Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => Bows => Topic started by: Holten101 on August 12, 2012, 04:48:41 am

Title: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 12, 2012, 04:48:41 am
For all of you who dont have the chance to see some of these artefacts, some of which are quite unique, i took the opportunity to take some pictures from the exhibition at the Nationalmuseet in Copenhagen.

First of all i tried to get some angles of the Holmegaard bow that we rarely see. Second I got some shots of the Muldbjerg bow (3700 B.C). I am sorry that this will be a bit piture heavy. I will share a few thoughts along the way tho;-). I did get a few pics of the viking age Nydam yew bows too.

Holmegaard:
My first impression this time (I have seen it a few times…but now I have have alot more Elm bow under my belt) was puzzelment over the small size of the bow….its tiny (im quite tall mind you 191 cm). The handle is very short too, but the dimensions are clealy that of a hunting weight bow. The archer must have had a relative short draw and small hands….IF he shot and hold bows like we do today (Ishi didnt). I am not saying its a kids bow…but I think its appropiate to considder the possibility that kids came of age much earlier that now. I dont think its unreasonable to imagin that a 10-13 yr old was expected to provide by hunting (but thats all speculation;-)).
The is still absoulutly NO indication of shoulders on the upper limb (refering to the up and down of the sapling that was used, not how it was held). I am still convinced it had slightly working outer limbs and pyramid tiller.

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0033.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0032.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0031.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0029.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0028.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0027.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0026.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0024.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0023.jpg)

Muldbjerg bow:
My first impression was Yumi;-)….but the bend is more likely a result of thaphomy. Ill be hard pressed to call this a flat bow. Its Elm, with a d- cross section (flat belly and high, rounded crown). Now this bows rings have been grossly violated on the back (belly too…but that is to be expected). It appears to be slightly to moderatly asymetrical (nocks are missing so I cant be sure). I am convinced that it had a slight bending handle tiller. To be honest this bow fasinates me more that the Holmegaard bow.

Frontview
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0038.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0039.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0044.jpg)
back
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0048.jpg)

Belly
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0040.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0042mod.jpg)

Missing? Nocks:
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0049.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0050.jpg)

Handle:
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0045.jpg)

Associated arrows and text:
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0041.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0037.jpg)

Some Nydam yew goodies:
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0058.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0053.jpg)
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0055.jpg)
Quiver:
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/IMG_0054.jpg)

Im sorry about the quality, but thats the result of Iphone vs. display glass and poor skill;-).

Ill try and answer questions the best I can…I do have a few more pics too.

thanks for watching

Cheers
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: DarkSoul on August 12, 2012, 05:19:15 am
Wow, that's very cool! We don't see too many pictures of old actual artefacts. It's always the same picture that keep popping up of the Holmgard bow.

That Muldbjerg bow is in extremely nice condition. I'm amazed you actually see the rings so well. As if the bow is only a hundred years old. Why would this bow not be made 'backwards'? The extremely violated back is weird...how did you decide what is the belly and what is the back?
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 12, 2012, 05:33:33 am
Wow, that's very cool! We don't see too many pictures of old actual artefacts. It's always the same picture that keep popping up of the Holmgard bow.

That Muldbjerg bow is in extremely nice condition. I'm amazed you actually see the rings so well. As if the bow is only a hundred years old. Why would this bow not be made 'backwards'? The extremely violated back is weird...how did you decide what is the belly and what is the back?

First of all....I cant with 100% say its not made "backwards"...what I can say is that rings are violated on both sides, so withever way you flip it they are violated! The pic of the belly is unclear ill give you that...lighting teased me on that one, if you take a close look you can see the violations however...they were much clearer in real life.

Wych Elm is also exstremly strong in tension...less so in compression, so it would make sense to make the belly flat and back crowned...rounded belly dont go well on narrow designs with elm. Ring orientation also comply with the rounded crown...the bark was on that side of the bow.

And the biased point...I dont much belive in "backwards" bows. I have yet to se a backwards, unbacked, historical bow.

