TLDR: Bows and arrows are ancient weapons used for hunting and warfare. They consist of a bow, which is a flexible device, and arrows, which are long-shafted projectiles. Bows and arrows were widely used by prehistoric cultures and were important weapons until firearms were developed. Today, they are mostly used for hunting and sports.
The bow and arrow is a ranged weapon system that has been used by humans for thousands of years. It consists of a bow, which is a flexible device made of wood or other materials, and arrows, which are long shafts with pointed tips. Bows and arrows were used for hunting animals and for warfare in ancient times. They were important weapons in many cultures throughout history.
Archery is the art or skill of using bows to shoot arrows. People who shoot arrows with a bow are called bowmen or archers. The practice of making bows is known as bowyer, while someone who makes arrows is called a fletcher. Arrowheads, the metal tips of arrows, are made by an arrowsmith.
To use a bow and arrow, an archer places an arrow across the middle of the bow with the bowstring in the arrow's nock. The archer then holds the bow at its center and pulls back the arrow and the bowstring with their dominant hand. This action flexes the limbs of the bow, storing elastic energy. The archer aims the shot and releases the draw, allowing the stored energy to propel the arrow forward with high velocity.
Bows are usually kept unstrung when not in use to prevent them from losing strength or elasticity over time. A container for holding arrows is called a quiver. Bows and arrows have been used by various cultures throughout history, from ancient times to the present day.
The oldest evidence of bows and arrows comes from archaeological sites in Africa, dating back to around 72,000-60,000 years ago. The use of bows and arrows spread to other parts of the world, including Europe and Asia, during the Upper Paleolithic period. The oldest extant bows, known as the Holmegaard bows, date back to around 9,000 BCE.
Bows and arrows were important weapons in warfare until the widespread use of firearms in the 16th century. They were used by various cultures, including the English longbow during the Middle Ages and the Mongol hordes under Genghis Khan. Native Americans also used bows and arrows for hunting and defense during the colonization of the Americas.
Today, bows and arrows are mostly used for hunting and sports, such as competitive archery. They are also occasionally used by modern special forces for survival and clandestine operations.
In terms of construction, bows can be made from various materials, including wood, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Arrows are usually made from carbon fiber, aluminum, or wood shafts. Arrowheads can be made of flint, bone, metal, or other materials.
There are different types of bows, including the longbow, recurve bow, reflex bow, and compound bow. Bows can also be classified based on their materials, cross-section of the limb, and other characteristics. Arrows come in various types, such as breasted, bob-tailed, barreled, clout, and target arrows.
Overall, bows and arrows have a long and fascinating history as weapons and tools. They have played a significant role in human civilization and continue to be used for various purposes today.