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Silly, stange and stupid questions from the public

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:28 pm
by glyndwr 50
Here is a website that might be of some use to anyone wanting to know what arrow heads were for what purpose. www.hectorcoleironwork.com .once there click on Articles and there is a long page of all types of arrowheads and there uses.Most informative ,it explaines what the cresent arrowhead was used for ...

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:38 pm
by Tallphil84
Normaly I don't get "stupid" questions just disbeleif that I am willing to wear 12Kg of maile plus other kit for more than 2 minuets. Or that I'm not doing this for money but becuase it is fun. Though it is great watching peoples faces when they realise that the fur and leather being used is real and how un PC we can be without being rude or offensive. Thats right some people seem to think living/talking in an un PC manner has to be rude or ofensive.

the mind boggles.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:11 pm
by mike
thanks for that glyndwr 50. the tearing injury idea works for me, opinion duly altered, cheers.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:57 pm
by Malvoisin
mike wrote:There have been hundreds founds in old quays and some have speculated about ships rigging.
Punching holes in sails?
Shoot one at a tight sheet and see what size hole it leaves.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:05 pm
by Malvoisin
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:The "Aren't MOP silly and aren't we clever" posts grate on me for two reasons. The first is that in most cases MOP have paid to come and see/talk to us, that suggests they have an interest and a desire to learn,
I went to shows years before picking up the hobby and at the time I'd hate to think some reenactor would later post a list of my "silly" questions on some forum and have a jolly good laugh at my expense.
Now I know better I still go to shows as a MOP and deliberately ask silly questions and sometimes get an equally silly answer.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:45 pm
by glyndwr 50
I went to shows years before picking up the hobby and at the time I'd hate to think some reenactor would later post a list of my "silly" questions on some forum and have a jolly good laugh at my expense.
Now I know better I still go to shows as a MOP and deliberately ask silly questions and sometimes get an equally silly answer.[/quote]

I don't think for one minute that anyone is having a jolly good laugh at your expence .We all at some time have made what seems to a person who knows there stuff a daft question.But at the time that question was asked ,the person asking the question did not know it was silly or daft . But as a person gains more knowledge such questions are not asked as the person has gained the knowledge to know what is right and what is not .As for going and asking silly questions to get a silly answer ,I can't answer that question as I don't know the answer.

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:56 pm
by mike
one of my favourite Q&A's goes something along the lines of:
Q How much is this mate?
A (pause while he checks the label on the box the item came from) £3.50.
Q ok, will you take £2 for it
A why certainly sir, would you like the bread from my kids mouths too?

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:15 pm
by John Waller
mike wrote:There have been hundreds founds in old quays .
I would be interested to know where these were found. The most recent study of arrow typology by Oliver Jessop shows only crescent arrows excavated at inland locations for example:-

Basing House, Clarendon Palace, Glenluce, Baile Hill, Salisbury, Blenheim Palace, Lleslbury, Carrisbrooke Castle. OK, last one is near the sea.

He makes no mention of 'hundreds' being found.

Personally I'm inclined towards the view that they were hunting arrows, possibly, as has been suggested, for birds, though I haven't heard of any modern bow-hunters using anything similar. Any way something that can kill a game animal can kill or maim a man or horse so any arrow could be used for war.

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:58 pm
by mike
:lol: can you seriously imagine an archer, standing on the battlefield choosing a particular arrow like a golfer selecting the ideal club?

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:18 pm
by John Waller
mike wrote::lol: can you seriously imagine an archer, standing on the battlefield choosing a particular arrow like a golfer selecting the ideal club?
No. Though some have suggested this, even to the extent of suggesting that long and short range arrows were used. Personally I don't buy the idea. Your point is?

Where were these hundreds of crescent arrowheads found? I'd really like to know. There are only a couple of hundred of medieval arrowheads recorded on the portable antiquities database.

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:25 pm
by paul bennett
John Waller wrote: recorded on the portable antiquities database.

well there's your problem. Good scheme, good people, poor admin.

Sites and monuments records are the places to go in the first instance, then the national monuments record, then the PAS. Online records are always out of date and incomplete.
For example, a record of the findspot of a single arrowhead may be recorded 3 times in each dataset, but the dig a year later, which found 300 of the buggers might not appear in a regular search at all

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:33 pm
by John Waller
paul bennett wrote:
John Waller wrote: recorded on the portable antiquities database.

well there's your problem. Good scheme, good people, poor admin.

Sites and monuments records are the places to go in the first instance, then the national monuments record, then the PAS. Online records are always out of date and incomplete.
For example, a record of the findspot of a single arrowhead may be recorded 3 times in each dataset, but the dig a year later, which found 300 of the buggers might not appear in a regular search at all
Quite. Which is why I'm inviting Mike to share what he knows with us.

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:34 pm
by mike
it's not often I fail to supply source data but this is one of them. from memory a particular quay or harbour was mentioned and I'm sure it's around Lyme Regis. Perhaps a fishing port, plenty of gulls and other fish eating birds

Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:16 pm
by IDEEDEE
or someone dropped a bag of 'em overboard?

