Hilary has specialised in the study and making of these bows. The original neolithic aretfacts found in the peat of the Somerset Levels are dated around 2600BC: left is the Meare Heath bow pictured in its natural environment where wildfowl would have been hunted, below is the smaller Ashcott bow.
Both bows were found within 1km of each other. Both had broken at the handle and were made of yew - a material which pollen counts show was rare in the area where they were found.
While the Meare Heath has a wide, flat limb, decorated with slashed strips of oxhide, and diagonal bindings, the plainer Ashcott find has more of an English longbow style 'D' limb section.
Many flint heads and some hazel arrowshaftswere also found in the area.
BELOW: the Ashcott yew bow
BOTTOM PICTURE: The later 'Burtle/Edington' bow is in complete contrast being a complete bow, it is of comparatively poor yew, and is dated to around 1320 BC (Bronze Age). It has a concave belly, one button nock and a 'rat-tail' nock at one end. Sadly the bow was not preserved initially and has shrunk and twisted. (Taunton Museum)
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