The group of archers walked with casual determination up to the mark and began eyeing the target, a 3-D deer target. The first in line drew an arrow made of an ocean spray shoot, nocked it to the string of artificial sinew, and focused intently on the mark. She drew back her hickory longbow, and with a whisper-soft release, planted her arrow just inside the heart-lung zone on the foam target. Hoots and calls of encouragement were echoed down the line.
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The earliest arrows were tipped with points of flint, and before the bow, there were flint spear points. The earliest spears would have had wooden points, but they were sharpened using cutting edges of flaked stone. Stone is the beginning of technology, and making flaked stone tools, or flintknapping, is the oldest of all crafts preserved in the archaeological record, and part of the heritage of everyone’s ancestors.
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We tend to think of life as an Indian or Native American (as we tend to call them these days) as an idyllic one. Living in peace and harmony with nature on perfect bluebird days, as long as the white man wasn’t around. Truth be told, life for an Indian was very difficult at best, fraught with danger and hardship. Rather than the perfect autumn weather we normally see in the paintings of the Indians, if you were from one of the Midwestern or northeastern tribes, the weather could have been very wet or very cold (or both) for many months of the year. If you’ve done any extended primitive camping you know just what a pain nature can be.
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A while back at a rendezvous or some other sort of show we ran into an old fellow who had some boar’s teeth for sale. Jaap immediately spotted them and snapped them up, like a kid grabbing a slice of ice-cold watermelon on a hot summer’s day. As I was watching him execute the snap transaction I found myself wondering just where I was gong to see those boar’s teeth next. Displayed on his chest as some sort of primordial necklace? Stuck in my silverware drawer? Only later when I popped into his workshop one day did I realize what he had in mind.
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Oct/Nov 2015 Edition in this issue:

Making the Comanche Bow
By Billy Berger

Show Me Some Skin
By Neal C. Ritter

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