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Use of wood in Middle age

Henk Beentje H.Beentje at rbgkew.org.uk
Thu Nov 27 18:29:10 EST 1997

Raquel wrote:
> Hello, there! :)
> I've been reading, recently, a book set in our Middle Age. Also, I've
> been participating on some Role Play of the same sort.
> I was wondering, therefor, what types of wood were more common in
> middle age weapons, such as bows, arrows, spears, staffs, etc, and why
> that wood was preferred over others.
> I am interested in this not only because of my role play :) but also
> because I study Silviculture. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Bows classically from yew, *Taxus baccata*, which were therefore planted 
in churchyards in England, since the church served as a fortress (those 
stone towers. Arrows often from European *Pinus& species.
Axes usually with a shaft of ash, *Fraxinus exselsior*, like 
hockey-sticks: strong and slightly supple.

Staffs often from blackthorn, *Prunus spinosa*, but I'm not sure if you 
can get really long ones. Good strong and heavy wood, though. An oaken 
staff would be pretty good, too, though I prefer Olive myself.


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