Monday, January 31, 2011

Military Archery In Medieval Ireland

Introduction: In studying Irish medieval warfare the bow and arrow is of particular interest for many reasons. It is by far the most frequently represented weapon in the archaeological record and unlike other weapons it tends to occur in datable contexts on excavated sites. This is largely accidental, because bows and arrows were of little monetary value and easily broken and lost, but the fortunate result is that a more comprehensive and reliable archaeological study is possible for the bow and arrow than for any other medieval weapon. There is also a greater wealth of useful historical information available than for other weapons of medieval Ireland. Thus it is possible not only to study the bow and arrow as archaeological artefacts but to place them in their natural context, which is the history of warfare. A study of the history of the weapon reveals that it is particularly appropriate, and not entirely accidental, that the bow and arrow is so well represented in the archaeological record of medieval Ireland. There is probably no other period in which the weapon was of comparable military importance.

Read the rest here:

Halpin, Andrew. "Military Medieval Archery in Medieval Ireland: Archaeology and History." Themebuilder, 29 Jan 2011. Web. 30 Jan 2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making a Medieval Arrow Bag

I have reccently decided to make use of my scrap leather pieces and create a medieval arrow bag.  In my own searching I have found very little info on "how to" make an arrow bag so I thought I would take up the task myself! Hopefully you find this useful and interesting!

Here is the leather spacer. It is a piece of vegetable tanned leather I picked out of the scrap basket at Tandy Leather Co. and then cut to this shape. I cut it out with and X-Acto knife.

I used pennies to trace circles for the arrows holes. They leave enough room for the arrow and fletching to pass through cleanly while still holding the arrow solidly.  Several other folks' leather disks were 6 1/2" in diameter and I cut mine at 7" because I plan on hardening by soaking it in hot water and drying it and that will allow it to shrink down a little bit.  There are 24 holes as per leather spacers recovered from the Mary Rose.  Soon I plan on sewing a linen or canvas bag onto this disk to complete the bag! Stay tuned

Two scrap pieces that I used to practice "cuir bollei"

Here is the hardened piece compared to a non-hardened piece.
 To harden the leather, a process also known as cuir bollei, I turned on my kitchen faucet to the hottest water it could put out.  Once it was steaming and uncomfortable to the touch I plugged the sink and allowed it to fill up about an inch and a half with water.  I then put the leather in the water and allowed it to thouroughly soak, about 1.5-2 minutes. then I let dry for twelve hours. The result was brilliant, a hardened piece of leather not to weak and not to brittle.  I highly recommend that you run your own tests first before your actual project.

Here is a quick video of me water hardening or "cuir boillei" (I dont know how to properly pronounce it, so sorry if I said it wrong in the video).  I use the little bubbles coming out of the leather as kind of a gauge to tell when the leather is soaked through well enough.  Then, as I stated in the video I will let it dry for about a day.  Just simply leaving it out in the open sufficiently dries the leather. Be sure to keep it on a flat surface and keep it from curling while drying.

Coming soon: sewing the arrow bag together!