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Karl Randall




Location: South Korea
Joined: 10 Jul 2009
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed 31 Aug, 2016 3:25 am    Post subject: Origins and Comparative Advantage of the Composite Bow         Reply with quote

Good evening all.

As a select few of you may know, I have just finished my doctorate in classics at the University of South Africa (thesis title above).

Below is a link to the *front matter* of the thesis for those of you who might be interested in taking a quick look.

https://www.academia.edu/28042770/Origins_and_Comparative_Performance_of_the_Composite_Bow

For those of you who are still hungry for more after browsing the table of contents and preface I am happy to send you a link to the thesis in its entirety on an individual basis (please send me a PM). In essence I still hope to be able to part and parcel up a good section of the thesis into different articles and as such don't want it made available to the general public at this time.

Also, since the doctorate is done, I am going to try and re-enter the job market for the first time in over 20 years. I welcome anyone who have helpful advice with regard to either getting a Postdoc position in general or with a specific grant, fellowship or position or job opportunity either in academia or not that would allow me the chance to continue to pursue research at least part time.

Finally, several fellow members have been cited in the thesis, and I would like to take the time to give them a shout out and say thank you, as it is in small part your effort that made it possible.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,197

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2016 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not really sure we can say that composite bows were ever used in Mesopotamia or Elam. The only evidence is a subjective interpretation of some pretty crude illustrations. The earliest solid evidence for composite bows dates to the 2nd millennium .
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Karl Randall




Location: South Korea
Joined: 10 Jul 2009
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Thu 01 Sep, 2016 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that no physical evidence has yet been found from these areas, and that the analysis of artwork of those regions as regard to archery has been inconsistent in the past.

A large part of the thesis is devoted to the analysis of bow length as compared to figure height as a measure of probability that a given design could support self construction. This replaces the previous method of looking at bow profile. It then gets into an examination of artwork in Egypt (where we have both artifacts and artwork to cross-examine against each other), and progresses backward into Mesopotamia, which has many of the same or very similar conventions with regard to artwork, proportion, and accuracy but has no artifacts.

In the end, I can't say that I produced a smoking gun, but the examiners thought is was a fairly sturdy argument once all the evidence was put together.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,197

PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2016 2:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That methodology can only work if it can be demonstrated that every illustration in question was done by the same artist.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Karl Randall




Location: South Korea
Joined: 10 Jul 2009
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Fri 02 Sep, 2016 2:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I certainly understand where you are coming from, but if I were to take an opposite approach it could be stated that consistency even with a given artist's body of work can vary considerably (take Picasso, for instance).

As a general body of work however, art in both Egypt and Mesopotamia works works within a canon of accepted practices to which there were some degree of exceptions. These traditions naturally vary over time, as with any culture. It should be noted that particularly with regard to Egypt and Mesopotamia, the producers of tomb art, rock-cut reliefs, stelae and even seals tended more toward the definition of "craftsman" rather than "artist." This should not be taken as an insult to the works that they created, but rather act as a framework of understanding that they were produced within strictures that were not entirely rigid, but still overwhelmingly influenced by tradition.

Not everyone will agree with my conclusions (or even methods, as you have pointed out), but the opposite similarly holds true. I wish I could say that I was part of an excavation that unearthed physical evidence to prove my case. It certainly would have been more difficult to refute, and made the iconographic analysis more robust in the process. That being said, people have been using artwork to date the inception of the composite bow since the 60's. I have merely tried to clarify and quantify what had previously been inconsistently and/or incompletely examined.
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