The earliest evidence of Bow & Arrow technology outside of Africa is found from a study authored by an experienced team of researchers including several Sri Lankans in the Fa-Hein Lena Cave of Sri lanka. According to the research team, what they found in this site is 48 000 years old. (Oldest evidence is about 64 000 years old and found in South Africa).
“As the site of the earliest fossil appearance of Homo sapiens in South Asia (5), Fa-Hien Lena cave in southwestern Sri Lanka is a crucial locale for understanding the adaptive capacities and cultural flexibility that humans required as they first moved throughout the diverse environments of Asia. Ongoing analysis of the site has already found that it holds the earliest microlith assemblage in the region (9) and attests to targeted hunting of prime-aged semi-arboreal and arboreal monkeys and squirrels (4).” taken from the research-article published in the journal Science Advances on the 12th of June.
Arboreal animals are the animals who live in trees. Last year, researchers published a study analyzing monkey and squirrel bones found in the Fa-Hein Lena Cave. According to that, the Homo-Sapiens who lived in that cave should have used tools that could be used as projectiles. They searched for more evidence in this archaeological site and finally, found the technology they used.
This technology is known as the Osseous hunting technology. They have used animal bones to make their hunting tools. Evidence shows that they were made on the site. Unfinished tools and waste pieces were identified with broken fragments of finished artifacts and some points. Three main types of points are found: unipoints, bipoints and geometrics. Both unipoints and bipoints exhibited notches for hafting but there were no notches in geometrics.
“Decoration or grooves for holding poison (10, 11) were only found on a single point (Fig. 2C). All points are made on Cercopithecid long bone.” says the study published in the journal Science Advances. (Cercopithecoidea is a super-family of monkeys.)
“The hafting and launch mode for the bone points are determined through the combined consideration of the form of the point (size, weight, and proximal morphology), use wear (hafting and impact), and comparison to ethnographic observations of arboreal mammal hunting.“
Blow guns and Bows and Arrows were the early weapons used for hunting monkeys in South America, Asia and Africa. The only difference between these two is that the arrow was fixed to a light shaft, while “blow-gunning requires a long and exceptionally light dart to be fletched with an equally lightweight stuffing to create a seal within the blowgun”.
“We can rule out the use of the Fa-Hien Lena unipoints and the larger bipoints as blowgun darts as they are morphologically unsuitable for this launch mode—being too short, too heavy, and having being hafted.” says the research team.
Furthermore, the analysis done by the team suggests that the Sri Lankans were adapted to wear monkey skin as clothes to protect themselves from insect-borne diseases.
And also, some beads which were made from shells, shark teeth were found with the oldest known beads entirely made from ochre! These ochre beads are unique to Sri Lankan Homo Sapiens according to the studies done to date.
The discovery of beads made from shark teeth suggests that the Sapiens lived in the Fa-Hein Lena Cave had connections with the Sapiens who lived in the coastal-area.
However, this study has opened a new path to different fields of archaeology and the researchers are planning to search the coastal area of Sri Lanka for more evidence.
This is a great turning point of Sri Lankan Archaeology.