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Old 18th March 2013, 12:39 AM   #23
Timo Nieminen
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 411

Originally Posted by fearn
The ancient Egyptians had compound bows, although I don't recall offhand how they were made.

A whole bunch of composite bows (i.e., horn bows) were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. AFAIK, that's the single biggest find, but there may be others. Some of Tutankhamum's bows appear to be imports, being wrapped in birch bark, which is not common in Egypt.

I don't have details of Tut's bows, but there are books with the details. But this is Egypt as part of the Near/Middle East, rather than Egypt as part of Africa. We also have North African composite bows in the context North Africa as part of the Arab/Turkish world, rather than North Africa as "African".

I don't know of any African non-Near/Middle Eastern/Arab/Turkish influences composite bows. Rawhide backed or cabled bows are quite plausible, but I don't know of examples.

There are West African crossbows. A couple of examples can be seen in Grayson's "Traditional archery from six continents". Otherwise, African bows are self bows, often circular cross-section, sometimes with rawhide or other wrapping for reinforcement (e.g.f of nocks, but sometimes elsewhere).

['Compound" vs "composite" - in the early days, these were synonyms, but these days "compound" usually means the multi-string-pulley-cam things that only a physicist or an archer seeking efficiency would love. Perhaps 'twould have been better if those things had been called "ugly physics bows" or such. (I think they're "compound", due to "compound pulley".)]
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