Archery is one of the oldest arts still practised. This history will not only take you through a journey on the evolution of archery, but also through the history of mankind. Evidence of ancient archery has been found throughout the world.
Although archery probably dates to the Stone Age (around 20,000 BC), the earliest people known to have used bows and arrows were the ancient Egyptians, who adopted archery at least 5,000 years ago for purposes of hunting and warfare.
In China, archery dates back to the Shang dynasty (1766-1027 BC). A war chariot of that time carried a three-man team: driver, lancer and archer. During the ensuing Zhou (Chou) dynasty (1027-256 BC) nobles at court attended sport archery tournaments that were accompanied by music and interspersed with elegant salutations.
The popularity of archery is reflected in the many ballads and folklore, such as for instance Robin Hood, to name the most famous one.
The first known organised competition in archery was held at Finsbury, England in 1583 and included 3,000 participants! By the time of the 30 Years War (1618-1648) it was clear that, due to the introduction of gunpowder, the bow as weapon belonged in the past.
Since then, archery has developed as a recreational and competitive sport.