Cheers
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: lesken2011 on August 12, 2012, 06:58:37 am
Neat stuff, Holten! Thanks for posting!
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Hrothgar on August 12, 2012, 07:26:19 am
Great pics Holten, thanks for sharing these! Thats quite a collection of arrows too.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Pat B on August 12, 2012, 07:33:20 am
Very cool bows. Thanks for posting them for us.  8)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: RDK on August 12, 2012, 08:05:50 am
Thank you for taking the time to share and posting the pictures!!!!
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: half eye on August 12, 2012, 08:35:10 am
Very nice.....absoluteluy no substitute for the real thing, thanks for sharing the photo's
rich
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: coaster500 on August 12, 2012, 08:46:07 am
Very interesting pictures...  Thank you

The Holmegaard seems very thick in the pictures??? You mention a youth bow but that would be an extremely strong youth!!! What weight is it estimated to be?

again Thank You for sharing
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 12, 2012, 09:15:00 am
Very interesting pictures...  Thank you

The Holmegaard seems very thick in the pictures??? You mention a youth bow but that would be an extremely strong youth!!! What weight is it estimated to be?

again Thank You for sharing

The estimates I have seen puts its at 57# @27". It does appear thick in real life too...a little less than on the picture tho (think the angle is to blame). 57# would seem like alot to todays youth....It might have been trivial back then, who knows?. But...I am not saying its a kid/youth bow. Im just saying that to me, it seemed small, short and with a small and short grip. I dont have large hands, but I dont think there would have been room for the arrow if I grip that bow.

Cheers

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: JW_Halverson on August 12, 2012, 01:11:18 pm
Of course the camera adds ten pounds....just saying.  >:D

Holten, I deeply appreciate you posting these wonderful photos.  I have bookmarked the page and undoubtedly will refer back to your photos for some time to come.  Thank you very much for opening this door to so many of us that will never have the chance to see these bows in person.   
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: markinengland on August 12, 2012, 03:30:26 pm
How long is the Holmeguard bow and how long is it's handle section?
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: half eye on August 12, 2012, 03:43:57 pm
Holten, I've a question about the arrows. Are the fletch missing or did they not have any. It looks like the shaftment is coated in pitch/pine-tar.
rich
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: tom sawyer on August 12, 2012, 07:25:16 pm
Thanks for the great pics.

On the Muldbjerg bow, I suppose like the Holmegaard it is made from a small elm tree?  Can you tell why they would have needed to work the back?  Do you think they were decrowning?  Given the cross section, I don't see why they would need to do anything other than remove bark on the back.  Its hard to tell what direction the grain is running in the photo because I don't know if its a straight-on view.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 13, 2012, 01:15:57 am
@Markinengland
There are two bows (one of which is complete...the pictured one). The complete bow is 154 cm (roughly 61-62") and the straight portion of the handle is about 10 cm (4"). The "tree" or sapling had an estimated diameter of 4,5-5 cm (2")....the widest point of the limbs corresponds roughly with the diameter of the sapling. The other bow is wider and longer, est. at 160-170 cm (64-68"). I have never seen that fragment in real life....dont belive many have:-(.
(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af73/Holten101/Holmegrdkopi-1.jpg)

@half eye
The arrows at the Nydam display are very interesting (Nydam is 350 B.C). The fletching is set in tar and the inprint from fletching and binding thread is clearly visible. Arrows are on the short side too (by now you all think im crazy and size fixated....it gets worse;-). The fletching strikes me as short (here we go again) about 7-8 cm ( roughly 3-3,5" give or take) and ends close to the nocks (nocks are bulberous). Shafts are dowled ash.

@tom sawyer
Personally I am 100% convinced that the Muldbjerg bow is intentionally decrowned. To me it just looks like a careless job....but Wych Elm can take alot of abuse, so it wouldnt surprise me if this bow saw good service;-).
From what I could see the decrowned back has a smaller circle radius than the thee would have had....interestingly close to that of the complete Holmegaard specimen. I have made ALOT of Wych Elm bows, and my most effective ones are with trapped backs or sapling bows with a flat belly and a cross section profile corrosponding to a circle with a radius of 4-6 cm.

One very important note: The Muldbjerg bow was found as fragments, some of witch had been reused in a fish trap. So...the bow broke or was discarded at some point. And it could have been reworked to better suit its new role.....I saw NO indications that it was reworked, but I cant rule it out.

Btw...thanks all for the kind words. I did travel to see the Møllegabet specimen this summer...but the museum was closed due to restoration. Ill promise to make a post when I get to see that specimen...hopefully with better pictures too:-)

Cheers

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Jodocus on August 13, 2012, 02:47:07 am
Thank you lots for posting this. (by the way, how do you insert pics into the text, not as attachement?) It is good to see these new angles.

I personally think the mollegabet bow IS a bow for someone small, might be adult or youth, male or female, but I don't see any other way to shoot than with the entire hand plus the arrow on that handle. I think the reason for the bows thickness is that it wasn't drawn as far as we do nowadays. long draw is much more typical for military bow use in historical contents. Many, in fact most, bow hunting pre-industrial cultures use shorter draws. There may be a mark on the arrow or just training used for a much shorter, yet constant draw. To get a decent weight, then, the bow will be thicker, looking overly hard to our eyes.

