Object 2: The first ever bow and arrow

May 27, 2021


The oldest arrowheads were discovered in 1983. Scientists believe the first people to use the tool were from Sibidu Cave, South Africa, 20000 years ago. Bows and arrows were simple in design, the arrowhead being made from sharp stone. The first bows and arrows created extra leverage enabling those who used it to hunt dangerous animals from a distance, and so reflected past values, as an object required for survival. However, now societies have adopted the value to care for the animal kingdom and the need to preserve our environment to survive. I myself have rejected factory farming because, with the knowledge acquired over the years, I know it is bad. However, this is different to my ancestors’ values: they had to consume whatever was available in order to survive.
This object is particularly interesting for this exhibition because
its invention was to add precision to hunting for survival. This
shows us that knowledge regarding human survival has
developed over time and humans have realized that they depend
on the natural world, which has changed their values which has
made us investigate one type of knowledge even further. In this
way their needs for survival (food from hunting) affected the
production of their knowledge, as everything they wanted to
know and “researched” was based around hunting tools, making
the first ever bow and arrow a priority for survival.

This object also enriches this exhibition because it is possible to see that humans’ instinct for survival will decide what individuals want to know. For us to survive we need to rely on animals and the environment. The bow and arrow is the expression of the need to survive, but in the intervening 2000 years we have gained knowledge allowing us to develop new values regarding hunting. The object does not represent a moral value, but a necessity. This shows that the knowledge acquired since then has led us to condemn the use of bows and arrows.

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