search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Hunting Traditions of the San Studied

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Namibia poison arrows LAWRENCE, KANSAS—A team of researchers has combined historical and anthropological literature with fieldwork in Namibia to gain a better understanding of how traditional San hunters use beetle arrow poisons. “Arrow-hunting appears in ancient rock-paintings of the San, but it is unclear when poisons might have been adopted. We suspect poisons were adopted very early,” entomologist Caroline Chaboo of the University of Kansas said in a press release. “In general, the beetle larvae are harvested by digging up soil around the host, sifting out the cocoons to take home. Later the cocoons are cracked open and the beetle larvae extracted. Some San hunters squeeze the beetle body fluids out onto the arrowhead, or they make a concoction with other plant juices. The arrow preparer is very careful in handling all the materials and in storing the poisoned arrows and remaining cocoons away from the community,” she explained. The poison slowly paralyzes the prey while the hunter tracks the animal until it falls over. Then the hunter makes the kill. To read more, go to "First Use of Poison."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement