- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. The column on the left includes the "Best of NumisWiki" menu. If you are new to collecting, start with Ancient Coin Collecting 101. All blue text is linked. Keep clicking to endlessly explore. Welcome Guest. Please login or register. The column on the left includes the "Best of NumisWiki" menu. All blue text is linked. Keep clicking to endlessly explore. If you have written a numismatic article, please add it to NumisWiki.

Resources Home
Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
Guidelines
How to

Index Of All Titles


BEST OF

Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Aphlaston
Armenian Numismatics Page
Brockage
Byzantine
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
Carausius
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denomination
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Fibula
Flavian
Fourree
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmoneans
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Koson
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Monogram
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
romancoin.info
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Scarabs
Serdi Celts
Serrated
Siglos
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Vabalathus
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu
 

Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads

STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS... Last update 17 Feb 2018

by Joseph T. Sermarini Jr.

Based on "The Ancient Metal Arrowhead" by Alex G. Malloy in Ancient and Medieval Art and Antiquities XXIV: Weapons. (South Salem, NY, 1993).

Images below are from various sources and are not to scale. Whenever possible the length is provided in the description.

References

Aharoni, Y. Investigations at Lachish, The Sanctuary and the Residency, Lachish V. (Tel Aviv, 1975).
Azarpay, G. Urartian Art and Artifacts, A Chronological Study. (Berkeley, 1968).
Beylier, A. L'armement et le guerrier en Méditerranée nord-occidentale au premier Age du Fer. Monogr. d'Archéol. Médit. 31. (Lattes, France, 2012).
Bienkowski, P. "The Small Finds" in Bennett, A & P. Bienkowski (eds), Excavations at Tawilan in Southern Jordan, British Academy Monographs in Archaeology 8. (Oxford, 1995).
Ceram, C. The Secret of the Hittites. (New York, 1955).
Cleuziou, S. "Les Pointes de flèches 'scythiques' au Proche et Moyen Orient" in L'armement et le guerrier en Méditerranée nord-occidentale au premier Age du Fer. (Lattes, France, 2012).
Gailledrat, E. & Y. Solier. L'établissement côtier de Pech Maho (Sigean, Aude) aux VIe-Ve s. av. J.-C. (fouilles 1959-1979). Monogr. d'Archéol. Médit. 19. (Lattes, France, 2004).
Khorasani, M. Arms and Armor From Iran: The Bronze Age to the End of the Aqjar Period. (Tübingen, 2006).
Horedt, K. "Die Ansiedlung von Blandiana, Rayon Orăştie, am Ausgang des ersten Jahrtausends u.Z." in Dacia X, 1966, p. 261 - 290.
Hortala, M., et al. "The funerary "treasure" of Montilla, Cordova, Spain" in Metals of power – Early gold and silver, 6th Archaeological Conference of Central Germany Oct. 17–19, 2013.
James, S. Ancient Rome. (London, 2008).
Jessop, O. A New Artefact Typology for the Study of Medieval Arrowheads. (Durham, 1996).
Mahboubian, H. The Art of Ancient Iran: Copper and Bronze. (London, 1997).
Malloy
, A. Ancient and Medieval Art and Antiquities XXIV: Weapons. (South Salem, NY, 1993).
Manning, W. Catalogue of the Romano-British iron tools, fittings and weapons in the British Museum. (London, 1985).
McClees, H. & C. Alexander. The Daily Life of the Greeks and Romans: As Illustrated in the Classical Collections, 5th ed. (New York, 1941).
Metropolitan Museum Collection Online - http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search#
Moorey
, P. Ancient Bronzes from Luristan. British Museum. (London, 1974).
Moorey, P. Catalogue of the Ancient Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum. (Oxford, 1971).
Muscarella, O. Bronze and Iron, Ancient Near Eastern Artifacts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (New York, 1988).
Myres, J. Handbook of the Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from Cyprus. (New York, 1914).
Petrie, W. Tools and Weapons. (London, 1917).
Phillips, E. The Mongols. (London, 1969).
Portable Antiquities Scheme website - https://finds.org.uk/
Richter, G. Greek, Etruscan and Roman Bronzes. (New York, 1915).
Richter, G. Handbook of the Greek Collection. (Cambridge, MA, 1953).
Savory, H. Spain and Portugal. (London, 1968).
Schmidt, E. Anatolia through the Ages, Alishar Mound 1927-29. (Chicago, 1931).
Schmidt, E. Persepolis II: Contents of the Treasury and Other Discoveries. (Chicago, 1957).
Stary, P. Zur eisenzeitlichen Bewaffnung und Kampfesweise auf der Iberischen Halbinsel. Madrider Forschungen, Bd. 18. (Berlin/New York, 1994).
Stronach, D. Pasargadae: A Report on the Excavations conducted by the British Institute of Persian Studies from 1961 to 1963. (Oxford, 1978).
Tufnell, O. Lachish: (Tell ed Duweir). (Oxford, 1938-1958).
Tushingham, A. Excavations in Jerusalem, 1961-67. Vol. I. (Toronto, 1985).
Wheeler, R. Medieval Catalogue. London Museum. (London, 1940).
Whitcomb, D. Before the Roses and Nightingales: Excavations at Qasr-i Abu Nasr, Old Shiraz. (New York, 1985).
Wright, J. A Look at Some of the Small Finds at Ramat Rachel: Arrowheads. (unpublished, 2008).

Purpose

The purpose of this page is to aid in the identification of ancient metal arrowheads.

Identification of ancient arrowheads requires recognizing the sometimes subtle differences in types produced by many cultures over nearly five millennium. Unfortunately, ancient arrowheads are very poorly documented. There is no good overall reference. The references that do exist only cover a limited number of types and most are full of errors and conflicts. Many antiquities dealers arbitrarily call nearly all ancient bronze arrowheads, especially trilobate arrowheads, Roman. In fact, relatively few arrowheads can accurately be described as Roman.

The most important sources of information on ancient arrowheads are excavation reports. Unfortunately the identification and dating of arrowheads in excavation reports is very unreliable. Not everything in excavation reports came from a well attested stratified level of an excavation. Reports often include items from surface finds, finds in rubbish tips, and "intruders" that make there way into a stratified level from another level due to re-burial, erosion, animal movements, etc. Finds in many areas include types obtained by trade, the weapons of invaders, or the captured booty of enemies. Dating is also confused because types were sometimes produced and used long after newer types were introduced. Schmidt's excavations of Achaemenid Persepolis recovered both earlier Greek and Scythian types, and later Roman and Parthian types. The UK Portable Antiquities Scheme database includes several Graeco-Scythian bilobate arrowheads, one Achaemenid Persian trilobate arrowhead, and one Parthian triblade arrowhead, all found in Britain! Even when the origin of arrowheads should be clear from the type, they are still often misdescribed. In one example, the exact same type of arrowhead is labelled - in different archeological reports - as 12th century Mongol, 8th century Avar, 4th century Sarmatian, and 2nd century Roman.

As one might expect from the challenges described above, not everything discussed below is 100% certain. This page is a wiki. All members are encouraged to make additions and corrections.

Chronological/Geographic Categories

This article divides arrowheads into the following chronological/geographic categories:

Copper Age, c. 3500 - 2000 B.C.
Bronze Age, c. 2200 - 700 B.C.
Iron Age, c. 1200 - 690 B.C.
Scythian, c. 690 - 350 B.C.
Graeco-Scythian, c. 650 - 250 B.C.
Hellenistic Greek, c. 350 - 30 B.C.
Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C.
Parthian, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D.
Sasanian Persian, 224 - 800 A.D.
Roman, c. 300 B.C. - 476 A.D.
Romano-Byzantine, c. 330 – 1453 A.D.
Mongol (Khanate of the Golden Horde), c. 1200 - 1400 A.D.
Medieval Western Europe to England, after 1000 A.D.

Types that span more than one chronological or geographic category will be identified in the description and listed in the most likely category. If categories are equally likely or uncertain, it will be listed in the first applicable category.

Describing the Elements, Shapes, and Types of Ancient Metal Arrowheads

The tools of the archer are the bow, an arrow consisting of arrowhead, shaft and feathers, and later the quiver.

The earliest shafts were reeds: naturally straight, somewhat stiff, and light in weight. These were ideal for use with an arrowhead with a tang, which could be easily inserted into the hollow reed. The socketed arrowhead was used with slender wooden shafts. Shafts could be complex combining reed and wood, or hardwood and softwood in different sections of their length. Some ancient arrows, believed to be Roman, have been found with only a sharpened end to the wooden shaft and no arrowhead.