I can't enter the crescent arrow dispute m'self, but I think that some of the exchanges above demonstrate that often we ourselves either don't or can't know the answers to many questions, or are basing our answers (or opinions) on supplied "facts" (perhaps from our own groups) that themselves may be questionable, based on outdated data, or may even be downright myths & misunderstandings.

Even at my low level on the WoR learning curve I have cringed at some of the p.a. commentaries (including, in retrospect, my own), activities and overheard explanations given by some reenactors.

I lean towards Marcus 's point above. Although I've had my share of seemingly dumb questions of the "did they have wood/where did they get wood from" school (and have had a mother tell her child, as I stripped to my braies, that "they didn't have underwear back then") some of the things that are shown or done at events and accepted by us are actually no more "real" than a stage play. However, the rehashing of "ought-to-know-better myths & nonsense by some in our "community" (including the concept that there was no contemporary equivilant to "PC attitudes" in earlier societies) is actually quite disappointing (not to say worrying).

I see any question as an invitation to explain -within the given limits of my own knowledge - and personally I'd rather have feedback, that I can work with, than a sea of dumb, uninvolved faces.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:21 pm
by Langley
Crescent arrowheads... I got fed up of all the debate and had the chance to spend a few hours in the Prado museum in Madrid. I went round looking for period paintings which showed archery. There are dozens of paintings showing arrows in use. The only ones showing crescent arrowheads involved hunting ducks/geese etc.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:56 pm
by Hobbitstomper
Excellent.

Now we just need someone outside the UK (not legal here) to have a go with them and give us the results.

PS- if you get the chance, have a look at the armoury in the Madrid royal palace. The armour makes anything on the re-enactment scene look bland. Free on a Wednesday with a EU passport.

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:20 pm
by Malvoisin
Langley wrote: The only ones showing crescent arrowheads involved hunting ducks/geese etc.
And the reason for this is???

Posted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:46 pm
by 'BOB'
I Spent a good 20 minutes on Sunday, explaining to small child that they didn't have snipers in c17th century. Then as dad continuously asked 'is that one metal?' to the heads on the pole arms, the elder sister was trying to tell small child 'shut up and listen'.
Small child them spots a sharpened stake on the ground. 'What's that for?' (i have no idea what it was doing there, actually). And i'm sorry to say, busting for a wee, i reply 'to ward off vampires'. Small child wanders off saying 'cool'. Sister telling him that it wasn't true, he was just boring me and stop asking stupid questions.
In my other group, if i have to explain that Tommies weren't named after Tommy guns, or hear another person say they've seen our machine guns on Call of Duty, i may scream.

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:47 pm
by m300572
In my other group, if i have to explain that Tommies weren't named after Tommy guns, or hear another person say they've seen our machine guns on Call of Duty, i may scream.
Sadly the "standard" stupid questions remain standard for as long as you do the job - I worked for some time on an Iron Age farm research project and we were asked at least once a day in high season why we weren't wearing skins and going "ugg" at one another (we were researching farming, not re-enacting so we wore standard 20th C diggers kit which trends towards scruffy army surplus or shorts and boots in goodweather).

One mop took umbrage and gave me an earful for being misrerable and not seeing it as a joke when I explained the whys and wherefores in answer to he query - started moaning about her miserable husband who was always misearbel and also Scottish - at which my mate popped his head over the ridge of the roof we were thatching, enquired brightly "And was he miserable before he married you madame?" and disappeared to leave mop lady about to explode!! :lol:

Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:20 pm
by Type16
John Waller wrote: Personally I'm inclined towards the view that they were hunting arrows, possibly, as has been suggested, for birds, though I haven't heard of any modern bow-hunters using anything similar. Any way something that can kill a game animal can kill or maim a man or horse so any arrow could be used for war.
They do seem most appropriate for a 'soft' target such as birds. Tried shooting one once &, of course, only 1 point hits target Result = head sheers off!

Of interest might be that certain cultures are still using them - for bird hunting.
Recent TV programmes showing this when film crew accompanied a tribe on a hunt in New Guinea. Plus, recent TV programme of Ray Mears hunting with tribe in Venezuela jungle. Again for birds.

On both occasions the heads appeared to be made of bone & were clearly crescent shape - albeit narrower than we re-enactors tend to own.

Oh, and another programme showed them being used (steel heads) by modern Mongolian horsemen.

I cannot believe that anybody had shown the various tribes & medieval Europeans how to make these & for what use. Clearly parallel development.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:08 pm
by Langley
Pure speculation from me on the why of this. If shooting in a marshy area as many of the paintings showed I can imagine a crescent head would get stopped quite effectively by reeds etc to stop you loosing a shaft if you miss. Similar to why blunts were used to shoot up into trees. You want the things to come back down again and perhaps, not leave a tell tail recognisable arrow stuck in a branch if they were not your birds to hunt? Also think of the enrgies involed. I remember a calculation put forward at one of the Wallace collection arms and armour conferences. Kinetic Energy = mass times velocity. Take a standard mediaeval arrow leaving a big bow and do the sums you get an energy of 4.5 Kilojoules. This is aout the same as dirty Harry's 44 Magnum most powerful handgun etc. How much of a goose would be left if you hit it with one of those? My own take is that a crescent shaped head would break wing bones very nicely so while the goose was then forced to walk south for the winter it was much easier to grab and eat him...

