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Turned Aspis Project in Progress
For Bow drills see: Tools and Weapons by W.F. Flinders Petrie 1917
there are probably better references though this is a usefull volume....

Hodges" Technology in the Ancient World" says the Lathe image is from 300bc ish so Ptolemaic, and as far as I'm aware is the earliest representation, but probably not the earliest evidence, which would likely come from turned objects themselves, which is apparantly pretty sparse...
He also shows an image of a egyptian bow-drill derived from a 2000bc heiroglyph but there seems to be some confusion there as he also shows a pump drill...

A more upto date source might be this: Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology see pg 356-8 for bowdrills and lathes...

As for large turning wheels you might consider pottery wheels of the low two man variety, at least the idea is there, where one spins the wheel while the other works whats on it.... the greeks apparantly used this type up to the invention of the kick wheell..

"And the four bare walls stand on the seashore. a wreck a skeleton a monument of that instability and vicissitude to which all things human are subject. Not a dwelling within sight, and the farm labourer, and curious traveller, are the only persons that ever visit the scene where once so many thousands were congregated." T.Lewin 1867
"Aristophanes doesn't count -- not a good reference and still entirely vague and open to speculation"

Now you've done it!! I'm an old theatre major. Aristophanes counts as much as any other ancient source as far as I am concerned. You don't have to discount biases the way you do for Xenophon and Thucydides. His throw-away line comes from somewhere.

We have no idea how stuff was done back then. I struggle to make sandals because I don't have the right tools (and not going to get them - I don't want to invest in a new line of work). Knowledge of everyday technology falls away quickly. Do you remember party lines (multiple household shared landlines)? I still know how to use one. Haven't had to since the early sixties... I wish someone had written all this stuff down. Maybe they did and it is lost.

Anyway, research Lysias the speechwriter of ancient Athens. His family had a shield factory in Piraeus with 120 slaves.
Cheryl Boeckmann
Cheryl, I meant no disrespect -- of course Aristophanes counts! I only meant that the Aristophanes reference doesn't count as far as evidence for the use of a lathe. It's specific meaning to us, as with a lot of technology and technique (as you say), is not entirely clear.
Scott B.
Shields were turned, it's a fact not a theory. Extant remains of wooden shield cores still bear the concentric marks of the lathe. Simply, they were probably first steam bent, and then refined on a lathe, instead of making huge blocks and remove all the material on the lathe. [Stamatopoulou, "The Argolic shield and its technology"]
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
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