Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ancient Boomerang (c. 18,000 B.C.E.)

The advent of an easily retrievable weapon.

The oldest boomerang so far found was discovered in a cave in the Carpathian Mountains in southern Poland and is believed to be date form 18,000 B.C.E. The practice of throwing wood has also been illustrated in North African rock paintings tha date from the Neolithic Age (approximately 6000 B.C.E) The wood thrown consists variously of a "throwing club," where the effect is concentrated at one end, or a "throwing stick," a sharpened, straight rod of hard wood that rotates, or a boomerang, which developed from these into a specialized from and has a return throw.

Ancient tribes in Europe are said to have used a throwing axe; in Egypt a special type of curved stick was used by the Pharaohs for hunting birds. The use of throwing woods is thought to have spread throughout North Africa from Egypt to the Atlantic.

Boomerangs are most commonly associated with Australian Aborigines. They have been made in various  shapes and sizes depending on their geographic origins and intended function. In the past they have been used as hunting weapons, musical instruments, battle clubs, and recreational toys. The most recognizable type is the returning boomerang. Some have "turbulators" (bumps or pits on the top surface) to make the flight more predictable. A returning boomerang is an airfoil and its rapid spin make it fly in a curve rather than a straight line.

Other types of boomerang are of the non-returning sort, and some were not thrown at all but were used in hand to hand combat by Aboriginal people. The throwing wood, however, was mainly used for hunting rather than as a battle weapon.

"A boomerang in Aboriginal art on the main gorge wall at Carnarvon George, Australia"