15 comments on “The 42 kya Rope Maker…..Fascinating!

  1. It really is a fantastic find! I was also wondering what uses they would have used the ropes for. I’m sure that if they were smart enough to make rope they would also realize more practical uses other than just mats! 🙂

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  2. OK…this tool has me absolutely fascinated and I can’t get away from it. So how did it work? Most rope making tools are complicated because there are three steps to making a rope. The fibers are twisted into yarn or twine, the twine is then twisted into strands, then the strands are twisted into rope.

    Now I went and searched around this morning and could not find anything even close to the innovative genius of this particular hand tool if it is rope maker. This tool would have been capable of completing three different steps simultaneously as it was used.

    The first step would be compacting fibers very tightly together which this tool would have been capable of doing by forcing it’s self and holes against the larger diameter of the incoming bundle of fibers as more are added to the middle of the bundle as you go along.

    Now here is the genius of what I see here, The next two steps were completed simultaneously. As this tool was turned like a wrench it would have both twisted each strand it’s self while also twisting these individual strands very tightly into rope. And it could be done needing only one person.

    It would have required a little “Set up” first. Four longer bundles of fibers would need to be pulled through the holes and then all tied together or twisted together at the back. Then this end bundle unit could have been clamped solid and secure between two large stones to keep it from twisting or pulling away.

    Then just start twisting and pulling the tool while adding more fibers to the middle of each bundle and turn and pull again until more needs to be added and repeat. The leverage and force this tool is capable of would have twisted each strand separately and the end product of twisted rope very very tightly.

    And like Roberto and the article point out, it would have continuously produced rope very fast and as long as you like, just keep adding and twisting like heck! I’m going to make myself one just like it! 🙂

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    • Another great and creative innovation by our ancient ancestors. ” This tool would have been capable of completing three different steps simultaneously as it was used.” And that in itself is pretty amazing IMO. In thinking about it this tool (I’m sure it was not the only one) would have even been capable of mass producing fiber rope. I’m fairly certain that this was NOT a piece of jewelry as someone took the time to carve the rifling inside the holes and that proves the purpose for the tool. If by chance it was a piece of jewelry then whoever made it missed a real opportunity to make their lives easier.

      Historically, twisted rope has been the preferred form of rope and it is typically 3 strands. Four strand rope made today is known as “shroud laid” rope and an even larger rope made by counter twisting 3 or more strands together is known as “cable laid.” Plant fibers used to make the prehistoric ropes would have rostted long ago so it’s no surprise we don’t find segments of ancient rope.

      JR you and I are on the same track. I read this article last night and thought I’m going to make a replica of the tool myself LOL. I see where the researchers made theirs out of bronze but I’m going to make mine out of wood. I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

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      • Absolutely Rob!… I was thinking simple wood also. The thing I would be most interested in would be how well the friction and “rifling” in each hole simultaneously twisted each separate strand as the whole wrench was turned to twist these strands into the larger rope.

        Seriously… I looked around and could only find what they call rope wrenches. Rope wrenches can be used to separate and twist already “pre-twisted” strands but they don’t create friction in each separate hole to also twist the individual strands at the same time as they are being twisted into rope.

        I am thinking the rifling was to create even more friction to help grab the fibers and make this added friction twisting and compression action happen. Everything I found designed to do this by hand either requires two separate stages of twisting each strand as a first and then a second stage of twisting these strands into the multi-strand rope. Or it is a complicated gear driven contraption to perform these two twisting actions simultaneously.

        If this does both at the same time, it is well advanced in simple design over everything ever devised to date for making rope by hand! There were some very very critical thinking skills and engineering principles designed into this tool if this is what it is. 🙂

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  3. It will be interesting to see what you two come up with and hopefully you’ll post some pics of the end results.

    One thing that gets me about this artifact and others is the SOS argument. That is, everything archaeologists find they attribute to being religious or jewelry!! When it comes to these rope makers I’m already hearing the SOS! Frankly, ,our ancient ones were NOT ignorant buffoons! Instead of trotting around thinking we are just way to smart today maybe we need to give some credit to those who came before us and who are IN FACT the reason we are here!!

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  4. this just reminded me of when i was in Boy Scouts. at Camp Napi i was taking pioneering merit badge. there was always exchange scouts from other countries. this one year the exchange scout had a contraption that made rope, 3 strands though. i wish i remembered just exactly how it worked. all i remember is that it did work. he made rope out of grass that he just pulled from the ground right next to him and he was fast. in just a few minutes, literally 2 or 3 he made about 18 inches long. darn i wish i could remember how it worked, just a couple of pieces of 1 by 4 wood with 3 holes in one of them. it spun the individual strands and the 3 of them together and it looked just like the hemp rope we were using except that it was green and grass.

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  5. This is pretty cool if it was used for rope making. I’ve seen the rifling on other artifacts with holes mainly Native American.

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  6. I was at Camp Napi 3 years. 1 year the exchange scout was from Germany and i’m positive it was not him, so that leaves the exchange scout from Japan, or the scout from Brazil, just can’t remember which… i wish i could.

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    • That’s what I was curious about, It sounds like something an Asian culture would do. they are big on tools that are very effective but simple in design and materials. They tend to not just a one tool for each job, they are very good about making one tool that can complete many needed tasks. 🙂

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