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When Did Humans Begin Hurling Spears?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Fred Fuller, May 24, 2013.

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  1. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I can't remember cuz' I was just a little guy back then... :neener:
     
  3. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    If Old Fuff....

    can't remember, nobody can. And, in his case, it's just because his memory isn't what it once was. I'm sure he WAS there...;)

    I think he told me once that it was shortly after he developed opposable thumbs.

    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Well some folks have said that I'm "all thumbs." :uhoh:

    Regarding spears, if you throw the one you have you were probably left without a weapon, and this might have slowed the technique.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    IIRC from my physical anthro 30+ years ago, a fire hardened wooden tip isn't going to penetrate with a throw so the development of stone points had to take place before spears could be thrown.
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I really don't think that'd stop a monkey though. Also, not all wood is equal.. some wood is strong/hard enough to penetrate a steel barrel.
     
  7. PRD1

    PRD1 Member

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    Old Fuff:

    Your observation on throwing away your weapon is a good one. However; I am reminded of the label of one of my favorite brews - Polygamy Porter (really!) - the motto on which reads, above a scene of bacchanalian revelry - " Why have just one?".

    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    As I seem to remember, in those pre-historic days one was not allowed to have more then one spear, and of course the authorities required that it be registered to the owner after a background check was performed. This in fact was the driving force behind the invention of numbers... :uhoh: :scrutiny: :D
     
  9. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    I'll ask Dad....
     
  10. AJumbo

    AJumbo Member

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    But seriously.....

    I've read of Apaches making mesquite wood arrow points, hardened in a fire. There are woods that will penetrate steel, but those woods don't grow everywhere. Mesquite is common here in the Sonoran Desert, but one rarely finds a limb long or straight enough to make a decent spear. Saguaro ribs can be both, but won't take much of a point. Combine the two, you might have something. HOWEVER...

    The Athabaskan people who migrated across the Bering Land Bridge were already using spears when they decamped from Siberia. Does anyone know whether the hunters depicted in the Lascaux Cave paintings are shown throwing their spears, or only using them as lances?
     
  11. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Deleted for now.
     
  12. 40 rod

    40 rod Member

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    Hardwood spear

    A must see movie for all you spearchucker wannabees is 'End of the spear' a documentery by a christian missionary group, and avalible as DVD. Set in 1970s South America a true and realistc story . Missonaries armed with shotguns and revolvers are slaughted by primitives with sharp sticks .
     
  13. PRM

    PRM Member

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    4 July, 4016 BC, It was known as "the spear chucked around the world." It created much discord between the Woodchuck Chuckers Union and the Spear Chuckers United Movement. The Woodchucks immediately began trying to ban and limit the size and velocity of pointy "chuckable" objects. Nothing has been the same since... :neener:
     
  14. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I bet they'd be all jealous of us these days.. what with our tactical rails and red-dot sights.
    stupid dummy's

    Remember, use enough stick!
     
  15. ThorinNNY

    ThorinNNY Member

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    Boomerbible, indeed!
     
  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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  17. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Please don't. We've already had the quasi-religious alternative history argument, and removed it as off-topic.
     
  18. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    We need a sticky.
     
  19. MaterDei

    MaterDei Member

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    Well played, PRM!
     
  20. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I can not imagine anyone even eating a spear in the first place let alone chucking it.

    Pre history means before folks kept records. Most likely done by and ancestor of John Moses Browning though........

    -kBob
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I have little doubt the right fire hardened wood would penetrate soft tissue. But then it would just slip right out again. They needed something that would penetrate and lodge in tissue or bone. That way the animal can be "worried to death" as they say by repeated spears. But there's so much we don't know about the various methods. I suspect those hunters were a lot sharper than their spears. Maybe even using the thrown spears to herd the beast into a prepared killing zone. Who knows. All that enormous brain power was around even very early on, and had to be there for a reason. They likely knew the habits of the wildlife better than a modern biologist, and could plan well in advance.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2013
  22. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    It seems atlatl's were used for about 20,000 years. That's a killing machine. They probably used regular spears a bit before that though.
     
  23. Archaic Weapon

    Archaic Weapon member

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    Probably shortly after somebody got tired of throwing rabbit sticks a new way, and having them bounce off.
    It really depends on what the spear was designed to be used as. Evidence would suggest that the spear was large and not designed for throwing. It makes sense that the spear was originally a long stick to keep others/enemies/predators at a distance. It was probably then sharpened on the observable facts that sharp broken sticks wound better, or perhaps that claws and teeth have points, and they have the desired effect. The next step is someone getting brave or terrified, and hurling it to at a target out of reach.

    Looked at along those lines, perhaps a rather long time ago. A large point without a cutting edge is preferable to a small point with no edge when after game that has to bleed out. Skills, luck, and close range. Neanderthals were rather well built for that type of hunting.
     
  24. JoergS

    JoergS Member

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    AFAIk the oldest spears have been found right here in Germany.

    They are over 300,000 years old, and belonged to a group of homo heidelbergensis hunters. This was a very early human, way earlier than the Neanderthal man.

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

    These spears are long, and effective. Athletes can throw exact replicas 70 meters far!
     
  25. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Jeorge,

    Thanks for the link to wiki and thanks for knocking loose some memories. That link included a link that reminded me of an evening in 1974. As a young GI of the Infantry I complained with the rest about hiking and sleeping out side......so naturally on a weekend off a friend and I hiked to the next village and camped out. I was at that time assigned to a Combat Alert Site for the Pershing Missile system (there is a non-firearm weapon for you!) in the lovely little village of Inneringen in Sigmaringen landkkries. The next village was VerringenStadt which features two caves of Neandertal men and the ruins of an old fortress.

    Arnie and I camped out in the Mammoth hunters cave over night (bet folks can't do that today) and crossed the valley and made the climb to the ruins and the Bear hunters cave the next day.

    It was a great trip.

    No spear throwing though.......

    -kBob
     
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