The History of the Bow

It seems that the bow appeared in pre-history in several places. No one civilisation can lay claim to its invention, also the idea of using stored energy, for that is precisely what a bow does, was not developed by some advanced peoples, most notably the South American peoples such as the Inca's. The earliest identifiable Archery artifacts are in the order of 40,000 years old, which in my humble veiw places the bow amongst the most effective and destructive weapons ever invented, over thousands of years we have been using this simple weapon for hunting, war and recreation.

Many forms of bow design using a wide range of available materials have developed over the centuries, simple bent sticks used by native peoples through to the sophisticated laminated bows of persia that still command respect for their ability to shoot arrows vast distances, the history of the bow also stands comparison with our modern arms race,mediaeval armourers strived to protect soldiers from the highly developed arrow points of english longbowmen much as we try to counter weapons today.

The modern archer owes a great deal to his forefathers, the same care and attention we lavish on our space age bows and arrows would not be lost on the ancient bowyers and archers,they would be at home with modern equipment because the fundamentals of shooting a bow have never changed.

The materials we use to make modern bows and arrows simply reflect the quest for perfection that archers have pursued for centuries, in archery catologues hybrid arrows made from combining carbon fibres with ultra high spec alloy tubes can be seen along side materials for making Longbows and wooden arrows. A study of ancient Egyptian archery relics shows them to be technically superb, in particular the arrows which are made from reeds tipped with ivory points, so consistantly made that they resemble modern target arrows.

Many books are available to those who wish to pursue this fascinating area of archery, some of the text's are read by todays target archers as a source of guidance on how to form the perfect shot, some religions also focus on the bow, most notably Zen, which features in fact and legend on the superlative ability of students to make almost impossible shots.

If you decide to involve yourself in one of the many forms of archery don't turn your back on a long history, which you become part of the moment you pick up a bow.