Summary | Raw materials | Items of material culture | Other tasks | Arrows | String | Survival in a prehistoric context

3.4. Arrows

Not all items are, of course, owned by everyone, but each individual item has its specific role either as a subsistence-related or lifestyle object. The Wola make and use 19 different types of arrows. Each of these arrows has an individual place in Wola life, though some of these may overlap and often what a person makes or owns (it is sometimes possible to buy items as well as make them) is down to personal choice or preference. There are arrows for everyday hunting of small mammals and birds (blunt-club and sharp-club), arrows for practising warfare (mock battles) that injure but do not kill (collared), arrows for larger animals, marsupials and general use (pronged, plain pointed), arrows that are of high quality and difficult-to-obtain wood (plain-pointed black palmwood), and arrows that are used for warfare. These, of which there are eight types, are also used as decorative arrows or for dances or ceremonial use. Some of these arrows are complicated and time-consuming to make and can also be carved; they are well looked after and care is taken not to lose them. Everyday arrows, on the other hand, are quick and easy to make and while people normally try to retrieve arrows once they have been released, their loss is not as serious as it would be with some of the more elaborate arrows. Only men use bows and arrows and they usually carry with them a range of different types which they employ when they need to (Sillitoe 1988).

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Last updated: Wed Oct 8 2003