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Welcome to African Archaeology!

The Journal of African Archaeology is an international peer-reviewed periodical appearing half-yearly since 2003. It publishes original papers addressing recent research and developments in African archaeology and related disciplines. The journal's main purpose is to provide scholars and students with a new pan-African forum for discussing relevant topics on the cultural dynamics of past African societies.

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Vol. 10 (1) 2012

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L.H. Robbins, A.C. Campbell, G.A. Brook, M.L. Murphy & R.K. Hitchcock

The Antiquity of the Bow and Arrow in the Kalahari Desert: Bone Points from White Paintings Rock Shelter, Botswana

Journal of African Archaeology, Volume 10 (1), 2012, pages 7-20, DOI 10.3213/2191-5784-10211

Abstract
This paper presents new information on the antiquity of the bow and arrow in the Kalahari. Excavations at White Paintings Shelter (WPS) uncovered bone point fragments that appear to have been parts of reversible arrowheads that could have been used with poison. We present a sequence of nine new, internally consistent OSL ages that date specific soil horizons at WPS. These dates/soil horizons are related to the bone point finds. The oldest bone points are estimated to date between 35–37 ka, while worked bone technology extends to at least 45 ka. Several engraved points are also discussed in relation to ethnographic evidence regarding decorated bone link-shafts collected in the 1970s. Additional information includes the first description of a reversible bone arrow point, made by a person who used such points with poison in his youth.

Résumé
Ce document présente de nouvelles informations sur l'antiquité de l'arc et de la flèche dans le désert du Kalahari. Les fouilles au « White Paintings Shelter — WPS » ont permis la découverte de nombreux fragments de pointes d'os qui étaient en fait des parties de des pointes de flèches réversibles qui auraient été utilisées avec du poison. Nous présentons une séquence de neuf nouvelles dates OSL avec une cohérence interne qui datent les horizons du sol spécifiques au WPS. Ces dates/horizons du sol sont liées aux pointes d'os découvertes. Les pointes en os les plus anciennes ont un âge estimé à ce jour entre 35–37 ka, tandis que la technologie du travail de l'os date au moins de 45 ka. Le cas de plusieurs pointes gravées est discuté en relation avec les données ethnographiques concernant des flèches (type « link-shaft arrow ») décorées, collectées dans les années 1970. Des informations supplémentaires sont apportées par la première description d'une pointe de flèche réversible fabriquée en os, recueillie auprès d'une personne qui a utilisé ces pointes avec du poison dans sa jeunesse.




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