As far as the back of the Muldbjerg bow is concerned, I also think it is reduced to a certain shape. I wouldn't say carelessly, but pragmatically. Mind you, working with the tools of their time was very different, no such thing as a drawknife for that one bowyer. Much less cutting, much more splitting and slow grinding. And the way it is displayed next to a paddle makes it also more obvious: that bow was a tool, good enough was good enough. The fact that parts of the bow were later used in a fish trap makes it very clear that function was on the maker's mind. In fact, the holmegaard specimen looks made a bit more carefully.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 13, 2012, 03:00:27 am
@Jodocus
I completly agree on you points....and careless was a bad expression;-).


One thing though...the bow besides the paddle is the Holmegaard bow and the single bow in the cabinet the Muldbjerg bow...none of them are the Møllegabet bow, that specimen is in another museum to my information.

Cheers
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: arklowrebel on August 13, 2012, 04:16:30 am
Holten - thank you so much for posting these pics.  I too have bookmarked the page and will be coming back to it when I try to tackle making a Holmegaard later this year.   :)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Jodocus on August 13, 2012, 04:30:16 am
yeah, sorry, I got it all mingled up.  ??? the holmegaard one is the one that I cosidered small, and the muldbjerg the one that might be decrowned.
When I saw the paddle I just thought that those people had lots of pieces of wood to work on, so they moved to the next one as soon as one was reaonably working. Except for prestige pieces, of course.

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Scowler on August 13, 2012, 06:20:03 am
Thanks for posting the photos and information, Holten 101.  Great stuff!  I noticed the bulberous nocks on the arrows.  Reminds me of some Native American arrows I've seen.  Perhaps a pinch release was used with these arrows?  The fletching lengh was a bit of a suprise to me.  I've done some experimenting with short, tallish fletchings and, although they "flew" well, they were a bit slower and noisier than longer, lower fletchings (similar to using Flu-Flu arrows).  Definitly gives me some things to think about.  Thanks again for the postings. :)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Whitebeam on August 13, 2012, 12:15:35 pm
... no such thing as a drawknife for that one bowyer.
There is a Ray Mears television programme where he is working with Chris Boyton to make a replica of the Ashcott Heath bow. During the process Chris discovers that a large flint blade works very nicely as a draw knife. I have a link to it on YouTube, but will post this link in a separate post in case it gets deleted for copyright reasons ... if it does, search YT for "Making A Bow And Arrow And Fire With Stone Age Tools"

Peter
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Whitebeam on August 13, 2012, 12:16:36 pm
YouTube link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik7GbPEqljg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik7GbPEqljg)

Peter
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Alaric on August 13, 2012, 12:46:36 pm
Thanks for all the pictures of the Holmegaard bow, I’ve been gathering info on it lately and these are very helpful.

On a side note:
I know it is now widely believed that these bows were conventional strung and not strung backwards, a belief I also hold and I have wondered how the idea they were strung backwards ever got started. In my research I found a post on a forum, not sure which one, that appeared to blame the mistake on Paul Comstock misinterpreting archeological drawings but I now have both “THE BOW; Some notes on Origin and Development” by Gad Rausing and “Neolithic bows from Somerset, England, and the prehistory of archery in North-west Europe” by J.G.D. Clark  the two primary references that Paul sites in “Ancient European Bows” and I find that Mr. Rausing clearly states that the bow was stung backwards so the idea did not start with Paul he was just referencing Mr. Rausing whom I suspect was referencing other who came before him. I still don’t know why anyone ever thought it was strung backwards but wanted to throw out this defense of Paul’s reputation. ;)
If anyone knows of any other research material on the Holmegaard bows I’d love to know about it.

Richard
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: druid on August 13, 2012, 02:48:01 pm
Thanks for posting, great collection.....
Are there some better quality photos of some Mary Rose stuff or it is still forbidden?
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 13, 2012, 02:55:35 pm
Thanks for posting, great collection.....
Are there some better quality photos of some Mary Rose stuff or it is still forbidden?

These are all danish bows...the Nationalmuseet in Denmark dont have anything Mary Rose....or any middelage bows to my knowledge.

The Nydam finds are just as amazing imo....a whole ship filled with spoils of war purposly sunk as an offering (or thats the story at least....weapons including bows, arrows, swords and what not practically littering the area were it was found. I am still biased towards stoneage tools, but Nydam is great stuff none the less:-).

