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Slings and Slingstones

The Forgotten Weapons of Oceania and the Americas

Archeology & Anthropology


DescriptionA fascinating examination of an overlooked weapon

For most of us, our knowledge of slings and slingstones begins and ends with the biblical tale of David slaying Goliath. Scholars and archaeologists have told us that slings like the one David employed were common in the Old World, used not just for shepherd boys to kill giants but for protecting herds, hunting, and combat. However, few scholars have addressed the function slings have occupied outside of Eurasian civilizations, especially their use in Oceania and the Americas.

In this astounding new archaeological survey, authors Robert York and Gigi York examine the history of Oceania and the Americas to unveil the significant role slings and slingstones played in developing societies. They present new evidence that suggests that unlike David who plucked rounded pebbles from a stream, inhabitants of the Pacific Islands deliberately fashioned sling missiles out of coral, stone, and clay into uniquely deadly shapes. They also show that the use of slings in the Americas was more pervasive and inclined to variability than previously recognized.

Well documented, bountifully illustrated, and thoroughly researched, Slings and Slingstones is sure to engage readers interested in expanding their knowledge of the past. It is an essential reference for archaeologists, historians, and students of the history of arms and weaponry.



Robert York and Gigi York are fellows of the University of Wyoming’s Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in Laramie. They also hold research associate appointments at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City and at the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Museum of History and Culture in Saipan. Between them, they share some sixty years of professional experience in the fields of archaeology, museum collections, and cultural resources management. They have written and published numerous reports and articles about their work.