The arrowhead is a ballistic device; its weight must be considered in relation to the "weight" of the bow (the force necessary to draw the bow). The weight of the arrowhead must be in a 1:7 ratio to the total weight of the arrow (the sum of the arrowhead, shaft, feathers, and binding material). Scholars long contended that the weight of an arrowhead could not exceed 10 grams, however, recent research proved that points weighing up to 22g could have been used as arrowheads. Still, heavy points were more likely used on javelins. The Neo-Assyrians had javelin throwers in their army along with bowmen. Each Roman soldier had a javelin as part of his accoutrements.

Different types of arrowheads were made for different purposes. Wide-bladed arrowheads were used for attacking flesh. Barbs and spurs made the arrows hard to remove from flesh. Narrower forms were ideal for penetrating armor, leather, and clothing. Heavy arrowheads could be used for up-close attacks. Lighter trimmer arrowheads were good at a distance. During the Mongol invasion, each horseman would have several quivers, each containing thirty or more of a specialized type of arrow.

Parts

The basic parts of the ancient metal arrowhead are identified in the figures below:

    

Metals

Copper - Only the earliest arrowheads, c. 3500 - 2000 B.C., were hammered copper. The development of bronze, which is much harder, ended the use of pure copper.

Bronze - Bronze an alloy of copper and tin, is considerably harder than copper alone. Bronze was commonly used for arrowheads from 2200 B.C. through to the Persian empire, Hellenistic era, Roman era, and into the Byzantine period. The earliest bronze arrowheads were hammered but the properties of bronze made it excellent for casting and filing, which was could be done, and likely often was done, by the soldiers themselves. Casting made complex features, such as triblade heads and hollow sockets possible. Casting also enabled mass production, which was necessary since each archer might require hundreds of arrows.

Iron - From 1300 to 700 BC., iron arrowheads developed alongside the bronze types. Iron is lighter and stronger than bronze, but the greatest advantage of iron is the abundance and convenience of iron ore. Bronze requires both copper and tin, which are rarely found together, meaning trade and transportation were usually required. The Late Bronze Age Collapse brought a dark age. The initial development of iron weapons was probably primarily driven by a decline in trade and shortages of tin. The disadvantage of iron is that each wrought iron head had to be individually hammered and it is very difficult to make any type more complex than a simple tanged flat bladed type or bodkin point. Iron arrowheads were reintroduce by the Romans and in the Byzantine era bronze arrowheads disappeared, completely replaced by cheaper iron.

Shapes

The many varieties of arrowhead shapes varied greatly over time, from area to area, and depending on the purpose of the arrow. Petrie classifieds the arrowheads in the following thirteen shape categories:

Descriptive Terms

Barb - A sharp projection near the base of the arrowhead, angled away from the main point so as to make extraction difficult.
Base - The edge of the arrowhead body opposite the tip.
Blade - The flat cutting edge of the arrowhead. A flat bladed arrowhead has a single blade. A biblade or bilobate arrowhead has two blades. A triblade arrowhead has three blades.
Body - The main section of of the arrowhead, excluding the stem or shaft. Sometimes called the head.
Biconical - Having the form of two cones with their bases placed together.
Biblade - Divided into or having two blades (lobes). A flat leaf-shaped arrowhead, for example, divided by a midrib is a biblade (also called bilobate or rib bladed).
Bilobate - Divided into or having two lobes. A flat leaf-shaped arrowhead divided by a midrib is, for example, is bilobate (also called a biblade or rib bladed).
Bodkin point - A plain spike square-section arrowhead.
Conoid - Approximately conical in shape.
Deltoid - Approximately triangular, sides can be convex or concave, sometimes with rounded corners. If one side is highly convex, the shape may be described as rhombic.
Flange - A flange is a raised ridge, rim or lip, added for strength, or for attachment to or for guiding another object.
Lanceolate - A narrow oval shape tapering to a point at each end. Leaf shaped. Shaped like the head of a lance.
Medial - Located in the middle.
Oblanceolate - Lanceolate, with a narrower more pointed end at the base.
Ovate - Having an oval outline or ovoid shape, like an egg.
Pyramidal - Resembling a pyramid in shape (trilobate solid).
Rhombic - A somewhat rhomboid shape, a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths and angles are non-right angled.
Rib - A raised strip of thicker metal from or near the tip to the base of the head and sometimes also down the stem. The rib's purpose is to stiffen or strengthen the arrowhead.
Rib bladed - A flat leaf-shaped arrowhead divided by a midrib (also called a biblade or bilobate).
Socket - A hollow in the stem or the base of the head into which the shaft is inserted. A socket provides a stronger physical structure and a more streamlined faster arrow than a tang.
Square - When used in the description of an arrowhead, square invariably refers to a cross section of the head, stem or tang.
Stem - A narrow, usually cylindrical, section between the head and shaft, sometime hollow forming a socket, sometimes solid between the body and a tang.
Spur - A sharp projection or hook on the stem of the arrowhead, angled away from the main point so as to make extraction difficult.
Tang - A projection, from the base of the arrowhead, often tapered to a point, which is inserted into the arrow shaft to hold the arrowhead firmly to the shaft.
Triblade - Having three blades, trilobate bladed.
Trilobate - Three-sided in cross-section (pyramidal or trilobate solid) or with three blades (triblade or trilobate bladed).







Copper Age, c. 3500 - 2000 B.C.

The metal arrowhead was a natural evolution from the Neolithic and Copper Age flint arrowheads. The earliest metal arrowheads, dated to dates to the third millennium B.C., are of hammered copper, with a flat blade, hammered edges, and a tang without a stop flange. The earliest copper arrowheads were made at Susa and in Anatolia, and they spread from there to Egypt of the XI Dynasty. In Europe, the Beaker Culture (2250-2000 B.C.) of the Iberian peninsula was the first to develop metallurgy and to produce metal arrowheads. Their most prolific early copper arrowheads, known as Palmela points, are dated 2250 - 2000 B.C. The Pamela point type has been found at 55 sites across Spain and as far away as Britain.

Schmidt Alishar fig. 137, B. Hammered copper arrowhead, early Anatolian, Copper Age Stratum I: 3500-2200 B.C., length 7.7 cm, flat long thin triangular blade, with wide flat short tang (broken?).

Malloy Weapons 79. Hammered copper arrowhead, early Anatolian, Copper Age Stratum I: 3500-2200 B.C., length 7.7 cm, flat long triangular blade, wide flat tang without tapering and pierced near end.

Malloy Weapons 80. Hammered copper arrowhead, Iberia, The Beaker Culture, Palmela type, 2250 - 2000 B.C., length 5.5 cm., cf. Montilla fig. 8., Savory fig. 61, flat pointed lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, wide tapering tang. Found in Cordoba, Spain.

Montilla fig. 8. Copper. Ancient Spain, the Beaker Culture, Palmela type, 2250-2000 B.C. Javelin(?) points, flat pointed leaf-shaped blade, with tang. The average length of Palmela points from the Iberian Peninsula is 9.2 cm (Montero/Teneishvili 1996, 82), thus these points represent some of the largest examples of this object type. The main feature of these objects is their rhomboid shape and a very narrow peduncule. Whether the larger and heavier Palmela points were used as arrowheads or as javelin heads is an ongoing debate.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme NMGW-A42002. Copper alloy javelin point, the Beaker Culture, Palmela type, Britain, 2150 - 1500 B.C, weight 6.44g, length 71mm, width 16.5mm, thickness 2.7 mm, pointed leaf-shaped blade with flattened lozenge cross-section, long tapering tang, listed in PAS as unidentified but appears to be a Palmela point or imitative of a Palmela point.

Copper Age, c. 3500 - 2000 B.C.

Identification Keys:
     - Hammered copper.
     - Crude.
     - Flat bladed.
     - Tang.

Anomalous types:

    - Iberian: see Pamela type above. Finer workmanship, lanceolate-rhombic head with somewhat sharp angles to blades, low flat broad midrib, thin tang tapering to a sharp point.


Bronze Age, c. 2200 - 700 B.C.

