Palaeolithic Throwing Object!!

"Throwing experiments with the palaeolithic throwing opject from the OBLAZOWA CAVE in the Polish CARPATHIANS"

But still it flies!!


Thus the title of an eight page essay by Dietrich Evers published in the "Archaologisches Korrespondenzblatt" of the Roemisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mainz. Evers first describes the circumstances of the find and the reconstruction of the sensational piece. Finally, he sums up the results of the throwing experiments. Thanks to the museum, there is a reconstruction consisting of synthetic material weighing 800 g with which we could perform our throwing experiments. On winding paths, the object reached Fridolin Frost and Eckhard Mawick. Mr. Evers asked us for a detailed and clearly formulated programme to realize and to document the experiments, because his own energy was not enough.


We set off to Fridolin´s training meadow with a reconstruction and a similarly crooked club with a circle section (which was also brought to the weight of 800 g with lead). With approx. 2 bft we had ideal wind conditions. We threw without gloves intentionally. All wind directions were tried out. The dominating factor for the behaviour of the boomerang soon turned out to be the absolute weight of the boomerang. Thus the lateral wind was nearly irrelevant for the exactness of hitting, not even with the ending phase of the flight. Left-handed throwings showed similar results. With the widest throwing (66 m), we had about 3 bft headwind. The average range of 45 to 51 m was almost ideal from the hunter´s point of view: The throwing object did not fly higher than 1,50 m at the vertex of the flight path, when thrown from waist height, and then regularly, just within the last 3 meters, fell clumsily to the ground.


An observation we had never made with Australian throwing woods became clear: The "mammoth´s tooth" flew with a clearly visible retrogressive axis of rotation when watched from the side. We trace the phenomenon back to the pointed wing endings. Obviously, they are hardly able to produce any aerodynamical lift. Non returning Australian throwing woods with less sharply pointed wing ends generally level off in a practically vertical axis of rotation, in which they also rotate horizontally around this virtual axis. Although throwing experiments with the equally heavy, unprofiled and crooked wooden club were subjectively much easier to handle, the strong braking effect of the truncated shape of the section soon showed. The 27 m flying range with a flying speed of 18,5 m/s was clearly inferior to the one of the "mammoth´s tooth" with 50 m and 21,4 m/s. Seen from the hunter´s point of view this is an advantage, if you consider that the club also showed a very bow-shaped (ballistic) flight line.


Finally Evers conjectures about the more than 18,000 year-old boomerang: "The shaping of the find allows the conclusion that there was a long tradition with the production of such throwing weapons." We are favourably disposed to agree with him after seeing the amazing results of our experiments.

(Quelle: Eckhard Mawick, Bumerng Welt 1/95)