When Was The First Bow and Arrow Invented

May 31, 2019 RAWAT 0 Comments

The bow and arrow is a historical weapon invented by Africans somewhere between the upper palaeolithic and Mesolithic era. Some of the earliest arrowheads come from South Africa and as people migrated from Africa to other parts of the world, they took their bows and arrows with them.
The act of shooting bows from arrows is called archery, in early times this was used mainly to hunt down animals or as a tool of warfare but in recent times it has become a sporting activity or an idea for activity days.

Archery dates back to the stone age which is around 20,000 BC during this period the only weapons available to man were those carved out of stones but history states that the earliest people to have used bows and arrows were the ancient Egyptians and neighbouring Nubian cultures. Projectile bone arrowheads were found in Sibudu Cave, South Africa and dates back to around 61,000 years ago.

Construction of Bows and Arrows

A bow is an uncomplicated tool that basically works on the law of conversion of potential energy into mechanical energy. Primarily, the bow has three parts,  the first one is the string, which is pulled up and holds the arrow until it's released. The second and the third part are the limbs of the bow, the limbs hold the string at the opposite ends of the bow. These limbs are supple and store the potential energy when the string is drawn and poised for release. The ends of both limbs hold the string and offer resistance.

The limbs of some bows are a single unit. Sometimes, the upper and lower limb is held together with a handle or a grip. This is the location where the hand of the archer is placed when the bow-string is stretched for release. This hand acts as the resisting arm, whereas the other hand acts as a pulling drive as it pulls back the string of the bow.

Types of Bow

       Bundle Bow

This is the most archaic type of bow. As the name implies, this bow is made by bundling several sticks together and the major advantage to this type of bow is the fact that you need absolutely no prior experience in making this bow. One-half of the canes are turned to one direction and the other half to the other direction then tied together.


The longbow was used mainly during the medieval warfare. In the Hundred Years War, the longbow was used by the English to defeat the French. The year 1346 at the Battle of Crecy, with the use of the longbow the English were able to defeat 60,000 French soldiers and lost just 100 men. This particular battle was proof that this type of bow is very effective.

The longbow is very tall and could almost be the height of the use, the limbs are relatively thin so that they are round or D-shaped in cross section. One feature that all longbows have is that the string doesn't make contact with the limb.

       Recurve Bow

This type of bow is an ancient design but it is still used in present times. The recurve and longbow are traditionally the oldest bows for hunting. The recurve bows were used in battle by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians and then the British. When the string of a recurve bow is pulled back it temporarily turns into a traditional longbow. It is called the recurve bow because of the shape of the limb; the limb is curved towards the archer, then away from the archer.

       Compound Bow

This bow was invented in 1960 and is basically a more technical version of the recurve bow.  This type of bow uses a levering system, of cables and pulleys to bend the limbs. The compound bow does not rely so much on physical strength, therefore skills like sturdiness are less important.

Types of Arrows

Arrows have four parts, the arrowhead, the arrow shaft, nock and fletching. The arrowhead is the tiny bit that hits the target if aimed right.

The arrow shaft is the body of the arrow attaching the head to the nock and fletchings.

Fletchings also are known as vanes is located at the posterior of the arrow to assist with the flight.

Nock is also at the rear of the arrow and fits over the string. It’s pertinent not to make it too tight or loose.

       Carbon Arrows

The carbon arrows are made from carbon. These type of arrows are very firm and durable, that is, it can be used even in unfavourable conditions (this is not advised though). The disadvantages of carbon arrows are that they are not fixable, once broken that is the end of its relevance. Additionally, it is more expensive than the other type of arrows. The carbon arrow can be used by both beginners and experienced archers.

       Aluminium Arrows

Aluminium arrow is malleable. It can be bent and then formed back to its original shape. The prices of this type of arrow differ depending on the quality of the arrow. They are heavier than carbon arrows, don't fly as fast or far and also less expensive. They are a  good choice for light-weight bows and are good for beginner archers.

       Wood Arrows

The wood arrows are basically the easiest and traditional choice. They are cheap and disposable. This type of arrows is made to have matching spines and come with feather flights as against the plastic vanes in contemporary arrows. They are the easiest to break and good for traditionalist archers.

       Fiberglass Arrows

The cheapest arrow available is this type of arrow. They are mostly used as toys or for low power bows. It can also be used for target practice.

Conclusively, a saying goes thus; if the sword is the king of close combat, then the bow and arrow should be the ruler of long-range warfare. The bow and arrow is such a simple tool but performs many roles, it seems so basic but has remained relevant over the years.