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CATEGORY: artifact
DEFINITION: A curved wooden throwing stick with a bi-convex or semi-oval cross-section, distributed widely over Australia except for Tasmania, and used for hunting and warfare. The boomerang had marked regional variations in design and decoration. Returning boomerangs were used in Australia as playthings, in tournament competition, and by hunters to imitate hawks for driving flocks of game birds into nets strung from trees. The returning boomerang was developed from the nonreturning types, which swerve in flight. Boomerangs excavated from peat deposits in Wyrie Swamp, South Australia, have been dated to c 8000 BC. Boomerang-shaped, nonreturning weapons were used by the ancient Egyptians, by Indians of California and Arizona, and in southern India for killing birds, rabbits, and other animals.

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