The Mechanical and Material Designs of Composite Ju|’hoansi Arrowheads

In this paper, we elucidate the composite engineering design skills of the Kalahari Ju|’hoansi (San) people, developed over at least tens of thousands of years. In particular, we show that the mechanical and physical properties of materials used by the Ju|’hoansi in the design of arrowheads are intimately linked to their unique geometrical and composite designs. The Ju|’hoansi arrowheads have evolved to become complex engineered units with distinct function-specific purpose. We demonstrate herein that the geometrical designs of the arrowheads are optimised with respect to the material used. We furthermore verify the veracity of the Ju|’hoansi claim that their composite link-shafts are designed to break off leaving the arrowhead in the animal and the remaining parts of the arrow intact, reusable and easily retrievable.

Publish DateFebruary 18, 2021
Last UpdatedFebruary 18, 2021
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