The Two-Wood Bow
Abstract:The invention of long-range weapons has played an important role in the evolution of human culture. The evolution of the bow in particular has held a central position in this process. A reconstruction of the steps by which the bow evolved is therefore of considerable interest. In this process the use of two separate types of wood, the invention of strong glues, the evolution of stiff ends, which act as levers, and the discovery of the mechanical characteristics of horn and sinew are key technical innovations.
Previous research has often focussed on the evolution of the horn bow, or the composite bow as it also is called. On the other hand, the type of bow that is typical of northern Asia, the two-wood bow, has attracted little interest. This paper treats the evolution of the bow in Scandinavia, with focus on the two-wood bow. To put the two-wood bow in perspective, archaeological records and rock-carvings are analysed. This study highlights some new aspects of the early evolution of the bow, where the two-wood bow is, for the first time, assigned an important role. It is classified as a distinct type, which, moreover, formed an important stage in the evolution of the bow.