Ancient slingshot stones ‘were aerodynamic,’ dig reveals
BURSA – Anadolu AgencyArchaeological excavations on the Aktopraklık Mound in the northwestern province of Bursa’s Nilüfer district have unearthed 8,500-year-old stones that were used for slingshots which boasted a throwing mechanism that is today known as the Palestinian slingshot.
“Starting from 6000 B.C., these slingshot stones were used in this region,” said Istanbul University Archaeology Department academic Associated Professor Necmi Karul, who heads the excavations in the Akçalar neighborhood’s Hasanağa industrial zone.
“Some think that these slingshot stones were used by people in fights, but our information does not confirm that. We think that the people who lived in this era used these slingshot stones to hunt small and fast animals like rabbit and bird,” he said.
Excavations have revealed materials from various periods in Aktopraklık such as hunting tools and beads, Karul said, adding that the area had effectively become an archaeology school and open-air museum. “In the excavation field, the places in which people lived, the tools they used and some of the materials in their structures have survived until today in both good and bad condition,” he said, noting that the findings in the area were the oldest examples of such tools.
Karul said experts were attempting to animate the prehistoric era by examining some findings with archeometric, excavation and laboratory methods.
Special aerodynamic features
“Aerodynamic features are necessary to avoid missing the shot. The stones should be in this shape, too. These ancient slingshot stones have this feature, too,” Karul said regarding the slingshots, adding that they had a conical feature. “It shows that people in this era made solutions using this technology. The slingshot stones were made … in the shape of a pear. They could fit in the palm of a hand and they were not kiln-dried. Most probably they were dried lightly. We found these stones in masses next to furnaces. They lost water inside when they were kiln-dried. We think that they dried the stones to some extent to prevent water loss. In this way, the stones keep their weight,” he said.
Karul added that experiments show that such hunting tools could be shot at ranges of up to 200 meters.
Excavations on the Aktopraklık Mound were initiated in 2004, Karul said.