The earliest copper types gave way to bronze arrowheads. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, is harder than copper. Bronze was commonly used from 2200 B.C. through to the Persian empire, Hellenistic era, Roman era, and into the Byzantine period. The earliest bronze types were hammered, with flat lanceolate (leaf-shaped) or rhombic heads, some have barbs, most have a long tapered tang without a flange stop/stem.

Bronze Age, The East, c. 2200 - 1200 B.C.



Malloy Weapons 81. Bronze arrowhead, Mesopotamia, Ur III - Susa, late 3rd Millenium B.C., length 6.8 cm, cf. Moorey Ashmolean 44, flat deltoid blade, hammered from cut sheet, no barbs, wide flat tapering tang.

Malloy Weapons 83. Bronze arrowhead, Mesopotamia, Ur III - Susa, late 3rd Millenium B.C., length 6.8 cm, cf. Moorey Ashmolean 44, flat deltoid blade, hammered from cut sheet, slight barbs, long flat tang.

Malloy Weapons 84. Bronze arrowhead, Mesopotamia, Ur III - Susa, late 3rd Millenium B.C., length 4.2 cm, cf. Moorey Ashmolean 44, flat deltoid blade, cut from sheet, barbs and flat tang.

Malloy Weapons 85. Bronze arrowhead, Hittite, 1750-1190 B.C., length 10.5 cm, weight 19.2 gm, cf. Ceram p. 283, hammered lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, wide central rib, long tang.

Malloy Weapons 86. Bronze arrowhead, Old Babylonian - Neo-Elamite, 1500-1000 B.C., length 6.7 cm, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 2 - 4, flat lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, hammered from cut sheet, long tang.


FORVM 36788. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite, c. 2200 - 1700 B.C., length 6.0 cm; cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 30; lanceolate (leaf-shaped) hammered blade, midrib slopes gently from center-line to edges, long tapering tang rectangular in cross-section. Found at Susa.



Met Collection 69.24.25. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite(?), c. 2200 - 1050 B.C., length 4.7 cm; lanceolate (leaf-shaped) hammered blade, midrib slopes gently from center-line to edges, long tapering tang rectangular in cross-section. Found at Shahr-i-Qumis (between Semnan and Damqan in the Semnan Province, Iran). This was a Parthian capitol and The Met Collection lists this as Parthian, but it is almost certainly a Bronze Age or Early Iron Age arrowhead.

 

Met Collection 74.51.5328. Bronze arrowhead, Cypriot, c. 1600 - 1050 B.C., length 6.7 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 404-5, 1481 (this specimen); Myres 4777 (this specimen); flat lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, very slight broad flat midrib, long tang rectangular in cross-section. Found on Cyprus.




Met Collection 74.51.5300. Bronze arrowhead, Cypriot, Late Bronze Age, c. 1450 – 1050 B.C., length 13.6 cm; Richter Bronzes p. 404, 1480 (this specimen); Myres 4776 (this specimen); long lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, midrib, long flattened tang. The type is rare in the Aegean but common in the Near East, from whence they reached Cyprus. Found on Cyprus.


Met Collection 16.10.459. Bronze arrowhead, Egyptian, New Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty 18, c. 1550-1458 B.C., length 14.4 cm (5 11/16 in), long leaf shaped blade, midrib, long flat tang, very fine workmanship for the age. Found at Thebes, Asasif, Courtyard CC 41, Pit 3, Burial D 1, beside or on inner coffin, MMA excavations, 1915–16. Found with the arrowhead below.


Met Collection 16.10.460. Inscribed bronze arrowhead, Egyptian, New Kingdom, early 18th Dynasty 18, c. 1550-1458 B.C., length 9.2 cm (3 5/8 in). cf. Malloy Weapons 90 (barbed, 1200-800 B.C.), long lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade, broad midrib inscribed with symbols, long flat tang, very fine workmanship for the age. Found at Thebes, Asasif, Courtyard CC 41, Pit 3, Burial D 1, beside or on inner coffin, MMA excavations, 1915–16. Found with the arrowhead above. 

Bronze Age, The East, c. 2200 - 1200 B.C.

Identification Keys:
      - Bronze.
      - Deltoid, lanceolate, or lanceolate-rhombic (leaf-shaped with sharper angles to blades) heads.
      - Some deltoid heads have slight barbs.
      - Flat bladed or with a low sloping medial ridge
      - No narrow flange midribs.
      - Most with a long flat tapered tang
      - No flanged stem stops.

Bronze Age, Western Europe to Britain, c. 2200 - 700 B.C.

The number of reported British metal detected finds of Bronze Age bronze arrowheads are growing in number, though they remain a rare artifact. Dr Colin Pendleton reports that Suffolk has 17 known examples, of which 5 can be termed barbed and tanged. Norfolk has at least 4 recorded and more examples are being added to the database from around the country. This suggests that cast bronze arrowheads were a British tradition. The Early Bronze Age British bronze arrowheads, still extremely rare, share similar forms with contemporary flint arrowheads.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme SF-C931F4. Bronze Arrowhead, Britain, Early Bronze Age, 2150 - 1500 B.C, weight 6.44g, length 48.09mm, width 19.51mm, thickness 4.16 mm, triangular in shape with a slight barb to the one surviving side of the base, narrow central mid-rib, which expands into a splayed tang at the base. The form is similar to a contemporary flint arrowhead type. Bronze arrowheads of this date are extremely rare in Britain. Found in Mid Suffolk.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme SF-4014B0. Bronze Arrowhead, Britain, Early Bronze Age, 2100 - 1500 B.C, weight 10.03g, length 55.54mm, width 25.5mm, thickness 3.42 mm, raised midrib, beveled edges and a slightly concave blade in between, midrib and the tang both splay outwards at the base, which terminates in a convex semi-circular butt that appears to have been deliberately molded in this form although retains an amount of flashing around the edges, relatively crude notches between the tang and barbs, one of which appears incomplete but is probably merely poorly cast, but evidence of their casting is clearly visible on one face. The form is similar to a contemporary flint arrowhead type. Bronze arrowheads of this date are extremely rare in Britain.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme WILT-807272. Bronze Arrowhead, Britain, Middle Bronze Age, 1275 – 1140 B.C, weight 5.03g, length 41.85mm, width 20.45mm from barb to barb, thickness 2.3mm, flat barbed and tanged arrowhead, the alloy is almost completely copper, cast in a two piece mold, with the two sides forming an angle of approximately 25-30 degrees, tang is incomplete and measures c. 12.1mm long, 7.9mm wide and 1.55mm thick, very low mid ridge, giving a lozenge-form cross-section. Found in Wiltshire. PAS dates this head to the Middle Bronze Age because earlier heads more closely share forms with flint arrowheads.



UK Portable Antiquities Scheme WILT-8171F0. Copper Alloy Arrowhead, Britain, Middle Bronze Age, 1275 – 1140 B.C, weight 2.54g, length 26.85mm, width 19.2mm from barb to barb, thickness 2.00mm, flat barbed and tanged arrowhead, the alloy is almost completely copper, cast in a two piece mold, with the two sides forming an angle of approximately 25-30 degrees, tang is incomplete and measures c. 4.55mm long, 5.45mm wide and 1.55mm thick, very low mid ridge, giving a lozenge-form cross-section. Found in West Dorset. PAS dates this head to the Middle Bronze Age because earlier heads more closely share forms with flint arrowheads.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme ESS-A41D75. Bronze Arrowhead, Britain, Late Middle Bronze Age, 1275 - 1140 B.C, weight 5.10g, length 39.76mm, width 19.82mm from barb to barb, 2.56mm thick, cast in one piece, barbed and tanged in form, with the two sides forming an angle of approximately 35 degrees. The extreme end of the point is missing and the barbs are damaged and truncated. The tang, which is complete and rectangular is 7.8mm and the barbs are 3.48mm and 2.38mm long respectively. The arrowhead has a low mid ridge, making the object beveled on one face and so gives it a triangular section.


Bronze arrowhead, Iberian, 1000 - 700 B.C., 2.7 cm (1") long, cf. Savory, Spain and Portugal Ancient Peoples, Fig. 72. G var. 4150; cast bronze, broad flat deltoid head with wide barbs, tang does not taper.


Bronze arrowhead, Iberian, 900 - 500 B.C., 5.7 cm long, cast bronze, flat broad deltoid head, barbs with sharp spurs, tapering tang with blunt end.

Bronze Age, Western Europe to Britain, c. 2200 - 700 B.C.

