The History of Modern Day Lawn Bowling
and beyond.
Part 2

If bowls is not the oldest game, surely it must be one of the most natural, and perhaps the simplest. It can also lay claim to be one of the most civilised. Thousands of people all over the world derive great fun and enjoyment from the silly pastime of rolling balls across a lawn at another smaller ball they call a Jack. There is rivalry, competition and a lot of banter, but most of all there is camaraderie, goodwill and fellowship and a complete disregard for differences of rank, riches or religion.

That is how it should be in any sport,but heaven knows it is rarely so these days, when spectators and participants seem to rival each other to earn scandalous headlines in he nations press. So far we have had no bottle throwing, no ugly scenes on the banks, and no sad tales of drug taking, rabble-rousing or hell-raising, although there have been quite a few all day drinking sessions. Bowlers are not angels, why on earth should they be? But they are great ambassadors for sport. It is great to be part of the competive cut and thrust of a keen game, while at the same time, being able to appreciate and even enjoy the skills of an opponent.

I start this guide by going back in time to the earliest recorded origins of Bowling.
The precise origins of bowls lie back in dark and distant pre-history

The precise origins of bowls lie back in dark and distant pre-history. Aiming a missile at a target with some degree of accuracy, whether for recreation or more serious endeavour, must have been a fairly basic, even required skill when ones next meal was not only still breathing but also often still mobile.


The first documented evidence of a game at least akin to bowls, was unearthed, literally, by Sir Flinders Petrie, Professor of Egyptology at University College, London from 1893 to1935. Excavating the grave of an Egyptian child dating back some 7000 years to 5200 bc, he discovered a set of skittles or ninepins buried along with the remains. Even more precise data was to be found in the excavations at Thebes,  the ancient capital of Upper Egypt, carried out by Sir John Gardner Wilkinson. Among the artefacts recovered were vases, dishes and wall hangings clearly showing people of the period 3000 bc involved in bowling games, which closely parallel the game we play today.


The early Chinese bowled carefully selected stones toward a hole in the ground with the object, unlike that of golf, of getting the stone as close to the edge of the hole without it falling in.


The Polynesians developed Ula Maika, a game in which pieces of whetstone, 3 to 4 inches in diameter and painstaking shaped into an oval, were rolled at pins set at a distance of 60 feet, the exact regulation incidentally of modern day Ten Pin bowling lanes. Different versions of this game filtered down to Polynesian descendent groups including those in Hawaii, Samara, Fiji and New Zealand where a set of ten stone bowls of Maori origin are on display in the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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