Measurements: 8.1 cm – length, 4.2 cm – width


Description: A rare iron hand-forged "forker" shaped Avar arrowhead with a collar for affixture, narrowing into an elongated tang for insertion into a wooden shaft. A wooden arrow shaft fragment remains inside the collar – a very rare find. This particular arrowhead shape was used for hunting in the medieval period, especially for bird hunting. Its name derives from its barbs, pointed forward in a V-shape, which would have caused extensive blood loss and effectively weakened a pursued animal. Avaric arrows could be fired up to 1500 feet. According to some historians, Avars introduced important military technology to Europe – an iron stirrup, which made the soldiers on horseback more secure and steady in the saddle. They also used a composite bow – skilled Avar riders at full gallop could shoot up to twenty arrows a minute.


Provenance: Austrian private collection.


Reference: Blackmore, H. L., Hunting Weapons, 1971, 148

Frassetto, M., Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation, 2003, 54-56.

Goetz, H.-W., Jarnut, J., Pohl, P., Regna and Gentes, The Relationship between Late Antique and Early Medieval Peoples and Kingdoms in the Transformation of the Roman World, 2003, 471-505.

Jessop, O., A New Artefact Typology for the Study of Medieval Arrowheads, 1996, appendix 5, fig. 1, H2


Period: 6th to 8th century AD


Condition: Very fine, with some areas of pitting to the surface and minor chipping to edges. Collar in exceptional condition, with intact wooden arrow shaft fragment within.

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