The Weapons of Early Mankind

by Shirley Williams
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Before any alphabets were invented, mankind existed in a world where foraging for food was the main occupation. Small tribes wandered across the world in search of something they could eat, and starvation was constant pressure for those without the knowledge of tools. Finding something to help bring down a game animal might not have been anything more than an accident the first time, but man has the ability to learn and pass down knowledge. Tools for hunting could be used as weapons, so each item ancient mankind found to hunt for food could be turned into a weapon of war.

Modern housewives hunt today through store shelves, and some of them are even further removed as they click on items they want through online shopping venues. Ancient man had nothing like this, and their lives were very different. Females often gathered local fruits, berries, and grasses while the males hunted game animals. Failure to find or procure any food could leave a small band too weak to function, so finding ways to ensure a kill was important.

Sticks and stones abound on the planet today in most areas, and there is no reason to suppose they were unavailable before history recorded them. Ancient man would have found that jabbing something with a stick was a good way to bring it down, and throwing a rock was another good way to secure food. Tribes with fire would have also been able to harden their sharpened sticks.

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The prevalence of rocks was a boon for ancient man as they looked for better ways to feed the tribe, and they eventually stumbled upon the trick of using one rock to flake pieces off another stone. They learned to make tips for their spears, and they eventually used smaller spears with arrowheads. These could be used to hunt game, but they also gave mankind an opportunity to defend their tribe. Weapons of war had been invented even if they were not used in that way.

One of the most dangerous weapons conceived by ancient mankind was the flint axe. Chipped out of stone, it was attached to a hilt or grip that gave the user addition power in their swing. It could be used to hunt game, chop wood for a fire, or it could give them a greater opportunity to conquer invaders from another tribe. Flint axes have been found in many places around the globe, and they came in various sizes and shapes.

Creating weapons out of stone was painstaking work, but the ancient man found the time to craft weapons because they were a necessity. Arrowheads and spear tips were popular if one goes by how many have been found, but knives and axe blades made of stone were also weapons many tribes discovered and used.

The prevalence of rocks and sticks made them the easiest tools for ancient man to acquire, but killing animals brought them one more set of weapons. Clubs, knives and spears have all been found made of ancient bones, and these are yet more examples of mankind’s first weapons.

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