“I too was once an adventurer like you … until I got an arrow in my knee.” How lethal is such a weapon? According to bones unearthed from a Dominican convent in Exeter, experts found that arrows fired from a longbow caused deadly wounds similar to a modern day gunshot.
The wounds sustained by the arrows penetrated completely through the human skull and created small wounds at the entrance and large at the exit. The remains examined by the researchers were most likely soldiers who died in battle. The arrows were designed to turn clockwise on their way to the victim, acting as a drill capable of cutting bone. Gunmakers nowadays create rifled barrels so that the bullets rotate in the same direction, clockwise.
Specifically, the team analyzed 22 bone fragments, 3 teeth, a complete skull, a left femur, a right tibia and a left humerus. All the bones showed traumatic injuries most likely caused by the arrows. When do these remains date from? Approximately from 1482 to 1645 AD The tibia, however, from 1284 to 1395 AD and the skull from 1405 to 1447 AD.
The English longbow it was an instrument of death that resulted decisive in some conflicts. For example, the weapon in question was decisive during the Hundred Years War. Particularly in the battle of Agincourt in 1415 AD, where about 1,500 warriors and 7,000 longbowmen defeated the 14,000-15,000 men of the French army.
“These findings have profound implications for our understanding of medieval longbow power“finally says Professor Oliver Creighton, archaeologist at the University of Exeter who led the research.