The bows made and used by Native Americans were what is commonly called a “self” or “true” bow. This is a bow made from a single piece of wood that is durable and flexible enough to be bent in the proper shape. The stone tools that the Native Americans were using limited the amount of woodworking that they could accomplish, and a “self bow” allowed for a bow to be created without sophisticated technology. Theses bows had small notches carved by stone into the top and bottom of the shaft upon which to string the bow. The string itself was made from the very animals that the Native Americans were hunting. Animal sinew, a fibrous material inside the animal carcass was removed, stretched and twisted into string. This string was highly pliable and retained an enormous amount of tension, perfect for launching an arrow. The arrows themselves were made of small shafts of wood with feathers on the ends to guide the arrow. The head of the arrows were made of stone, most commonly flint. Flint has the advantage of being made incredibly sharp through a process called “flaking.” A piece of hard horn from an animal was struck against the stone in carefully calculated areas, causing pieces of the stone to flake off, thus making the arrowhead sharp.

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