Identification Keys:
     - Bronze.
     - Wide barbed deltoid heads.
     - The earliest examples copy the form of contemporary flint arrowheads and many later examples retain some similarity to these first types.
     - Flat bladed or with a low medial ridge.
     - Tanged, sometimes short, usually with a blunt end.

Iron Age, c. 1200 - 690 B.C.

Iron Age - Bronze Arrowheads

Production of hammered bronze arrowheads was slowly replaced by casting. The properties of bronze made it excellent for casting and filing, which was could be done, and likely often was done, by the soldiers themselves. The early cast bronze Anatolian types have a flat, broad midrib, while the Fertile Crescent types have a narrower flange or ridge-like midrib. Most have long tapering tangs, some have a stem or flanged tang. From the late 2nd millennium, the number of arrowheads produced dramatically increased, and included various new types.


Malloy Weapons 89. Bronze. Egyptian. XX-XXII Dynasty, 1200-800 B.C., length 4.5 cm, Petrie Tools pl. XLII 201-2, rhombic head, deltoid midrib projection, elongated point, two sharp barbs, flat tang (broken).

Malloy Weapons 90. Inscribed bronze arrowhead, Egyptian, XX-XXII Dynasty, 1200-800 B.C., length 6.9 cm; Petrie Tools pl. XLII 200, 201, 202; inscribed rhombic head with triangular projection at base, raised midrib, two sharp barbs, long flat thin tang, incised line on both sides, incised symbol on one side. Petrie discusses these marked arrowheads, pronouncing them inexplicable.

Malloy Weapons 91. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite-Luristan. 1200-800 B.C., length 9.1 cm, cf. Muscarella 410, deltoid rounded arrowhead with midrib, long tang with slight taper.

Malloy Weapons 92. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite-Luristan. 1100-800 B.C., length 7.6 cm, cf. Muscarella 417, deltoid, flange midrib, long tang with flange stop.

Malloy Weapons 93. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite Middle Period. 1200-800 B.C., length 11.5 cm, cf. Muscarella 412, deltoid, has long tang thin tapering tang.

Malloy Weapons 94. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite Middle Period. 1200-800 B.C., length 7 cm, cf. Moorey Ashmolean 69-70, elongated leaf design, long tang, central midrib.

Malloy Weapons 95. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite Middle Period. 1200-800 B.C., length 10.5 cm, cf. Moorey Ashmolean 69-70, elongated leaf design. Long tang, central midrib.

Malloy Weapons 96. Bronze arrowhead, Elamite Middle Period. 1200-800 B.C., length 6.5 cm. cf. Moorey Ashmolean 69-70, rounded head with thick tang and central midrib.

Malloy Weapons 97. Bronze arrowhead, Assyrian. 1200-800 B.C., length 6 cm, deltoid head, no barbs, longish tapering tang. These types of rhombic heads were widely used by the Egyptians and are usually found with barbs. This type dates from the same period, but was found in northern Mesopotamia. Scarce.

Malloy Weapons 99. Bronze arrowhead, Phrygian. 1200-800 B.C., length 8 cm, Ceram -, slightly barbed deltoid blade with long tang. Bent back at tip.

Malloy Weapons 100. Bronze arrowhead, Phrygian. 1200-800 B.C., length 7.3 cm, Ceram -, leaf-shaped blade with wide central rib, long tang.



Met Collection 74.51.5330. Bronze arrowhead, Cypriot, Late Bronze Age, c. 1200 - 1050 B.C., length 4.8 cm; Richter Bronzes p. 404, 1482 (this specimen); Myres 4778 (this specimen); flat leaf-shaped blade, flange midrib, long tang four-sided in cross-section. Found on Cyprus. Met dates as early as 1600 but the flange midrib indicates this is too early.



Met Collection 74.51.5332. Bronze arrowhead, Cyprus, c. 1200 – 1050 B.C., length 5.7 cm; Myres 4787 (this specimen); Richter Bronzes pp. 405 and 407, 1511 (this specimen); McClees-Alexander pp. 88, 92, fig. 112; two-edged triangular blade with near-straight, slightly flaring sides, rounded below, blades sloping to midrib, rectangular tang with stop flange. Met dates this c. 1600 – 1050 B.C. but the stem/flange stop suggests it must be late in that range, or later.


Met Collection 61.60.19. Bronze arrowhead, Anatolia(?), c. 1200 – 900 B.C., 7.01 x 1.19 cm; deltoid blade with near-straight, slightly flaring sides, rounded base angles, blades sloping to broad midrib that blends to long square cross-section stem, thin sharp tang. Met dates this specimen late 1st millennium B.C., almost certainly in error.




Muscarella 396 - 418. Bronze Arrow and Lance Heads, Elamite Middle Period, c. 1200 - 900 B.C., lengths 21.5, 15.2, 16.4, 5.7, 13.3. 11.3, 12.5, 12.2, 9.2, 13.2, 6.3, 12.1, 6.2, 6.2, 11.4, 10.9, 13.9, 7.3, 8.4, 10.7, 11.0, 11.8 cm; Met Collection 62.40.2-23; 62.155 (these specimens). Similar types have been found at many sites, including in graves, in Iran.


Bronze arrowhead, Central Persia-Luristan, c. 1000 B.C., 8.5 cm long; cf. Moorey Luristan 75, Malloy Auction XXV 53; cast, long leaf-shaped blade with broad rib, long stem and long tang; scarce type.


Bronze arrowhead, Neo-Elamite, 750 - 600 B.C., 5.5 cm long, Neo-Elamite bronze arrowhead, rhomboid blade, with midrib and long flattened tang.




Met Collection 74.51.5329. Bronze arrowhead, Cyprus, c. 1200 - 700 B.C., length 6.7 cm; Myres 4788 (this specimen); Richter Bronzes pp. 405 & 408, 1512 (this specimen);
McClees-Alexander pp. 88 & 92, fig. 112 (this specimen)

Iron Age - Bronze Arrowheads, c. 1200 - 690 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze.
     - Hammered types continued, cast types introduced.
     - Flat blade types continued but disappearing, low broad sloping medial ridge types continued, narrow rib-like medial flange is introduced.
     - Tremendous variety of head shapes types.
     - Usually long flat tapering tangs.
     - Types without stop flange/stem continued, stop flange/stem is introduced.

Anomalous types:

     - Iberian: Wide deltoid heads with barbs.


Iron Age - Iron Arrowheads

From 1300 to 700 BC., iron arrowheads developed alongside the bronze types. Iron is lighter and stronger than bronze, but the greatest advantage of iron is the abundance and convenience of iron ore. Bronze requires both copper and tin, which are rarely found together, meaning trade and transportation were usually required. The Late Bronze Age Collapse brought a dark age. The initial development of iron weapons was probably primarily driven by a decline in trade and shortages of tin. Even when trade was restored, iron bodkin types continued.



Malloy Weapons 98. Iron arrowhead, Israel, 1200-800 B.C., length 8.8 cm, cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLII 202, rhombic head with barbs, long tapering tang, triangular projection at base of blade. This rhombic and barbed iron type, originally from Egypt, was prevalent in Israel from the late 2nd to early 1st millennia B.C.

Malloy Weapons 102. Iron arrowhead, Israel, Iron Age, 850-800 B.C., length 10 cm. cf. Aharoni pl. 36, 2, hammered elongated leaf-shaped head, tapering tang.

Malloy Weapons 103. Iron arrowhead, Israel, 800-700 B.C., length 6.6 cm, cf. Aharoni P. 36:6, hammered leaf-shaped head, tang. This shape was found in the III stratum at Lachish.

Malloy Weapons 104. Iron arrowhead, Israel, 800-700 B.C., length 6.8 cm. cf. Aharoni 36:9, bodkin point, square-section head with long tapering tang. The bodkin point arrowhead appeared as early as the Second Millenium B. C. and continued in different shapes as late as medieval England. Petrie identifies these arrowheads as "armor piercing bolts," however, they probably were not very effective at actually piercing metal. They would have been more effective at piercing leather or between scales or links.

Malloy Weapons 105. Iron arrowhead, Israel, 800-700 B.C., length 10.5 cm. cf. Aharoni 36:9, Tufnell pl. 54, 48, bodkin point, square-section head with short tang. The bodkin point arrowhead appeared as early as the Second Millenium B. C. and continued in different shapes as late as medieval England. Petrie identifies these arrowheads as "armor piercing bolts," however, they probably were not very effective at actually piercing metal. They would have been more effective at piercing leather or between scales or links.


