The world’s oldest bows

Bows of elm the length of a man are known from several settlements of the Ertebølle period. Yew, which is otherwise thought of as good for making bows, had not yet begun to grow in Denmark. Instead the Stone Age hunter used a thin elm trunk. He shaped the bow in such a way that the flexible sapwood was at the back and the harder heartwood was at the front of the bow. Some of Europe’s oldest and best-preserved bows were found at a Stone Age settlement at Holmegårds Mose on Zealand. The remains of five bows, dating to around 7000 BC, were discovered here.

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Bow from Holmegård.