Traditional Weapons of Africa : Volume 3

Title : Traditional weapons of Africa (billhooks, sickles and scythes)

Author: Tristan Arbousse-Bastide
Publisher: Archaeopress, Oxford U.K. / Date: 2010 / British Archaeological Reports International Series 2149
ISBN 978 1 4073 0690 2
Indicative price 2011: £33.00 / US $82.50

(click to enlarge)

Book cover
BAR IS 2149

  • Paperback
  • 21 x 30 cm
  • 146 pages
  • 107 illustrations
  • English / French

On this page :
  1. Book summary
  2. Table of contents
  3. Types of weapons
  4. Research area




See also Vol. 1

  • Paperback
  • 21 x 30 cm
  • 203 p., 235 ill.
  • French

See also Vol. 2


  • Paperback
  • 21 x 30 cm
  • 163 p., 160 ill.
  • French & English

See also Oriental Arms


  • Paperback
  • 21 x 30 cm
  • 181 p., 155 ill.
  • French
(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

BAR IS 2149
Sample : page n° 3
BAR IS 2149
Sample : page n° 42

Summary

This book is the third in a series of monographs written by Tristan Arbousse-Bastide on traditional weapons from the African continent (see BAR 1098 for vol. n°1, and BAR 1764 for vol. n°2). In this volume the author examines a group of unusual edged weapons showing analogies to agricultural implements. These weapons are characterized by a bent or curved blade with a main concave cutting edge including billhooks, sickles and scythes. Mostly originating from Central Africa these objects were produced during the 19th century and early 20th century. Their use was mainly linked with status, parade and dance, however very large examples or plain blades were also practical fighting weapons. Numerous drawings and maps illustrate the text and facilitate object identification and localisation.
  • 34 types of different weapons
  • 217 objects studied
  • 146 p., 107 illustrations
  • a large bibliography with more than 250 titles

Table of contents

  • Introduction & research framework p.1-6 (available on our download page)
  • Materials and techniques p.7-10
  • Methodology p.11-17
  • Corpus & typology p.18-21
  • Regional approach p.23-41
  • Small billhooks p.43-48
  • Billhooks p.49-71
  • Short sickles p.73-79
  • Sickles p.81-100
  • Scythes p.101-106
  • The language of shapes & symbols p.107-117
  • List of weapons / Museums / Bibliography / List of illustrations / Table of contents p.121-146 (available on our download page)

Types of weapons

Curved blade with concave edge (simplified classification)

 Blade width
Blade length
Types
Objects
Short sickle
≤ 5 cm
≤ 30 cm
4
15
Small billhook
≤ 5 cm
≤ 20 cm
3
10
Billhook≥ 5cm
≤ 30 cm
12
134
Sickle
≥ 5 cm
≥ 30 cm ≤ 60 cm
12
45
Scythe
≥ 5 cm
≥ 60 cm
3
13

Note: The values in cm correspond to average sizes. They are simplified and only mentioned as a guide (≤ is less than or equal to, ≥ is greater than or equal to, ≈ is approximately equal to).

Geographical & cultural context

 TypesObjects
Ethnic Groups
Countries
Ubangi & north Congo Basin26
163
Bali, Banda, Bangala, Boa, Budja, Budu, Doko, Liko, Mangbetu, Meje, Momvu, Ngbaka, Ngbandi, Ngombe, Nzakara, Zande
Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan
Ogooue & Shangha Rivers
2
36
Bumali, Fang, Kota, Njem
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo
South Congo Basin
3
11
Hemba, Luba, Ndengese
Democratic Republic of the Congo
High lacustrine plateaux
2
5
Bembe, Rundi
Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
Sahara Sahel
1
2
Mafa, Matakam
Cameroon