Cheers

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Adam on August 13, 2012, 08:01:40 pm
Very cool, thanks for posting.  It sure would be fun to go to that museum and just stare for awhile...
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Comalforge on August 13, 2012, 10:39:51 pm
Many ancient skeletons are quite short in stature by today's standards.  Depending on locale, many full grown men were 5'0" or less with women even smaller.  Otzi the Iceman was around 5'5" and considered tall - perhaps because he also appeared to be well nourished during his lifetime.  Short, handy bows may have been the standard at the time.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Carson (CMB) on August 13, 2012, 11:37:49 pm
Holmegaard:

I am wondering if certain bows had certain uses.  Was the same bow used for hunting deer as for shooting large fish?  If a hunter had several bows, like most of us modern hunters, he probably had one better suited for different hunting conditions and or target prey. Given the associated artifacts on display, paddle and fish point, maybe this bow was a fishing bow.  I know I prefer a shorter bow when bowfishing. Possibly that explains, in part, the shorter length.  Just a thought. 

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: Holten101 on August 14, 2012, 12:56:39 am
Average height at "the time" was 166 cm for males and 154 cm for women. Now im NOT saying its a womens bow...but it is kinda funny that of the two Holmegaard bows one was 154 cm and the other 160-170 cm;-). Mind you that that average height is from the Ertebøl period several thousand years younger than the Maglemose period in wich the Holmegaard artefacts belong.

In that light there is nothing unusual about the bows length....I just felt the need to express the thought that poped up when I saw it this time around. The displayed bow IS the shorter of the two bows found however, by a good margin.

Cheers

Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: TimPotter on October 24, 2013, 04:48:52 am
Thank you very much for those pictures. :)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: smoke on October 24, 2013, 06:34:41 am
Great pictures!  Thanks for posting them.  Whitebeam, thanks for the video too - found that very interesting!
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: mullet on October 24, 2013, 07:23:23 am
Thank you for posting these pictures. I always thought there was a little bit of design change in the modern replicated Holmgard bows. My friend, Claude was over there about 5 years ago to ship back some Danish Flint and took pictures of these same bows, but not as detailed as you did. He ended up being asked to do a Demostration knapping Danish Daggers and axes and I have the triangle stone point replica he made that was found stuck in a skull that is on display. Cool stuff, Thanks again.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: JackCrafty on October 24, 2013, 08:59:43 am
Wow!  Thanks for the pictures.  Those are fantastic!

If I may, could I ask for you to verify or obtain some dimensions?  I am very interested in the thicknesses at points B, C, and D.  It appears that the outer limb may be an "unbending" style or at least intentionally made stiffer.  The thicknesses may be affected by decay and missing wood but I just want to be sure.  I'm making reproductions of as many types of ancient European bows and I want to get them right.  And the fact that I have OCD when it comes to bows doesn't help either....  :o

(http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg112/jackcrafty/Holmegaard09copy_zpsd567e412.jpg) (http://s246.photobucket.com/user/jackcrafty/media/Holmegaard09copy_zpsd567e412.jpg.html)

(http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg112/jackcrafty/ScreenShot2013-10-24at90648AM_zps6fb9f580.png) (http://s246.photobucket.com/user/jackcrafty/media/ScreenShot2013-10-24at90648AM_zps6fb9f580.png.html)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: IdahoMatt on October 24, 2013, 10:30:38 am
Thanks for posting these.  Such a great reference.  This is one of those bows that got me into make bows.  I still want to make a replica :)
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: dwardo on October 24, 2013, 01:33:04 pm
Great to see pictures of these thanks.

Always maddens me that we dont have access to high resolution pictures of all important bow finds. MaryRose to Homlegaard and more? Would hope it is not due to some kind of "copyright" All of these are our heritage.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: toomanyknots on October 24, 2013, 06:48:54 pm
Wow, thank you for the pictures. It's always so amazing how well preserved these bows are. The holmegard always reminds me of so many hackberry flatbows I have made, it is just crazy.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: horsetime on October 24, 2013, 07:59:20 pm
There's an interesting discussion about these bows located here. 

http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/reply/204658/Holmgards-Are-They-All-the-Same#reply-204658

Some disagreement over the Møllegabet bow, it's either a children's bow or possibly not even a bow at all. 
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: meanewood on November 22, 2013, 03:49:34 pm
Great topic
Well discussed and lots of new info.
Title: Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
Post by: PatM on November 22, 2013, 04:17:35 pm
A recently discovered Mollegebet style bow removes any doubt as to the identification as a bow.