Ancient Arrowheads from the Mongol Empire
The Mongols were incredibly skilled horsemen and archers. The composite bow was a Mongol’s most important possession. In hunting it was the primary tool; in war it was the primary weapon. The composite bow was made from layers of horn and sinew on a wooden frame. It was strong, flexible and powerful.
Mongol arrows were made up of three key components: an arrow shaft, a feathered end, known as fletching, and an arrowhead. When combined, these components could be launched by a bow, creating a lethal long-range weapon which possessed the ability to kill over long distances when shot with skill and accuracy.
The Mongols used three types of arrows. Light arrows with small, sharp heads were used when shooting over long distances. Heavy arrows with larger, broader heads were used for close combat. Whistling arrows were used for signalling during hunting and warfare. Every Mongol soldier carried at least sixty arrows. Arrow shafts were made from wood or reeds. The Mongols stored them in cases made for carrying arrows, known as a quivers. Soldiers could attach them to a belt for easy access during battle.
The Mongols also used arrows as a symbolic gesture. When going into an agreement with somebody or when making a promise, the Mongols sometimes left an arrow and a flag in the hands of the opposite party as a sign of their given pledge and promise. A symbolic action expressing the penalty for a false oath was to break an arrow in two.
Iron came into frequent use in Inner Asia during the third century BC and the Mongols used iron to produce arrowheads. These particular iron arrowheads are very rare, as the metal does not preserve well over time.