Origins and comparative performance of the composite bow

by Karl Chandler Randall

Institution: University of South Africa
Year: 2016
Keywords: Ancient history; Military history; Archery; Bow; Composite; Experimental archaeology; Egypt; Mesopotamia; Elam; Arrow
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2066402
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10500/21120


This thesis shall identify the date origin of the composite bow within Mesopotamia and Elam. and both identify and quantify the design factors which lead to increased performance possible with composite construction. To accomplish this, the thesis begins by summarizing the problems and flaws that currently exist in the field of history as it applies specifically to archery and bow use. With problems identified, the thesis will then introduce the reader to the basics of bow mechanics, thereby laying the basis for physical testing. This in turn will empirically demonstrate flaws in the current iconographical method of bow identification. The thesis will then devise a new method for iconographic identification of composite construction that has greater proven accuracy, based upon proportional length, which will link extant artifacts with both physical test results and iconographic evidence. The reader shall then be led through a complete reevaluation of iconographical evidence for Mesopotamia and Elam starting at the beginning of the second millennium BCE and working backwards using this new method of iconographic evaluation to determine the point at which composite bow technology first appears in the ancient Near East. The thesis will finish with an overview of the above accomplishments and their potential impact on the study of ancient and military history. Advisors/Committee Members: De Marre, Martine Elizabeth Agnès (advisor), Molloy, Barry (advisor).