Met Collection 12.180.346. Iron arrowhead, Egypt, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III, c. 1390–1353 B.C., length 9 cm, hammered small triangular flat blade head, than tang about four times as long as the head. From Upper Egypt, Thebes, Malqata, Palace of Amenhotep III, MMA excavations, 1911–12.




Met Collection 26.199.290. Iron arrowhead, Lydian, Iron Age, c. 1100 – 900 B.C., length 8.7 cm; two-edged triangular blade with straight, flaring sides, rounded below, blades sloping to midrib, long slightly tapering tang with with rectangular cross-section and stop flange. Unlike bronze arrowheads, which were mass produced by casting, iron arrowheads required hammering, one at a time. Only a skilled professional could manufacture an iron arrowhead of this high-quality. Found at Sardis. (Dated too early?)


Iron Arrowhead, Israelite, Time of Judges to Solomon, Iron Age I, c. 1300 - 900 B.C., 8.0 cm long; cf. Mackenzie-Palestine Exploration Fund 1912-13, pl. XXVIIII-6; Malloy Weapons 102; hammered elongated leaf design.


Iron Arrowhead, Kingdom of Israel, c. 1000 - 721 B.C., 7.0 cm long; cf. Met Collection 12.180.346; Israelite iron arrowhead, hammered short blade with long tang.



Met Collection 74.51.4606. Iron arrowhead, Cyprus, c. 1200 - 700 B.C., length 8.26 cm, leaf-shaped head, tang broken. Ex Cesnola Collection.



Met Collection 59.41.3 (= Muscarella 440). Iron Arrowhead, Nippur, Mesopotamia, c. 900 - 700 B.C., length 5.8 cm, thickness 1.2 cm, cf. Schmidt Persepolis 22, heavy and solid with a prominent flange midrib and a stop above the tang.



Met Collection 1977.34.24 (= Muscarella 484). Iron Arrowhead, Tawilan, Southern Jordan (Biblical Kingdom of Eden), 9th century B.C., length 3.8 cm. Very corroded, but it seems to be trilobate solid (pyramidal in section) on a square tang. See an iron arrowhead from Tawilan below. Schmidt Persepolis -


Muscarella 485 (= Met Collection 1977.234.22). Iron Arrowhead, Tawilan, Southern Jordan (Biblical Kingdom of Eden), c. 1200 - 700 B.C., preserved length 4.7 cm. A fragment of a biconical blade.




Muscarella 76-83 (= Met Collection 61.100.51, 52, 62-67). Iron Arrowheads, Hasanlu (West Azerbaijan province, northwest Iran); Period IV (1200 - 800 B.C.), lengths 6.6, 5.2, 10.6, 8.6, 6.2, 7.3, 6.3, 7.9 cm, flat lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade without midrib, tapering tang without flange. There are better photos available from at The MET Collection Online, but the condition of these arrowheads does not justify the effort of uploading the individual photos.

Muscarella 84-89 (= Met Collection 1976.233.21-26). Iron Arrowheads, Hasanlu (West Azerbaijan province, northwest Iran); Period IV (1200 - 800 B.C.), lengths 7.6, 8.6, 8.1, 7.8, 6.6, 5.6 cm, flat lanceolate (leaf-shaped) blade without midrib, tapering tang without flange. There are better photos available from at The MET Collection Online, but the condition of these arrowheads does not justify the effort of uploading the individual photos.


Muscarella 460 (= Met Collection 57.27.85). Iron Arrowhead, Nimrud, Mesopotamia, c. 1200 - 612 B.C.; length 5.5 cm, lanceolate (leaf-shaped) hammered blade with a short tang and no stop. One of the most common types recovered from the debris resulting from the final destruction of Nimrud (612 B.C.).

Muscarella 461 (= Met Collection 58.31.39). Iron Arrowhead, Nimrud, Mesopotamia, c. 1200 - 612 B.C.; length 7 cm (larger than the previous type), lanceolate (leaf-shaped) hammered blade with a curve at its base and flange stop at the upper part of the tang. One of the most common types recovered from the debris resulting from the final destruction of Nimrud (612 B.C.). cf. Schmidt Persepolis 4

Muscarella 462 (= Met Collection 59.107.33). Iron Arrowhead, Nimrud, Mesopotamia, c. 1200 - 612 B.C.; length 7.6 cm, same as the previous type, lanceolate (leaf-shaped) hammered blade with a curve at its base and flange stop at the upper part of the tang. One of the most common types recovered from the debris resulting from the final destruction of Nimrud (612 B.C.). cf. Schmidt Persepolis 5


Iron javelin head, Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, Time of Ahab to Uzziah, c. 900 - 700 B.C., 22.2 cm long; cf. Richter Bronzes 1415 (Cyprus, Late Bronze Age); narrow with hammered sheet turned up and rolled at one end forming a socket. Although this is a javelin head, not an arrowhead, we share it here because Richter speculates that this technique was the origin of the socket (Richter bronzes p. 393).

Iron Age - Iron Arrowheads, c. 1200 - 690 B.C.


Identification Keys:

     - Iron arrowheads introduced.
     - Iron arrowheads are mostly crude hammered flat head types with rhombic or lanceolate heads.
     - Usually long flat tapering tangs.
     - Most without a stem or flanged tang.
     - Stem and flanged tang stop introduced but late and less common.

Anomalous types:
    - Bodkin point introduced.
    - First sockets introduced formed of turned up and rolled hammered iron.


Scythian, c. 750 - 350 B.C.


Early Scythian Arrowhead Types from Russia, c. 8th Century - 4th Century B.C.

The Scythians were members of a trans-Caucasian nomadic culture which began its conquest of southern central and western Asia in the 8th century B.C. As they advanced they pushed the Cimmarians before them, each causing havoc in Asia Minor. By 690 - 680 B.C., the time of the neo-Assyrian annals of Sargon II and Assarhaddon, the Scythian invaders swept southward and attacked the Assyrian kingdom. For a period of twenty-eight years, the Scythians held sway in Asia Minor, western Persia, and Syria. Even Egypt felt this nomadic power in the 7th century B.C.

Bilobate socketed arrowheads probably developed in the Pontic Steppe area in the 8th century B.C., preceding the trilobate types. By the 7th century B.C. bilobate types had a large distribution in Anatolia and the Caucasus, and later they appear all over the Near East and in Europe. Trilobate socketed heads were developed later and are rare north of Caucasus. Thousands of socketed trilobate arrowheads have been excavated at numerous sites all over the Near East, Anatolia, Egypt, and in Europe. Scholars have associated the earliest bilobate and trilobate arrowheads with the expansion of the Cimmerians and Scythians from southern Russia into Anatolia and Iran. If the trilobate arrowheads were initially the characteristic weapon of these marauders and were introduced into the Near East by them, we would expect the earliest excavated finds to parallel the time of the invasions. Supporting this theory, to date, all excavated trilobate examples from Near Eastern sites are dated after c. 690/680 B.C. A neo-Babylonian text refers to military equipment by its original and foreign ethnic appellations: Akkadian bows, shields, and arrows, and...Cimmerian arrows. The form of the objects was not described because that was clear to contemporaries from the appellation. We cannot be certain these Cimmerian arrows were bilobate or trilobate but it seems likely it was one of these forms.

The earliest trilobate arrowheads have long to medium length sockets, some conoid. Early Scythian types excavated at Karmir-Blur, now in the Hermitage Museum, are depicted in the line drawing above.


Malloy Weapons 106. Bronze bilobate socketed arrowhead, Scythian, 8th - 7th Century B.C., biblade leaf-shaped head, long widening socket, length 4.2 cm., cf. Azarpay pl. 8, Schmidt Persepolis 19

Malloy Weapons 107. Bronze trilobate solid socketed arrowhead, Scythian, 7th Century B.C., elongated triblade head, short socket, length 4 cm., cf. Azarday pl. 8, Schmidt Persepolis 19. This blade was found in eastern Turkey. Similar types in the Hermitage Museum are from Karmir-Blur.

The trilobate arrowhead was copied by various people down to the 3rd century A.D. We can find Greek, Archaminid, Medean, and Parthian counterparts. Muscarella states that the trilobate arrowheads eventually became neutral in battle, "...as it no longer was used by one or the other in battle, but by both."

