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Bowling is a target sport and recreational activity in which a player rolls or throws a bowling ball toward pins or another target.
In pin bowling, the goal is to knock over pins at the end of a lane, with either two or three balls per frame allowed to knock down all pins. A strike is achieved when all the pins are knocked down on the first roll, and a spare is achieved if all the pins are knocked over on the second roll.
Lanes have wood or synthetic surfaces onto which protective lubricating oil is applied in different specified oil patterns that vary ball path characteristics. Common types of pin bowling include ten-pin, candlepin, duckpin, nine-pin, and five-pin bowling.
In target bowling, the aim is usually to get the ball as close to a mark as possible. The surface in target bowling may be grass, gravel, or synthetic. Bowls, skittles, kegel, bocce, carpet bowls, pétanque, and boules may have both indoor and outdoor varieties.
Bowling is played by 100 million people in more than 90 countries , and is the subject of video games.
In the U.S. and Canada, the term bowling usually refers to ten-pin bowling, whereas in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries the term often denotes lawn bowls.
The earliest known forms of bowling date back to ancient Egypt, with wall drawings depicting bowling being found in a royal Egyptian tomb dated to 5200 B.C. Remnants of bowling balls were found among artifacts in ancient Egypt going back to the Egyptian protodynastic period in 3200 BC. Balls were made using the husks of grains, covered in a material such as leather, and bound with string. Other balls made of porcelain have also been found, indicating that these were rolled along the ground rather than thrown due to their size and weight. Some of these resemble the modern day jack used in target bowl games. Bowling games of different forms are also noted by Herodotus as an invention of the Lydians in Asia Minor.
About 2,000 years ago, in the Roman Empire, a similar game evolved between Roman legionaries entailing the tossing of stone objects as close as possible to other stone objects, which eventually evolved into Italian Bocce, or outdoor bowling.