Archery is a sport that dates back centuries and is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Archery traces its origins back thousands of years.
Archers were among some of the earliest weapons used in combat. The world’s oldest known archery artifacts provided by excavations and discoveries date back to around 10,000BCE. Ancient archers were represented as powerful figures that harkened back to ancient gods or mythical creatures and were portrayed across various cultures spanning across continents.
Ancient Egyptians used archery techniques in royal wars and battles.
Ancient Egyptians believed archery was a godly skill and thus reserved it for priesthood or military usage. Ancient Egyptians documented their battles with archers painted onto their tombs, temple walls, and pyramids. Archers were an important part of the Egyptian war forces not only for combat reasons but also for symbolism as it showed their power in battle.
The earliest known bow was found at an underwater Stone Age settlement in Denmark.
The bow dates back an astonishing 8,000 years and is thought to be the earliest evidence of archery in human history. However, it is unknown whether this bow was used for hunting or combat, as there are no records to confirm its purpose. This primitive bow made of yew wood has been incredibly well preserved underwater, and is one of the oldest surviving bows known.
English longbows have been used since the Middle Ages to great effect in battle.
Archers were an important part of armies as far back as medieval Europe. The English longbow was especially dominant in battle, and its use by the English to defeat a much larger French army in the Hundred Years War has cemented its place in history. This weapon allowed archers to launch multiple arrows simultaneously and from increased distances, which wreaked havoc on opposition forces.
Historically, Europeans favored one type of bow while other parts of the world favored another type of bow, such as the composite recurve bow used by Native Americans and Asian civilizations.
The longbow used by Europeans was based on a single piece of flexible wood and had a straight design, allowing for more distance between the archer and opponent in battle. Outside Europe, bows were made from multiple layers of different materials, including woods and metals. This design allowed for greater control over the launch of arrows, making them easier to aim and fire with more force than the European longbow. The composite recurve bow remained popular until firearms replaced bows in many cultures during the 16th century.
Here are ten fun facts about archery:
1. Archery was first developed for hunting and warfare.
2. The word “archery” comes from the Latin word “arcus”, meaning bow.
3. Archery is one of the oldest Olympic sports, having been included in the games since 1900.
4. The most successful Olympian in archery is Korean Park Sung-hyun, who has won 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal.
5. In competitive archery, each arrow must be shot within 60 seconds, otherwise it will be considered a miss.
6. The world record for the longest distance shot with a bow and arrow is 909.4 meters (2,992 feet), set by Englishman Dave Switzer in 2002.
7. The heaviest bow ever used in warfare was the Welsh longbow, which could weigh up to 6 kilograms (13 pounds).
8. The largest archery tournament in the world is the National Archery in the Schools Program Tournament, which had over 33,000 participants in 2017.
9. In Japan, there is a form of archery called Kyudo, which means “the way of the bow”. It is considered to be more of an art than a sport.
10. The world’s oldest surviving bow is the Holmegaard bow, which was found in a peat bog in Denmark and is thought to date back to around 4,000 BC.