Scythian, c. 750 - 350 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze.
     - Bilobate (biblade) lanceolate heads with medial flange ridge.
     - Trilobate bladed (introduced c. 690 B.C.) lanceolate heads.
     - Hollow stem socket, some conoid, some with spur.


British Museum 124624. Copper alloy arrow-head mold used to simultaneously cast two bronze triblade socketed arrow-heads and one biblade bronze socketed arrow-head of Scythian type.

Greek, c. 690 - 30 B.C.

We categorize Greek arrowheads into the three primary ancient arrowhead types: tanged, bilobate, and trilobate. Chronologically ancient Greek arrowheads span three periods: Archaic (c. 750/690 - 480 B.C.), Classical (c. 480 - 330/223 B.C.), and Hellenistic (c. 330/223 - 30 B.C.). The three primary types do not, however, divide neatly into these periods.

The bilobate and trilobate arrowhead types were introduced to the Greeks (and Persians) by the invading Cimmerians and Scythians, c. 690 - 630 B.C. The Greek historian Herodotus spoke of them initially as a barbaric people who drank blood and used the skulls of their foes as drinking cups. By the 6th century the Greeks had developed good rapport with the Scythians, resulting in the Greek colonies of Pontapacum and Olbia in the Euxone region. The Scythians actually protected these Greek colonies and in this region of the northern Black Sea even some Scythian kings were half-Greek. The bilobate and trilobate types are often referred to as Graeco-Scythian.

Tanged arrowheads, both bodkin points and bilobate, were a continuation of iron age types. One might expect that older tanged arrowheads would be abandoned when the new socketed bilobate and trilobate types were adopted, but this was not the case. All three types appear to have been used for much of the entire Greek era.

Greek Tanged, c. 750 - 30 B.C.


Met Collection 74.51.5334. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 9.8 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 406, 1500 (this specimen); Myres 4780 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with nearly straight edges and square cross section, very long round tapering tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.



Met Collection 74.51.5333. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 10.2 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 406, 1499 (this specimen); Myres 4779 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with nearly straight edges and square cross section, very long round tapering tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.



Met Collection 74.51.5342. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 7.0 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 407, 1504 (this specimen); Myres 4784 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with straight-edged tapering outline and square cross section, long round tapering tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.



Met Collection 74.51.5341. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 7.3 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 406-7, 1503 (this specimen); Myres 4783 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with leaf-shaped profile square cross section, short round tapering tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.



Met Collection 74.51.5335. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 6.7 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 406, 1501 (this specimen); Myres 4781 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with leaf-shaped profile square cross section, long rectangular tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.





Met Collection 74.51.5344. Bronze arrowhead, Classical Greek, c. 480 - 330 B.C., length 6.2 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 405-6, 1502 (this specimen); Myres 4782 (this specimen); bodkin point: head with straight-edged tapering outline and square cross section, long round tapering tang. This specimen found on Cyprus.



Met Collection 26.199.291. Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 8th – 6th century B.C. (Met date) or later, length 7.3 cm, oblanceolate shaped thin flange midrib, long tapering tang. Found at Sardis, Lydia (Sart, Turkey). Unusual.

 
Met Collection 26.31.495. Bronze arrowhead, Greek, c. 350 - 30 B.C., length 4.1 cm, cf. Brooklyn Museum 35.820 (Egypt) triangular blade with midrib, raised knobs, and barbs. Met dates this 1200 - 800 B.C. in error.



Met Collection 74.51.5331. Bronze arrowhead, Greek, c. 480 - 30 B.C., length 3.6 cm; Myres 4786 (Hellenistic); Richter Bronzes pp. 405 and 407, 1510; McClees-Alexander pp. 88 and 92, fig. 112 (this specimen); triangular blade with midrib, tang rectangular in cross-section broadens were it joins the blade. Found in Cyprus, at a Hellenistic site. This type has been dated to the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. from finds at Eryx, Sicily and to the early 4th century B.C. at Marion, Cyprus dated at the beginning of the fourth century. It is common on Greek sites in the Hellenistic period.

Greek Tanged, c. 750 - 30 B.C.

Identification Keys:

    - Continuation of Iron Age bodkin points and biblade types. 
    - Bodkin points with square cross section heads, usually with long tapering tangs round or rectangular in cross section.
    - Hellenistic type with raised triangular knobs at base above tang.
Greek Socketed Bilobate, c. 690 - 250 B.C.


Graeco-Scythian Bilobate Arrowheads

Bilobate heads appear to have been developed in the Pontic Steppe area in the 8th century. They preceded the trilobate types (which are rare north of the Caucasus). By the 7th century they had a large distribution in Anatolia and the Caucasus, and later they appear all over the Near East and in Europe. Bilobate types continued to occur alongside the later and then more common trilobate types. The spur was popular in the Graeco-Scythian types but non-spur types were also used. The Scythian bowman's rig: the pointed cap, bow-case, patterned track-suit, and the trilobate arrows were introduced to Athens in the second half of the 6th century B.C.



Malloy Weapons 112. Bronze arrowhead or javelin head, Greek, 4th - 2th Century B.C., bilobate head with wide long barbed blades, long conoid socket, length 5.5 cm, cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLII 217. Judging from its larger size, this was perhaps a javelin head. Javelins were thrown weapons, while spears were thrust.

Malloy Weapons 113. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian, 550 - 250 B.C., lanceolate (leaf-shaped) bilobate bladed head, medial ridge, medium length socket with spur, length 4 cm. cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 135, Met Collection 61.60.11, Muscarella 520.

Malloy Weapons 114. Bronze arrowhead. Graeco-Scythian, 550 - 250 B.C., lanceolate bilobate head, angled blades, medial flange, medium length socket with long spur, length 5.2 cm. cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 135. Found in Turkey.



Met Collection 26.199.292. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian or Achaemenid Persian, 650 - 330 B.C., length 4.4 cm, lanceolate blade with flange midrib that widens to short socket. Found at Sardis.


Met Collection 26.199.305. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian or Achaemenid Persian, 650 - 330 B.C., length 3.9 cm, lanceolate blade with flange midrib that widens to short socket. Found at Sardis.



Met Collection 26.199.293. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian or Achaemenid Persian, 650 - 330 B.C., length 3.8 cm, lanceolate blade, slight midrib that widens to short socket. Found at Sardis.



Met Collection 26.199.294. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian or Achaemenid Persian, 600 - 330 B.C., length 3.7 cm, lanceolate blade with midrib flange that widens to short socket. Found at Sardis.




Met Collection 26.199.295. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian or Achaemenid Persian, 600 - 330 B.C., length 3.2 cm, lanceolate blade, slight midrib that widens to short socket. Found at Sardis.


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 650 - 250 B.C., 4.6 cm long; wide bilobate with short socket stem.


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 650 - 250 B.C., 2.5 cm long; bilobate with internal socket (no stem).



Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 650 - 250 B.C., 3.7 cm long, elongated narrow bilobate with socketed stem, rare type.


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 550 - 250 B.C., 3.5 cm long; cf. Malloy Weapons 113, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 135; bilobate with rounded edge, long stem with spur.

Bronze arrowhead, Greek, 550 - 250 B.C., 2.5 cm long; cf. Malloy Weapons 114, bilobate with rounded edge, medium stem with spur.

Met Collection 61.60.11 (= Muscarella 520). Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian, 550 - 250 B.C., length 5 cm, Malloy Weapons 113, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 135, rhombic bilobate head, sharp at tip with pronounced blade angles, a prominent flange midrib becomes part of the medium length socket, a spur curves down from the top of the conoid socket.

Greek Socketed Bilobate, c. 690 - 250 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze.
     - Lanceolate (more common earlier), rhombic (more common later), and triangular (after c. 480)
     - Hollow stem socket, often conoid, some with spur.
Greek Trilobate, c. 630 - 30 B.C. 

Archaic - Classical


Met Collection 74.51.5325. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., length 4.1 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 404-5, 1487 (this specimen); Myres 4789 (this specimen); McClees-Alexander p. 91, 114; rhombic trilobate head, sharp at tip with pronounced blade angles, medium length conoid socket. Similar types were found at the site of the Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.).

