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Thread: Pleistocene/Holocene Transition Ballistics Technology of Hunter-Gatherers

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    Pleistocene/Holocene Transition Ballistics Technology of Hunter-Gatherers



    Wound ballistics: The prey specific implications of penetrating trauma injuries from osseous, flaked stone, and composite inset microblade projectiles during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition, Alaska U.S.A.

    Research in the field of wound ballistics has identified three major types of penetrating trauma injuries that will affect wound severity of a projectile point into hard or soft tissues: puncture, incised, and lacerated. In this study, we report on dual ballistics experiments conducted to better understand the wounding mechanisms of three prehistoric projectile point classes made respectfully of polished bone, bifacially flaked stone, and composite antler inset with microblades. Each class of projectiles was launched into ballistics gelatin and into the carcass of a reindeer to explore the relative performance characteristics of each class in terms of tool durability and wound infliction. Our methods of evaluation included a detailed measurement of projectile attributes before and after penetration of both gelatin and carcass that were then compared using tip-metrics, penetration depth, and total interior wound area. Our results strongly suggest that the wounding potential differed significantly between projectile point classes and in turn, strongly influenced wound severity. We suggest that point mechanics may implicate a “prey specific” hunting strategy and propose that such analyses can help us better understand prehistoric hunter-gather behavior and technological variability.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440317301590
    It's behind a paywall, but this article goes a little more in-depth.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0131144448.htm

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I thought that was very interesting. Thanks.

    "In Wood's field trial, the composite microblade points were more effective than simple stone or bone on smaller prey, showing the greatest versatility and ability to cause incapacitating damage no matter where they struck the animal's body. But the stone and bone points had their own strengths: Bone points penetrated deeply but created narrower wounds, suggesting their potential for puncturing and stunning larger prey (such as bison or mammoth); the stone points could have cut wider wounds, especially on large prey (moose or bison), resulting in a quicker kill.Wood said the findings show that hunters during this period were sophisticated enough to recognize the best point to use, and when. Hunters worked in groups; they needed to complete successful hunts, in the least amount of time, and avoid risk to themselves."

    "It could also inform debates on whether human hunting practices directly led to the extinction of some species. The team's findings and other research show that our ancestors were thinking about effectiveness and efficiency, Wood said, which may have influenced which animals they targeted. An animal that was easier to kill may have been targeted more often, which could, along with changing climates, explain why animals such as the horse disappeared from the Arctic. A shot to the lung was lethal for early equines, Wood said, but a caribou could keep going."

    I think perhaps we can glean something else from this. As the larger animals disappeared with the changing climate, they needed different points for the smaller prey remaining.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I thought that was very interesting. Thanks.

    "In Wood's field trial, the composite microblade points were more effective than simple stone or bone on smaller prey, showing the greatest versatility and ability to cause incapacitating damage no matter where they struck the animal's body. But the stone and bone points had their own strengths: Bone points penetrated deeply but created narrower wounds, suggesting their potential for puncturing and stunning larger prey (such as bison or mammoth); the stone points could have cut wider wounds, especially on large prey (moose or bison), resulting in a quicker kill.Wood said the findings show that hunters during this period were sophisticated enough to recognize the best point to use, and when. Hunters worked in groups; they needed to complete successful hunts, in the least amount of time, and avoid risk to themselves."

    "It could also inform debates on whether human hunting practices directly led to the extinction of some species. The team's findings and other research show that our ancestors were thinking about effectiveness and efficiency, Wood said, which may have influenced which animals they targeted. An animal that was easier to kill may have been targeted more often, which could, along with changing climates, explain why animals such as the horse disappeared from the Arctic. A shot to the lung was lethal for early equines, Wood said, but a caribou could keep going."

    I think perhaps we can glean something else from this. As the larger animals disappeared with the changing climate, they needed different points for the smaller prey remaining.
    I agree it is very fascinating to consider the implications of the use of these weapons. Changing conditions forced the hunter-gatherers to innovate their technology. Perhaps some instants of early admixture between hunter-gatherers, and neolithic farmers came about with hunter-gatherers seeking a new lifestyle, when their prey may have died out. Thus joining into farming communities, and intermixing with them.

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