Holmgaard and osage bows

The term 'primitive' in modern archery is misleading, as it can refer to designs such as cable bows, which are sophisticated examples of man's ingenuity when making bows from limited available materials.

Since the introduction of a 'primitive' class in the UK by the Society for the Promotion of Traditional Archery in 1997, ther has been an increasing interest in this type of bow.

To be classed as a 'primitive' (in the UK) a bow should be made from natural materials, shooting wooden shafted arrows with feather fletchings, and which has no rest for the arrow -ie shot off the hand and requiring the arrow to travel around the bow. It covers backed bows as well as 'self' bows. Laminated bows are not in the spirit of the classification.

While the English Longbow by this definition is a 'primitive', it has been long established as an independant shooting class in the UK.

Examples of 'Primitive' bows include the 'Meare Heath', 'Holmegaard', Mollegabet, and cable backed bows as well as native american tyoes.

The Meare Heath is the most famous of the bow finds from the Somerset Levels

Left: Osage self flatbow, Right:'Mollegabet' style elm bow

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