Its not often archery is at the heart of a contentious issue. We are a conservative sport where outside of some petty bitching and occasional personal drama, we just get on with what we do. Our suppliers gently evolve their products, our governing bodies never have to deal with drug scandals, compounders find new engineered ways to avoid fundamental archery issues and we never read about international archers driving sports cars into swimming pools.
So it is a little surprising that archery is popping up in the middle of an academic spatette regarding the origins of human innovation and the “fact” they are typically sought in Africa or Europe and no where else.
Whats it all about? Well, evidence of archery has been discovered in a Sri Lankan cave dated roughly to 48,000 years ago making it the oldest evidence of archery to be found in that part of the world. This places the Sri Lankan find towards the earliest discovered use of archery typically thought to have originated anything up to 50,000 years ago with outlier finds dated possibly as long ago as 60,000 years ago in africa.
There is also some contention over whither they are actually archery related items which muddies the waters still further. Obviously, these are arguments for academics but as archers we can still enjoy the find and the possible addition of more information on our archery forebears.
The Gizmodo article can be found here which brings up the spat and a more general article from CNN can be found here. The actual scientific paper was published in Science Advances and the research paper can be found, read online and downloaded in pdf here.