as the 2019 EXARC Twinning Programme
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Experimental procedure of the Sintashta Bow Project / July 2020 review

The project faced many inherent difficulties mainly due to the Covid-19 prohibitions and due to custom office restrictions. However practical obstacles occured as well, like the easy access on the proper resident wood (elm,ash,birch) which was prerequisite to be already dried for some years before being used. This last issue was the reason for the destruction of 5 bows during the reconstructional procedure in the first 6 months of 2020, as the selected bow-staves proved not dried enough.

The directive team - Archaeologists Ivan Semyan (RU) & Spyros Bakas (GRE) - working closely with renowned academics of the Sintashta Culture, along with the advice from famous bow-experts from many countries, set the goal of the project as the construction of 4 specific versions of the bow. Those versions were partially based on theoretical descriptions of previous academic works of the Sintahsta bow, but also on their own personal interpretations as experimental archaeologists during the ongoing procedure. 

The Version #1 bow was constructed in late May 2020 and followed the relevant pattern described by A. Bersenev and A. Epimakhov (2011). Before the start of the project, this version had been noted as one of the most possible and potentially functionable versions, but soon the results proved that the S-hook device adjusted in the top end of the bow provided significant vibrations & hand shocks and soon the bow broke during experimental shots. The Version#2 bow was constructed in Middle June 2020 and followed the relevant pattern of D. Zdanovich (2011) (Variant 2/ Type 2). In this case the directive team made an amendment in Zdanovich's version and placed the S-hook device in the outer side of the bow, as otherwise the bow wouldn't perform safely. The bow unexpectedly performed quite well during the experimental shots. However the shootings are being still continued periodically to see if the bow can perform a significant big number of shots without being damaged. The Version#3 was constructed in June 2020, was inspired by the relevant work of H. Paulsen (1999) and was modified accordingly as a proposal by the directive team. The speciality of this version has to do with the decision to put the S-hook device in the upper limb, so that we would test the possibility that this device would perform as string-hanger while the bow would be hanged from the archer's back. The experimental shots soon proved the obvious difficulties, as the S-hook device operated as a "splint" for this small section of the bow, prohibited the proper bending of the limb and highlighted the fact that this modification is against bow-mechanics. The directive team and it's partners is now working on the very final part of the project, building the Version #4 which will be an advanced upgrade of Version #1, based on our experimental observations and corrective remarks. 

The full description of the experiment, including all the technical details, measurements, results and methods, will be deployed in the final paper which is expected to be submitted within fall 2020.The horn parts of the bows were constructed in Russia by the skilled master Mr Klim Abramov (RU). The bows were constructed by the skilled Greek bowyer Mr Joannis Boukogiannis (GRE). 

Drawings of the first 3 Versions of the bow

                                                                                Bow Version #1, under A. Bersenev and A. Epimakhov (2011)

                                                                                              Bow Version #2, under D. Zdanovich (2011)

                                                                                        Bow Version #3, inspired by Paulsen (1999)

                                                                           Moments during the shots of experimental arrows, in Florina (Greece)

                                                                                   Moments of the reconstruction process of the bows (May/June 2020)