Prehistoric archery and its accessories

Dr Alison Sheridan, National Museums of Scotland
 
What kind of a bow did the Amesbury Archer use, and how powerful was it? Only a very few prehistoric bows have been found in Britain and Ireland. The earliest one dates to around 4000 BC and was found at Rotten Bottom, in the Moffat hills in south-west Scotland. This was a single-piece yew flatbow, which had probably broken during a deer hunt in the hills. The Amesbury Archer's bow may well have been of a different kind - shorter, curved, and possibly made of more than one material. Such bows were adopted from Europe around 2500 BC, and used alongside the older type. Other novelties adopted from Europe were a new kind of arrowhead, with a tang (for attachment to the arrowshaft) and barbs (to help the arrow stick in the target), and fancy stone wristguards. These protected the wrist from the bowstring as it snapped back after a shot.
 
The Amesbury bow need not have been particularly powerful. If used for hunting, or even for combat, the archer would have tried to get as close to his prey/enemy as possible, to ensure that the arrows struck their target.
 
Also of interest is the shale ring, which might have been from a belt or strap - perhaps even the strap for his quiver.