302

    Most of our current knowledge of late Pleistocene African bone technology is drawn from southern African sites, with recent discoveries indicating that bone- and stone-tipped arrows (propelled by a bow) were in use prior to 60,000 years BP. Integration of archaeological with ethnographic data similarly suggests that hunting with poison-tipped arrows on the African continent has an antiquity of at least 24,000 years. Unfortunately, similar analysis of material from eastern Africa is largely absent and consequently, with the sole exception of barbed points, we know very little regarding osseous technology in this region and how similar or dissimilar it is to contexts located further south. This paper presents a small assemblage of seven bone artefacts recovered from the late Pleistocene deposits of Kuumbi Cave, Zanzibar. Comparison of the bone projectile points, a bone awl and a notched bone tube with ethnographic and archaeological material from throughout the Sub-Saharan region suggests that, as elsewhere in Africa, bone technology was a central element in the Later Stone Age material culture repertoire of Kuumbi Cave’s inhabitants. It also suggests that arrow points coated with poison were in use in eastern Africa around 13,000 years BP.

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    Bone and ivory technology characterized the Magdalenian, the last UP industry of Europe, circa 18,000 years ago. There was a TV report of some stone points in Spain thought to be arrowheads but no other proof. They were dated at 50,000 years.

    Poison arrows in Africa have always been associated with the Bushmen who still do this. Little hunters with bows and arrows are depicted in African cave art alongside large, linear black men who are obviously not Bushmen and have spears. Poison arrows would allow weaker, smaller people to hunt on the same or better level than larger people with just spears. Maybe this has implications for overall modern human evolution.

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    The bow and arrow was not a simple technology, its invention was statistically improbable. Reading this I wondered how bows are interrelated, it seems Africa's MSA was Mesolithic by Eurasian standards.

    At Nataruk stone-tipped arrows are thought to have been fired from a bow as weapons but I wonder how you can tell bows from throwing darts. I imagine small throwing darts necessary preceded the bow, and bow technology related to certain firemaking kit and musical instruments. The earliest preserved bows as you might expect are Holocene.

    As you probably know neither Australia or Tasmania got the bow although it was present in PNG and Melanesia. Presumably the first Sahul HGs had never possessed archery and bows and arrows came later from ISEA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    The bow and arrow was not a simple technology, its invention was statistically improbable. Reading this I wondered how bows are interrelated, it seems Africa's MSA was Mesolithic by Eurasian standards.

    At Nataruk stone-tipped arrows are thought to have been fired from a bow as weapons but I wonder how you can tell bows from throwing darts. I imagine small throwing darts necessary preceded the bow, and bow technology related to certain firemaking kit and musical instruments. The earliest preserved bows as you might expect are Holocene.

    As you probably know neither Australia or Tasmania got the bow although it was present in PNG and Melanesia. Presumably the first Sahul HGs had never possessed archery and bows and arrows came later from ISEA.
    "They say" the bow was invented as a result of the fire bow, the bow and string used to make fires.

    I don't know how to tell a dart from an arrow. This is why I questioned the 50,000 year date for the alleged Spanish bow.

    In Tasmania the people had no fire either. As far as I am concerned people without fire are not people BUT the explanation is they arrived with fire and then just forgot it. That seems unlikely to me in a climate like that of Great Britain. I am sure the same excuse is going to be made about the bow and arrow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
    "They say" the bow was invented as a result of the fire bow, the bow and string used to make fires.

    I don't know how to tell a dart from an arrow. This is why I questioned the 50,000 year date for the alleged Spanish bow.

    In Tasmania the people had no fire either. As far as I am concerned people without fire are not people BUT the explanation is they arrived with fire and then just forgot it. That seems unlikely to me in a climate like that of Great Britain. I am sure the same excuse is going to be made about the bow and arrow.
    The Tasmanians had both percussion and friction techniques of igniting fires.

    When was the earliest bow drill in the Old World and where is the site?

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