The Archery activity involves using our re-curve bows which have a ‘pull’ weight of between 20 and 28lbs – which will give you plenty of force to thud the arrows into our targets about 10 meters away!
For groups who are not complete novices, we can introduce longer and different styles of targets – and a few fun games to really test your skills with the bow! Archery comes from the latin of arcus, historically archery has been used by hunters or warriors, in recent times it is used as a recreational activity.
Bows seem to have been invented in the late Paleolithic or early Mesolithic periods – approximately eleven and a half thousand years ago! The oldest indication for its use in Europe comes from Germany and date from the late Paleolithic age, about 10,000–9000 BC. The arrows were made of pine and consisted of a main shaft and a 6–8 inches long fore shaft with a flint point.
The development of firearms eventually rendered bows obsolete in warfare. Despite the high social status, ongoing utility, and widespread pleasure of archery in Korea, England, China, Japan, Turkey, Armenia, America, Egypt, India and elsewhere, almost every culture that gained access to even early firearms used them widely, to the relative neglect of archery.
In several myths deities and heroes have been described as archers, including Greek Artemis and Apollo, the Roman Diana and Cupid, the Germanic Agilaz, continuing in legends like those of Wilhelm Tell, Palnetoke or Robin Hood. Earlier Greek representations of Heracles normally depicted him as an archer.
From the 1920s, professional engineers took an interest in archery, previously the exclusive field of traditional craft experts. They led the commercial development of new forms of bow including the modern recurve and compound bow, such as the type we use on our events. These modern forms are now dominant in modern Western archery; traditional bows are in a minority.
Directly drawn bows may be further divided based upon differences in the method of limb construction, notable examples being self bows, laminated bows and composite bows. Bows can also be classified by the bow shape of the limbs when unstrung; in contrast to simple straight bows, a recurve bow has tips that curve away from the archer when the bow is unstrung. The cross-section of the limb also varies; the classic longbow is a tall bow with narrow limbs that are D-shaped in cross section, and the flat bow has flat wide limbs that are approximately rectangular in cross-section.
While there is great variety in the construction details of bows, (both historic and modern), all bows consist of a string attached to elastic limbs that store mechanical energy imparted by the user drawing the string. Bows may be broadly split into two categories: those drawn by pulling the string directly and those that use a mechanism to pull the string.
We use re-curve bows for our clients, but also have a traditional longbow and a compound bow for comparison. It’s a real eye-opener for people to try to draw the longbow as it’s draw weight is 100lbs (probably 50lbs short of what they would have used in action!). The idea with our event is that the clients come away having learnt a little about this ancient sport as well as mastering the basic technique.
Some sayings that have come from archery include:
“Having another string to your bow” – meaning having a fall back position, back up plan or another skill.
“Keep it under your hat” – bowstrings were kept under an archers hat to prevent them getting wet and damaged.
“Brace yourselves” – the command given to medieval armies to prepare their bows for action.
“thumbs up sign” – coming from the habit of checking a longbows bracing height with a fistmele. If the string touches your thumb tip, its OK.