K. Svenska Vetenskapsakadamiens Åarsbok Föor Åar

Date: 1927

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FIG. 5.

The trap [says Lindblom] is carefully concealed, covered with earth, etc. In the main it is used for trapping antelopes—exclusively for that purpose in Kitosh. Further north, however, it is also employed to catch elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, and rhinoceroses. . . .

The oldest proofs of the existence of this trap come from Old Egypt, one of them being prehistoric. This appears on a grave painting at Hierakonpolis, its purpose being to provide game for the deceased. In the Pitt River Museum, Professor Seligman informs me, there is a trap dated as from the 20th or the 22nd dynasty. In regard to the spread of this trap in present-day Africa, a glance at the illustration below will show that it is limited to the Hamites in the north, to the Niloto-Hamites and Nilotics more or less influenced by them, and to a few negro tribes inland from the shore of Upper Guinea. Among the Bantu tribes it is not to be found, except among the Baganda and Banjoro, who have Nilotic neighbors; among the negroes of Kitosh, who told me themselves it was brought to them about twenty years ago by the Turks in the north, and finally in the Bukoba region and Kiziba, west of Lake Victoria, where the tribes have Hamitic neighbors (Batusi-Bahima).

FIG. 6.—Wheel trap found by Sven Hedin north of Transhimalaya, in the region south of the source of the Indus (spokes of antelope ribs).

I feel that I can claim without hesitation that this trap, as used by the negroes in Africa, is a loan from the Hamites in the north. To them it probably came from Asia at one time or another (perhaps even with the Hamites themselves?). However, I have found no evidence of it in the parts of Asia adjoining Africa. . . . Sven Hedin mentions its existence in the country north of Transhimalaya, but does not illustrate it. However, he has been kind enough to draw the picture for me which I am reproducing [above]. The spokes of the trap are made of animal ribs. It is used in the winter and secured in the following manner: Water is poured into the bottom of the hole and one end of a rope is fastened to the trap while the other end is immersed in the water, which then anchors the contrivance when it freezes solid. An Englishman, Captain Bower, describes the trap from a region about 300 km. northeast of Lake Tengri-Nor, where he came across a number of them set around a drinking hole. The pointed spokes were made of horn and the trap was secured to a horn buried in the ground. The United States National Museum (Smithsonian Institution) owns a similar trap from Tibet. Sir Aurel Stein found one of them during his excavations in the oasis of Tun Huang in the extreme west of Kansu. My only remaining proof from Asia is from southwest Caucasus (Suchum region) where the trap is set for wild boar. The collar is of wood, funnel-shaped, and the teeth, or spokes, of wood.

From modern Europe I have only one report about the occurrence of this trap, namely from the woodland regions on the boundary between Hungary and lower Austria, west of the Neusiedler Lake. There it is used by poachers for trapping deer. Incidentally, the hunting and trapping methods of poachers ought in many instances to offer considerable material of scientific interest. They are to a large extent limited to traps, since shots would disclose their whereabouts. For this reason some of the ancient methods have survived among them.

Among the old Greeks and Romans this trap was used to catch deer and wild boar. In Xenophon’s treatise on hunting I found a detailed description of how it is used for deer. According to him, the spokes were made alternately of iron and wood. The iron spokes were larger and were supposed to hold the animal while the wooden ones were intended to give so that the foot would slip into the trap more easily.1

FIG. 7.—Wheel trap (wooden collar with iron spokes, or teeth) from the boundary region between Hungary and lowar Austria. (From Deutsche Jäagerzeitung.)

1Lindblom, G.n/an/an/an/an/a, "Forskninger bland Niloter och Bantu i Kavirondo, Säarskilt med Häansyn till äaldre Kulturelementer," 1927, 259–262,

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Chicago: K. Svenska Vetenskapsakadamiens Åarsbok Föor Åar in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2023, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RMZFV8KCG5W3VNI.

MLA: . K. Svenska Vetenskapsakadamiens Åarsbok Föor Åar, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2023. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RMZFV8KCG5W3VNI.

Harvard: , K. Svenska Vetenskapsakadamiens Åarsbok Föor Åar. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2023, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RMZFV8KCG5W3VNI.