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:24 pm
by EnglishArcher
Langley wrote:Pure speculation from me on the why of this. If shooting in a marshy area as many of the paintings showed I can imagine a crescent head would get stopped quite effectively by reeds etc to stop you loosing a shaft if you miss. Similar to why blunts were used to shoot up into trees. You want the things to come back down again and perhaps, not leave a tell tail recognisable arrow stuck in a branch if they were not your birds to hunt? Also think of the enrgies involed. I remember a calculation put forward at one of the Wallace collection arms and armour conferences. Kinetic Energy = mass times velocity. Take a standard mediaeval arrow leaving a big bow and do the sums you get an energy of 4.5 Kilojoules. This is aout the same as dirty Harry's 44 Magnum most powerful handgun etc. How much of a goose would be left if you hit it with one of those? My own take is that a crescent shaped head would break wing bones very nicely so while the goose was then forced to walk south for the winter it was much easier to grab and eat him...
Not quite correct.

Kinetic energy is calculated as half the mass times the velocity-squared. So for a typical medieval arrow, with a fowling (crescent) head.

KE = 1/2 arrow mass x velocity^2

KE = 1/2 65g x (160 ft/s)^2 - both typical for a medieval bow

KE = 1/2 0.065kg x (48.77m/s)^2 - in SI units

KE = 77J

Not quite the 4.3KJ you were stating; but still more than enough to stun or kill the average bird.

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:01 pm
by Malvoisin
Langley wrote: How much of a goose would be left if you hit it with one of those? My own take is that a crescent shaped head would break wing bones very nicely so while the goose was then forced to walk south for the winter it was much easier to grab and eat him...
...Or send the dogs in.

Indeed. Maths aside, a broad head could go clean through a wildfowl and you've lost your expensive arrow wich may cost the same as your quarry. One of those cresent heads are unlikly too.

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:55 am
by Langley
True - I oversimplified the maths. (I tend to do that since my head exploded learning quantum chemistry...) It was a long time ago but I seem to recall the lecturer using figures of 180fps for a big bow and a weight of about 7Oz for an arrow and pretty sure I recall him claiming 4.5 KJ although I did not get out the old scientific calculator and check! He definitely used the .44 Magnum comparison though. He went on to show the results of the early arrow vs plate experiments and explained the degeneration of armour from the heyday of Milanese and German armourers to big lumps of thick metal as due to gun development requiring simple thickness. Like you say though - a lot of energy hitting poor birdy is not going to leave much to eat.

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:36 pm
by m300572
I Spent a good 20 minutes on Sunday, explaining to small child that they didn't have snipers in c17th century
Apart from the Earl of Derby's gamekeepers who, armed with "scrued guns" picked of Parliamentarian officers and gunners in the siege lines around Lathom House - seems like a fairly sniper-ish activity but I suspect that this may be the only recorded case - if Merlon is about he can probably provide many more!

Posted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:24 pm
by Soren
The worst thing I heard wasn't from the public, but from one of the re-enactors.

I used to be in a 30 Years War group, mostly Scottish, but since I'm Dane I protrayed one within the group. One of the guys in the group, Clann Tartan, was telling a host of kids (on a school day) that the Scots used to dig a deep slender hole, fill it with gun powder, stick their claymores, handle 1st, into the holes and then light off to powder and shoot the claymores into the enemy. I quit the group right after that.

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:00 am
by Alan_F
Soren, was this the kind of chap who would wear an animal tail on his helmet and tell the public that it was to frighten the enemy?

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:09 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
That has to be a p*ss take though, something said to mock the public (and thus one of the aren't the public stupid and aren't we all clever kind of comments that annoy me.)

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:39 pm
by Soren
I've said some crap to some public folks too, just to see how daft they really were, but this guy was serious and even though I quit the group a friend of one who was in it told me the guy got kicked out later due to BS like that.

It's rather humorous now that I look back on it. What an idiot!

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:22 pm
by Black Pear
on crescent heads etc., I think the modern use evidence is suggesting birds as the intended target. You're not going to be using heavy war bows for hunting birds and small game (south american tribal bows aren't 80# longbows after all) so they may not be as devastating to the target as it may at first seem. Blunts (albeit heavy metal blunts) are used to hunt rabbit etc. in the states becuase they do the job and don't damage the target too much. They're not used because they're more easily recoverable, as far as I know.

http://www.3riversarchery.com/Broadhead ... thumb.html

The public are the reason we get to play out our hobby on such a big scale, taking the p*ss is biting the hand that feeds, I reckon. I also think that we should be informative and welcoming, for the same reason.