Met Collection 74.51.5323. Bronze arrowhead, Graeco-Scythian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., length 4.1 cm; Richter Bronzes pp. 404-5, 1488 (this specimen); Myres 4790 (this specimen); McClees-Alexander p. 91, 114; rhombic trilobate head, sharp at tip with pronounced blade angles, medium length conoid socket. Similar types were found at the site of the Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.).

Classical - Hellenistic


Harvard Art Museum 1960.490 (this arrowhead), British Museum 1912,0419.3 (same type). Bronze arrowhead, Macedonian, 359 - 348 B.C., 6.8 cm long, inscribed ΦΙΛΙΠΠΟ (retrograde, for Philip of Macedon). Found at Olynthus, Macedonia. Philip besieged then looted and razed the Olynthus and sold its population into slavery in 348 B.C. Although the form is similar to other arrowhead of the era (see other examples below), it is unusually large and was probably used on an arrow fired from a catapult.
Additional photos available online Harvard Art Museum: https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/303999.
British Museum example:  http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?assetId=258413001&objectId=399873&partId=1


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, Macedonian, c. 360 - 300 B.C., 3.7 cm long; trilobate with straight edge, sharp barbs, short stem; hole in one blade.

Bronze arrowhead, Greek, Macedonian, c. 360 - 300 B.C., 350 - 300 B.C., 3.0 cm long; trilobate with straight edge and sharp barbs.


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, Macedonian, c. 360 - 300 B.C., 3.4 cm long; trilobate with nearly straight edges, short barbs, and short stem.


Bronze arrowhead, Greek, Macedonian, c. 360 - 300 B.C., 3.4 cm long; trilobate with straight edge, sharp barbs, no stem. Arrowheads with barbs and no stem are almost exclusively Achaemenid Persian. This arrowhead may be misidentified or perhaps the stem is broken and missing.


Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., 3.2 cm long; trilobate Arrowhead with straight edge with curved ends, no barbs, long socketed stem.


Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., 2.8 cm long; trilobate with straight edge, no stem, internal socket.


Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., 2.1 cm long; trilobate with nearly straight edges, no stem, internal socket.


Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., 3.1 cm long; trilobate, medium stem; blunted tip.


Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., 21 mm long; trilobate with straight edge, no stem, internal socket, barbs.


Met Collection 98.11.33c. Bronze arrowhead, Hellenistic Greek, 300 - 100 B.C., length 3.8 cm, trilobate with straight blades, no stem, barbs, hole for rivet to secure shaft.

Greek Trilobate, c. 630 - 30 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Triblade
     - Sharp tips
     - Earlier more often with rhombic head with pronounced blade angles
     - Later more often with pronounced straight blades

Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C.

Standard Achaemenid Military Arrowhead, c. 550 - 330 B.C.

By far the most common Achaemenid Persian types are triblades, most often with broad, more angular, rhombic blades and almost no socket stem. These arrowheads were standard equipment for the Persian army. Schmidt discovered over 3600 examples at the treasury in Persepolis. Illustrations of these Achaemenid Persian standard types from Stronach, figure 94, follow below:


Sizes of the blades above range from 2.1 cm to 3.5 cm long.



Met Collection 26.199.297. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, 550 - 330 B.C., length 3.3 cm; cf. Malloy Weapons 111; Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8; Tushingham Fig. 69, 20v; trilobate rhombic head, triangular medial projections widen to short socket. Found at Sardis. This triblade type was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen. Schmidt discovered over 3600 examples at the treasury in Persepolis.



Met Collection 26.199.298. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, 550 - 330 B.C., length 3.0 cm; cf. Malloy Weapons 111; Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8; Tushingham Fig. 69, 20v; trilobate rhombic head, short socket. Found at Sardis. This triblade type was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen. Schmidt discovered over 3600 examples at the treasury in Persepolis.


Malloy Weapons 109. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., trilobate deltoid head with broad angular blades, short socket, length 2.5 cm, cf. Muscarella 322, Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8, Tushingham fig. 69, 20 var. A quantity of similar arrowheads were excavated at Pasargadae, an Achaemenid site. This was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen.

Malloy Weapons 110. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., trilobate deltoid head with broad angular blades, short socket, length 2.3 cm, cf. Muscarella 322, Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8, Tushingham fig. 69, 20 var. 3600 arrowheads were excavated at Persepolis, the grand capitol of the Achaemenid empire. This triblade type was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen.

Malloy Weapons 111. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., length 3 cm; cf. Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8; Met Collection 26.199.297; Tushingham Fig. 69, 20v; trilobate lanceolate head, some angulation to the broad blades, medium socket. This triblade type was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen.


Met Collection 1978.93.16 (= Muscarella 322). Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, c. 550 - 330 B.C., length 3 cm; cf. Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8; Stronach pp. 218-219, fig. 94, no. 5; trilobate deltoid head with broad angular blades, short socket. The number of finds of this type indicate it was standard equipment for Achaemenian bowmen. Found at Pasargadae, Tall-i Takht; unstratified.


Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian Empire, 550 - 330 B.C., 3.0 cm long; trilobate bladed head, socketed, no stem, cf. Malloy Weapons 111, Tushingham Fig. 69, 20v, Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 8. This triblade type was standard equipment for Achaemenid bowmen.


Bronze arrowhead, Egyptian, Persian Period, 525 B.C. - 404 B.C., 3.2 cm long; Schmidt Persepolis 8; trilobate bladed socketed arrowhead, with very short stem. Found in Egypt.

Standard Achaemenid Military Arrowhead, c. 550 - 330 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze
     - Triblade
     - Broad, angular, rhombic head
     - Conical socket
     - Almost no socket stem.
     - Mostly about 2.5 - 3.0 cm long

Achaemenid-Egyptian, c. 550 - 400 B.C.


Malloy Weapons 108. Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid-Egyptian, c. 550 - 400 B.C., triangular broad-head blade, barbs, no stem, long thin tapering tang, length 7.5 cm, cf. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 96, Schmidt Persepolis -. Similar arrowheads found in Egypt date to the XXVII (Persian) Dynasty (525 B.C. - 404 B.C.). Chips to end of barbs.


Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid-Egyptian, 525 B.C. - 404 B.C., 6.5 cm long; cf. Malloy Weapons 108; Petrie Tools pl. XLI 121, 122, 136; Malloy Auction XXV 68; triangular broad-head blade, long tang, protruding barbs; one side chipped. Found in Egypt.

Achaemenid-Egyptian, c. 550 - 400 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Bilobate
     - Broad triangular blade.
     - Long thin tapering tang
     - No stem or stop flange.
     - Sometimes with barbs
Anomalous Achaemenid Types, c. 550 - 330 B.C.


Bronze arrowhead, Achaemenid, 500 - 330 B.C., 2.8 cm long; Schmidt Persepolis pl. 76, 17; bronze arrowhead, square cross section, with two long sharp barbs and two short barbs, socket, no stem, very rare.


Met Collection 1978.93.56. Bronze Arrowhead, Achaemenid Persian, 500 - 330 B.C., length 2.4 cm; Muscarella 184 (= Met specimen); Schmidt Persepolis plate 76 ; leaf shaped, with a midrib, no tang, two barbs parallel to the blade. Found at Shahr-i-Qumis (ancient Hecatompylos) (between Semnan and Damqan in the Semnan Province, Iran) 67/67, Site VIII, Room 2, surface find, Parthian period find (but an older Achaemenid manufacture?).

Anomalous Achaemenid Types, c. 550 - 330 B.C.

Identification Keys:

     - Achaemenid-Scythian: Bilobate lanceolate types including types with a spur. Less common than the trilobate types and indistinguishable from similar Graeco-Scythian types.

     - Bodkin points: Less common than the trilobate types and indistinguishable from Iron Age or Greek types.

     - Barbed with interior socket: Unusual types with bilobate, trilobate, and square cross-section heads with barbs and no stem, are rare and appear to be uniquely Achaemenid and Parthian.


Parthian, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D.


Parthian Arrowheads, 247 B.C. - 224 A.D.

During the Parthian period, barbed trilobate types emerged and became the most popular type. Each new generation of trilobate arrowhead did not totally supersede the earlier types. Non-barbed trilobate arrowheads continued to be used. These barbed and non-barbed arrowheads are found at Dura-Europus from the Parthian-Roman struggles and through the Parthian occupation. These trilobate arrowheads are often called Roman, but they are not Roman; they are Parthian. They are rarely found in Roman cities in the Levant and are not found at all in the African or European Roman world.


