Author Topic: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display  (Read 18753 times)

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Offline Holten101

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Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« 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.











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



back


Belly



Missing? Nocks:



Handle:


Associated arrows and text:



Some Nydam yew goodies:



Quiver:


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

Offline DarkSoul

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #1 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?
"Sonuit contento nervus ab arcu."
Ovid, Metamorphoses VI-286

Offline Holten101

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #2 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

Offline lesken2011

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 06:58:37 am »
Neat stuff, Holten! Thanks for posting!
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Kenny from Mississippi, USA

Offline Hrothgar

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 07:26:19 am »
Great pics Holten, thanks for sharing these! Thats quite a collection of arrows too.
"Look to the very heart of Europe, to Berlin, and you will see a great truth shining brighter with each passing day: The quest for freedom is stronger than steel, more permanent than concrete." 1989, George H.W.Bush

Offline Pat B

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 07:33:20 am »
Very cool bows. Thanks for posting them for us.  8)
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline RDK

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2012, 08:05:50 am »
Thank you for taking the time to share and posting the pictures!!!!
"Everyday north of the grass is a good day!"

"Be wise; we need Mother Earth, Mother Earth does not need us."

Ron,   Bangor, Michigan

Offline half eye

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 08:35:10 am »
Very nice.....absoluteluy no substitute for the real thing, thanks for sharing the photo's
rich

Offline coaster500

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #8 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
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Offline Holten101

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #9 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


Offline JW_Halverson

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #10 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.   
Guns have triggers. Bicycles have wheels. Trees and bows have wooden limbs.

Offline markinengland

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2012, 03:30:26 pm »
How long is the Holmeguard bow and how long is it's handle section?

Offline half eye

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #12 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

Offline tom sawyer

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #13 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.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline Holten101

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Re: Holmegaard, Muldbjerg and Nydam bows on display
« Reply #14 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:-(.


@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

« Last Edit: August 13, 2012, 01:36:02 am by Holten101 »