When was bowling invented?
The sport of bowling is an ancient one, and there is evidence that it was played more than 5000 years ago. British anthropologists found primitive bowling balls and pins in an Egyptian grave that was dated at 3200 B.C., which would place it at the time of the very earliest pharaohs. More modern forms put the origins in Germany circa 300 A.D. A location in England claims to be the oldest continuous site of lawn bowling, beginning in the year 1299. The first written record of bowling is mentioned in 1366, when King Edward III banned the game, considering it a distraction from archery practice. King Henry VIII is believed to have bowled himself, using cannon balls; he also banned the sport for the lower classes, also because of a neglect of military duties and trade.
As is the case with many sports, it is impossible to pin down the exact time and place at which bowling was invented. This is true both for the game known as lawn bowling or bowls and the game in which pins are knocked down (it is not clear which one you are asking about)
As the bowlingmuseum.com link tells us, the origins of bowling are unclear. One archaeologist, at least, believed that he found evidence that shows that a game like bowling was being played in Egypt 3200 years ago. Another historian argues that bowling began in Germany about 1700 years ago. Clearly, this means that bowling's origins are quite unclear. We do know that the game was quite popular in England by the 1300s.
So, as with many sports, the origins of bowling are quite unclear.