History of Archery Timeline

history-archery-timeline20,000 BC – Pictures of bow and arrows are drawn on a cave wall in Valltorta Gorge in Spain.

25,000-18,000 BC – Flint arrowheads are found.

9000 BC – Arrow shafts are found.

8000 – 6000 BC – One-piece yew (elm) bow is found.

7500 BC – A rock fresco of an Egyptian archer is discovered.

3500 BC – Egyptians establish the longbow as the primary weapon of war.

3300 BC – The preserved body of a man who carried a quiver of 14 arrows is found on the Similaun Glacier in the Alps (discovery made in 1991).

1800 BC – The Assyrians introduce the recurve-shaped bow, a short composite bow of leather, horn and wood.

1200 BC – The Hittites use the short recurve bow in mobile warfare by shooting from their light and fast chariots.

1066 – The Normans defeat the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Hastings mainly due to their archery and tactical skills.

13th-14th centuries – Longbow-men become the core of the English army.

1363 – English kings require Englishmen to practice archery on Sunday and holidays, a discipline which was given priority over any other sport.

15th century – The tales of Robin Hood enter popular culture.

16th century – The value of the bow as a war weapon declines after the invention of firearms.

1537 – Under King Henry VIII of England’s directions, Sir Christopher Morris establishes the Guild of St. George, the first archery society.

1545Toxophilus, a book about longbow archery by Roger Ascham is published.

archery-compound-bow1600s – Several archery societies are formed and tournaments establish archery as a competitive sport.

1620s – European settlers bring their knowledge of bowmaking to the North American continent.

1673 – The first Ancient Scorton Silver Arrow Contest is first held in Yokshire in England – and continues to be held today.

1787 – Women are first admitted into an archery society and are allowed to compete in the Ancient Scorton Silver Arrow Contest.

1828 – The first archery club on the North American continent is the United Bowmen of Philadelphia.

1878 – Will and Maurice Thompson learn archery from the Florida Indians. Maurice authors The Witchery of Archery.

1879 – The National Archery Association (NAA) is founded and begun holding national tournaments.

1900 – Archery becomes an official Olympic event at the Paris Olympic Games.

1920 – The second time when archery is an event in the Olympics (held in Belgium).

1931 - Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc (FITA) is founded in Poland.

1937 – Bowsights are first used at an NAA tournament.

1938 – Ben Pearson sets up a company to mass-produce archery equipment.

1939 – The National Field Archery Association is established.

archery-recurve-bow1946 – Doug Easton develops a process for manufacturing aluminum arrow shafts which greatly increased the accuracy of the arrow.

1951 – Plastic vanes are first used to replace feathers on arrows.

1960s – H.W. Alan from Missouri, USA, invents the compund bow.

1961 – Hoyt Archery Company makes bows with attached stabilizers.

1970 – Release aids for compound bows start being used in NAA competitions.

1972 – Archery becomes once again a permanent event at the Olympic Games in Munich.

2011 – FITA changes its name to World Archery Federation (WA).

Sources: Archery: Steps to Success by Kathleen Haywood and Catherine Lewis

  4 comments for “History of Archery Timeline

  1. Tamsin
    23/11/2012 at 12:28 am

    Vikings aren’t included on the timeline!! Where abouts would they be??

  2. Mostafa
    06/11/2013 at 9:07 am

    Thank you, this was a nice refresher as I have to teach about the history of bows and arrows soon.

  3. Veronica-Mae Soar
    07/11/2013 at 1:38 am

    Ref comment at 1787 – As far as I know ladies have never shot at the Scorton, They have their own competition called the Ilkley Arrow.
    Ladies are considered to have first shot competitively with the Royal British Bowmen from 1787 to 1794 and again when they were reformed in 1819, although there is written evidence of ladies using the bow for “field sports” as early as 1605 and images of peasant women hunting with the bow which are even earlier.

    Ref comment on Olympics. There was limited archery in 1900 and again in USA in 1904 The next time was 1908 in London

    There is also a great deal left out (as Tamsin remarks) but this is inevitable or the line would be a very very long one. Also a tendency for the later comments to be weighted toward the USA but this is expected when the source is an American book.

  4. Mike
    16/09/2014 at 5:56 am

    Outstanding timeline of archery history, Thank you!

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