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Thread: Origins of Complex Projectile Technology

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    Origins of Complex Projectile Technology

    Complex projectile technology is defined in anthropological literature as any device that uses stored elastic energy or mechanical leverage to launch projectiles. This usually means either the atlatl or the bow and arrow.

    The origins of the bow and arrow and the atlatl have been the subject of academic controversy in recent years. This controversy has been fueled primarily by JJ Shea, Kyle Brown and Steven Churchill -- who are both proponents of the Out of Africa replacement theory.

    The scientific consensus on complex projectile technology is that the atlatl was invented less than 20,000 years ago, with the oldest surviving examples being 15,000 years old, and that the bow and arrow is even younger, with the oldest examples being found in Ahrensburg, Germany.

    However, JJ Shea has made the radical claim that the bow and arrow was invented in Africa and in use 71,000 years ago -- based on the extremely dubious interpretation of dimunitive and asymmetrical slivers of stone, found in East Africa, as arrowheads.

    The following objects are the stones alleged to be "arrowheads" by Kyle Brown and JJ Shea.



    These objects are, of course, not arrowheads. They could never be affixed to a working missile shaft. The authors contend that they may be awls or simple blades, but this would do nothing for to bolster their academic agenda. So JJ Shea tries to reformulate the critera of what can and cannot be considered a projectile point. See his paper here.

    Note -- these authors are claiming the bow and arrow was invented in Africa 71,000 years ago based on these wiggly dimunitive stones. No surviving evidence of a bow or an arrow been uncovered in Africa dating to 71,000 years ago or even 8,000 years ago.


    Several discoveries in Europe appear to have turned the tables on these Afrocentric anthropologists. To begin with, stone points found in France dating to 71,000 years ago have been found which meet the metrical and use-wear parameters consistent with complex projecfiles. The very same site yielded the world's oldest evidence of cordage -- cordage is an essential component of a bow and arrow (the bowstring).

    In light of this evidence I have seen no continued interest in pursuing an African origin of the bow and arrow since 2015 by either Shea or others like him. Yet evidence of Neanderthal use of the bow is far older than this. This evidence has been suppressed and ignored by Anglosphere anthropologists:

    http://www.aggsbach.de/2011/02/salzg...-in-n-germany/


    Salzgitter-Lebenstedt: an important Paleolithic site in N-Germany



    Bone tools: Some modified bone tools have been described already 1952 and in more detail in 1982 as a part of an excellent monograph by Tode. Today, the bone tool assemblage consists of 23 intentionally modified bones (pointed elephant ribs and fibulae), a modified antler and a triangular bone point (Gaudzinski 1999). It was not before Gaudzinski`s publication, that this fact was internationally recognized.

    The renewed analysis of the faunal remains by Gaudzinski finally showed that Neanderthals were logistically organized hunters that exploited reindeer in exactly the same manner as the Ahrensburgians who recolonized Northern Germany about 40,000 years later.

    If Tode`s results would have been published in English and at the “right” moment; they would have caused a sensation in the Prehistoric community. But they were widely ignored. Beside linguistic problems and the fact, that the German Prehistoric Archeology was internationally compromised after WW II, the data did not fit into the paradigm that Neanderthals were intellectual challenged Scavengers.
    The following are pictures of the +50,000 year old triangular bone point found at Salzgitter-Lebenstedt. It could only have been affixed to an arrow shaft launched from a bow, by these Micoquian Neanderthals.





    That is to say nothing of late Neanderthal industries such as the Szletian which incorporate bifacial leaf point arrowheads. Why then, are Neanderthals not given the credit for inventing the bow and arrow? The answer is obvious: inferiority feelings.

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    Both the African and French "arrowheads" are rather dubious in my mind. The Neanderthal bone point and glue they made to attach points to wood is very impressive. The bone points must be antler but they do look like arrowheads.

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    The oldest preserved bow is Holocene and so postdates OOA. It never got to Australia so I assume there was some diffusion or backmigration into Africa. A tipped projectile preserved without a bow may have been a throwing dart.

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