Warfare & Military Technologies Throughout The Ages: Part 1 – The Early Days.
Advancements in military technology during our earliest days were limited by the resources we had readily available. Our weapons were made of wood, bone, and stone, and rather than killing each other, we were primarily focused on finding food and safety.
- 400,000 BC: The earliest evidence of humans using spears, in a part of Germany now near Schöningen.
- Stone tips are one of the earliest forms of weapons assumed by archaeologists, with the earliest surviving examples of stone tips with animal blood dating to around 64,000 years ago from the Natal, in what is now South Africa.
- 40,000 to 25,000 BC: The atlatl throws a flexible dart that can kill a deer at 40 metres. Developed in northern Africa, it spreads throughout the world, being later replaced by the bow and arrow.
- The simple bow, made from a single piece of wood, was known to Neolithic hunters; it is clearly depicted in cave paintings of 30,000 BCE and earlier.
- 23,000 BC: Boomerangs are strongly associated with Australia’s Aboriginal people, but were actually used as hunting weapons throughout Europe and Africa. The oldest boomerang yet, 23,000 years, was made from a mammoth tusk and discovered in a cave in Poland.
- 20,000 BC: The earliest arrowheads date from this time, suggesting that bows and arrows were in use.
- The earliest evidence of warfare between two groups is recorded at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, where human skeletons with major traumatic injuries to the head, neck, ribs, knees and hands, including an embedded obsidian bladelet on a skull, are evidence of inter-group conflict between groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago.
- Bows and arrows arrived in Europe by the Late Paleolithic period, around 9,000-11,000 years ago.
- The stone Walls of Jericho, which date from about 8000 bc, represent the first technology that can be ascribed unequivocally to purely military purposes. These walls, at least 13 feet (4 metres) in height and backed by a watchtower or redoubt some 28 feet tall, were clearly intended to protect the settlement and its water supply from human intruders.
- Bows and arrows arrived in the Americas by at least 6,000 BCE.
- The oldest bows still in existance, from the Holmegård region in Denmark, date to around 6,000 BCE.
Thanks for reading! Look forward to the next issues in this series: Warfare & Military Technologies Throughout The Ages: Part 2 – The Ancient Era.