A to Z Collections | Ancient Arrowheads
An arrow consists of a long and thin shaft made formerly of wood and now also from aluminum or carbon fiber composite. It is pointed or armed with an arrowhead at one end and with a nock or notch in the other. Arrowheads fit hunting and military purpose better than a mere point, which is mostly useful for target-shooting. The main type of arrowheads used in medieval periods for battle purposes were broadhead, swallowtail, bodkin, and pitch and tar arrows for setting fire to the fields enemies were attacking on. Near the notch end are vanes which keep the arrow pointed in the direction of travel. There are often three vanes but many fletchings have four or even more. They were originally made from feathers bound to the arrow's shaft, but are now often made of plastic. Artisans who make arrows by hand are known as "fletchers," a word related to the French word for arrow, flèche. To fletch an arrow means to provide it with its vanes. As an arrow flies toward its target, its shaft will bend and flex from side to side, almost like a fish swimming through water.