Programmes > Par auteur > Gaudzinski Windheuser Sabine

Ballistic Archaeology: a new agenda for contextualizing the origin and evolution of prehistoric weaponry
Sabine Gaudzinski Windheuser  1, 2@  , Elisabeth Noack  1, 2@  
1 : Johannes Gutenberg - University of Mainz  (JGU)  -  Site web
55099 Mainz -  Allemagne
2 : MONREPOS Archaeological Research Center and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution  (MONREPOS)  -  Site web
Schloss Monrepos 56567 Neuwied -  Allemagne

The question “what made us human?” in our deep history is often answered by putting forward the hunting way of life, inextricably intertwined with the formation of weaponry. Whereas we must assume that weapons initially served subsistence means only, during the post-Palaeolithic age we witness a continuous adaptation of weapon systems that occurred parallel to warfare.

In stark contrast to the omnipresent importance of weapon technology and its evolution for our understanding of the humans we are today is the limited conceptual foundation on which our current analyses on the topic is based. Thus, we currently lack a comprehensive methodological agenda, especially for the systematic identification of hunting lesions on target and prey. Properties of potential targets are only insufficiently understood which leaves us mostly ignorant if we want to evaluate the effectivity of a weapon under varying conditions. We outline here that it is the systematic integration of the scientific framework and methodological apparatus of ballistic science and controlled experimental studies that can help us to overcome these desiderata in archaeological research. The development of a “Ballistic Archaeology” represents a crucial step towards a novel and holistic perspective on past hominin behaviour.

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