Traditional natural material bows made from Hickory and Dogwood trees
Almost every culture in the world has a special bow design in their history. They are made in local materials and designed to fit the environment they are made in. The making of an authentic replica requires using the correct natural materials, and also going through the correct traditional process. Bow staves of all natural wood are seasoned for at least a year before starting the process. Our bows are tillered to be functionally shooting bows as well as accurate replicas of museum objects.
This Chippewa quiver was made in the same canoe birch bark as the original. The shoulder strap is authentic braintan buckskin and acts differently than the modern chromed tan leathers. Together, these materials bring Archery back to its roots.
Natural bowmaking has had a wonderful resurgence in the last decade. At Occpaleo, we are focusing on bringing ancient Archery back to the present. We believe that most archers want to get a feel for the past, and that is why they are practicing Archery in the first place. After close examination of original ethnographic and archaeological bow artifacts, it is possible to bring back some of that experience if the same materials and techniques are used.
Seasoned staves of Black Locust, Dogwood, Hickory ,and a strung finished Bow
In a natural bow stave, the growth rings flow around knots like water around a rock in the stream. A major difference from a board.
Michael explaining bow design at the Smithsonian Staff Lecture Series. 4 bow types were explained here after Occpaleo tested replicas from the Smithsonian collections. The Eastern Woodlands longbow, the Plains horse bow, the African "D" shaped longbow, and the Eskimo sinew cable backed bow shown here.
A Great Example....
The name of Holmegaard has been given by archaeologists to describe a group of the oldest known bows in the world. This ancient style comes from examples found in Denmark and Germany, and they were made of Yew and Elm. Dating to around 9,000 years ago, it already shows itself to be an advanced design, and modern wood bowmakers have found it to be the fastest straight stave design tested. This replica celebrates modern archery coming full circle as this ancient design is brought back to life in Yew. This example follows the work of Dr. Errett Callahan, whose precise measurement replicas performed as well as any modern fiberglass bow. This bow follows those same measurements and pulls between 40 and 45# at 27 inches of draw. It is 62 inches long, and tapered in the same top view profile of the original. The bow showed to be a very fast shooter in testing(consistantly over 150 fps). The correct tiller profile of this bow bends much more near the handle, and allows for the tip angle to be the same as a bow that is several inches longer.
Correct bend near the handle tiller for the Holmegaard replica
Testing Eastern Woodlands Archery equipment where it should be tested
Traditional arrows are made here with seasoned natural shafts of Viburnum Arrowwood, Wild Currant, Wild Rose, and bamboo. Our preferred fletching is wild turkey and goose feathers. They are lashed with hide glue and real sinew, and the stone points are hafted with the tradtional mastic of pine pitch and charcoal. Although our arrows are as functional as our bows, stone points usually break upon impact and are usually used for archaeology display or demonstration.
These arrows were made for New York University's Anthropology program to show how different style arrowheads were hafted in museum collections
An Eastern Woodlands style bow in Serviceberry wood. Pulling #51 lbs at 27 inches of draw, it was chronoqraphed at 164 feet per second, due to its very light tips. It was fit with a leather handle and shelf for modern target shooting.
ROVING HANDBOOK $9
By Dr. Errett Callahan, this book brings back the true spirit of traditional archery. For thousands of years, roving games have been used for training for hunting and warfare. Shown here in a non-competitive fun light, skills such as distance shooting, speed shooting, and shooting over obstacles such as lakes and trees are described. Golf type games with wands, balloons, tubes, and stumps offer a wonderful departure from standard target archery. 128 pages. For more info, and/or to order with a credit card, see (ITEMS FOR SALE) page.
This new DVD is the first we have seen that exclusively covers the primitive bow and arrow, in a full length experience of hunting situations. Filmmaker and archer Billy Berger expertly covers the crafting of the ancient equipment and wonderfully explains the "real" experience of a forgotten time. (91 minutes) SEE ITEM to learn more and/or order by credit card.