Weapon Technology, Prey Size Selection, and Hunting Methods in Modern Hunter‐Gatherers: Implications for Hunting in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic


Journal Article

The ethnographic and ethnohistoric literature on a global sample of 96 recent hunting peoples was surveyed to explore the relationships between weapons, prey body‐size, and terrestrial hunting techniques. Findings include: (1) an association between the use of hand‐delivered spears, large‐bodied prey, and hunting techniques dependent on physiographic features and specific terrain types; (2) less dependence on terrain features in hunting with atlatl‐propelled darts, and; (3) use of the bow and arrow without regard to prey size or terrain features. Findings also suggest that technologically aided hunting of medium‐to‐large game before the development of long‐distance projectile weaponry involved a narrow range of strategies and limitations of prey choice. The effective exploitation of a wide range of terrestrial mammals characteristic of modern humans occurred after the advent of efficient projectile weapons. Copyright © 1993, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Churchill, SE

Published Date

  • January 1, 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 4 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 11 - 24

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1551-8248

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1551-823X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1525/ap3a.1993.4.1.11

Citation Source

  • Scopus