It occurs to me that largely what karate practitioners are doing with bunkai is a form of archeology. Digging up useful techniques from the past. While it's intellectually interesting and somewhat rewarding I'm not sure it's a great way of recording, learning, teaching and ultimately training martial arts and self defence.
In Europe, 600+ years ago, they did not encode martial arts techniques into forms or kata (yes, Europe had martial arts 500 years ago) they wrote them down and illustrated them. Much as we would today but without cameras.
Here is the result:
I recognise several of the throws and for any who also practice ju-jitsu I suspect you will recognise many (all?) of them. There are also a load of arm and wrist lock techniques. They come from a collection of documents called the Codex Wallerstein and Codex Danzig which contain extensive treatises (german and latin) on martial arts from unarmed combat through to pole weapons, sword fighting, knife fighting and defences. Dated from around 1320 to 1480... Which would possibly make them the earliest actually documented martial arts known?
These martial arts died out completely, but are being revived successfully.