By: Yonatan Sahle, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at UCT
Date: Tuesday 8 November 2022 from 18:30 to 19:30 - please arrive from 18:00 onwards.
The tip cross-sectional data of North American ethnographic projectiles are widely used as references against which the relevant probable functions of archaeological stone points are assessed. The suitability of these standards to Afro-Eurasian assemblages has, however, been questioned.Using iron-tipped ethno-historical javelins, Lombard (2021, 2022; also Lombard et al. 2022) has recently suggested recalibrated ranges for the tip cross-sectional area (TCSA) of sub-Saharan weapon tips. I expand on these efforts by incorporating data on directly observed javelin use among the last indigenous hunters in SW Ethiopia. Results show that both overall javelin size and tip cross-sectional geometry are governed by more factors than simply optimizing penetrative qualities. I argue that such dynamics may explain the great variation in sub-Saharan archaeological stone point assemblages.