Malloy Weapons 115. Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 4 cm, trilobate socketed head with wide barbed blades. cf. Muscarella 180. A scarcer type.

Malloy Weapons 116. Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.3 cm, socketed trilobate head, with barbs, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 69 - 71, Muscarella 180. A larger example than above.

Malloy Weapons 117. Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 2.4 cm, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 69, Muscarella 180, socketed trilobate head, with barbs. The barbs started in the late Hellenistic period. The Parthians used the trilobate barbed arrrowhead extensively.

Malloy Weapons 118. Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 2.1 cm, Petrie Tools pl. XLI 69, Muscarella 180, socketed trilobate head with barbs. A gem example of this Parthian type head.



Montilla 521 - 526 (see descriptions and MET Collection images below)



Met Collection 51.44.3 (= Montilla 521). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.18 cm, sharp angular trilobate solid deltoid head with arched notches at base creating barbs (these type of barbs are sometimes described as ribs), long socketed stem slightly widening. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.



Met Collection 61a.66.1 (= Montilla 522). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 4.7 cm, long narrow lanceolate (leaf-shaped) triblade head, medium length socketed conoid stem. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.

Met Collection 61.66.2 (= Montilla 523). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.3 cm, sharp angular trilobate solid deltoid head with arched notches at base creating barbs, medium length socketed stem. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.



Met Collection 61.66.3 (= Montilla 524). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.2 cm, lanceolate (leaf-shaped) trilobate solid head, long socketed stem. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.

Met Collection 61.66.4 (= Montilla 525). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 2.79 cm, four-sided (square cross-section) lanceolate (leaf shaped) arrowhead, no barbs, short socketed stem. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.

Met Collection 61.66.5 (= Montilla 526). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 2.69 cm, triblade deltoid head, medium-long socketed stem. Reputedly found at Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran.



Met Collection 69.24.23 (= Muscarella 180). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.51 cm; trilobate, three sharp blades and a hollow socket. Surface find at Shahr-i-Qumis (between Semnan and Damqan in the Semnan Province, Iran).

 
Met Collection 63.102.6 (= Muscarella 173). Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., trilobate, socketed, found at Yarim Tepe (9 kilometers southeast of Gonbad or 3 km northwest of Daregaz, Khorasan province, northeast Iraq).


Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 2.5 cm long; trilobate with straight edge indents, medium stem; blunted tip.


Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.5 cm long; Petrie Tools pl. XLI 69-71, Muscarella 180, Malloy Weapons 116; socketed trilobate head with barbs.


Bronze arrowhead, Parthian Empire, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D., length 3.8 cm long; Petrie Tools pl. XLI 69-71, Muscarella 180, Malloy Weapons 116; socketed trilobate head with sharp barbs.

Parthian, c. 247 B.C. - 224 A.D.

Identification Keys:

     - Nearly all triblade or trilobate solid.
     - With or without barbs.
     - Socketed cylindrical stem.
     - Mostly small heads with comparatively standard design.


Roman, c. 300 B.C. - 450 A.D.

It must be understood that purely Roman Imperial arrowheads are rare. The Roman legionary preferred hand-to-hand over distance fighting. His main weapons were the short sword, gladius, throwing spear, pilum, and javelin. The javelin point with a tang two to three feet long ended in a solid square point of iron (a bodkin point type). These are rarely found with the tang intact. The basic reason was that the iron head was hammered hard while the tang was not. The relative softness of the tang made it bend upon penetration and rendered it difficult to remove. The British Museum has no complete javelins. These javelin points are sometimes confused with arrowheads.

The Romans did use mercenary auxiliary troops of archers to augment their powerful legions. During the Republican period slingers were often used along with bowmen. These auxiliaries were often dependent or semi-dependent client kingdom troops with special military skills. Horse archers were introduced after the Romans came into conflict with eastern armies that relied heavily on mounted archery in the 1st century B.C., most notably the Parthians. Caesar employed archers against Pompey in the great imperatorial struggles in Spain. By the early 1st century A.D., auxiliary units of entirely foot and horse archers were in widespread use. Germanicus used Gallic and German bowmen in his victories in 14 A.D. Septimius Severus used an auxiliary of mounted archers from Osrhoene in Mesopotamia. Maximus used Syrian bowmen in his eastern Roman army. The Syrians were known for their great skill in archery.

Roman Republican arrowheads vary widely depending on the place of origin of the auxiliary troops producing and using them. Italic arrowheads were more diminutive than their counterparts in the East. Italic trilobate arrowheads are flat-sided with triangular sockets. The western Republican (Hispanic) bilobate arrowhead used a small point and long stem with spur. It was copied after a popular type of the Greeks. We also see some small iron trilobate heads, either barred or not. Some eastern auxiliaries used the same trilobate arrowhead that was employed by the Parthians. Since they cannot be distinguished from the Parthian, they are normally identified as Parthian.

Barbed points identified as Roman are probably misidentified.



Malloy Weapons 119. Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Hispanic). 300 - 100 B.C., biblade head with long socket and extended spur, length 3.8 cm. Petrie Tools -, Savory -. Found in the Cordoba area of Spain.

Malloy Weapons 120. Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Hispanic). 3rd - 1st Century B.C., socketed biblade head with one spur-barb, length 2 cm. Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -. Ex: Villa Julia Collection. Hispanic type found in Italy.

Malloy Weapons 121. Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Hispanic), 2nd century B.C., socketed biblade head with trace of spur, length 3.2 cm. Petrie Tools -, Savory -. Found in the Carmona area of Spain.

Malloy Weapons 122. Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Sicilian), 3rd - 1st century B.C., trilobate head with depressions at each side of the base, creating three tiny barbs, length 1.9 cm. Tushingham _, Petrie Tools _.

Malloy Weapons 123. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Italian), 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., triblade head with defined stem, length 1.7 cm. Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -. Ex: Villa Julia Collection.

Malloy Weapons 124. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Italian), 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., triblade head with small barbs to stem, length 1.3 cm, Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -. Ex: Villa Julia Collection.

Malloy Weapons 125. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Italian), 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., triblade head, indents at sides, length 1.8 cm, Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -. Ex: Villa Julia Collection.

Malloy Weapons 126. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Italian), 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D., triblade head, indent to sides, length 2 cm, Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -. Ex: Villa Julia Collection.

Malloy Weapons 127. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Sicilian). 2nd - 1st century B.C., triblade head, flat sides, stem very short. Small hole on one side, length 1.7 cm, Tushingham _, Petrie Tools _.

Malloy Weapons 128. Bronze arrowhead, Roman (Egyptian). 1st - 3rd century A.D., triangular blades with stem hole, length 2.3 cm, Petrie Tools -. Found in Egypt; of local manufacture. Scarce.


Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Italian), 3rd - 1st century B.C., 1.5 cm long; cf. Malloy Weapons 124, Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -; trilobate with depressions on each side creating three blades, internal triangular socket. Ex Ran Ryan Collection, Rome, 1974 (antiquities dealer), ex Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome de-acquisition, circa 1950’s.


Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Sicily), 2nd - 1st century B.C., 2.0 cm long; cf. Malloy Weapons 128, Tushingham -, Petrie Tools -; trilobate with depressions at each side of side creating three blades, internal triangular socket.


Bronze arrowhead, Roman Republic (Hispania), 3rd - 2nd century B.C., 4.3 cm long, cf. Malloy Weapons 119 var. Found in Spain.

The earliest Roman iron arrowheads and javelin points were three sided, simply copying what was then the standard for cast bronze arrowheads. By the 3rd century A.D. examples with four sides (a square cross section) are found. Iron heads were hammered and four-sided heads were easier to produce.


Malloy Weapons 137a. Iron javelin head, Roman, 2nd Century - 3rd Century A.D., square head, pointed, with tang. Length 4.9 cm. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 157, James p. 11.

Malloy Weapons 137b. Iron javelin head, Roman, 2nd Century - 3rd Century A.D., square head, pointed, with tang. Length 5.6 cm. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 157, James p. 11.

Malloy Weapons 137c. Iron javelin head, Roman, 2nd Century - 3rd Century A.D., square head, pointed, with long tang. Length 8.4 cm. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 157, James p. 11.

Malloy Weapons 137d. Iron javelin head, Roman, 2nd Century - 3rd Century A.D., square head, pointed, with long tang. Length 5.4 cm. Petrie Tools pl. XLI 157, James p. 11.


UK Portable Antiquities Scheme HAMP-E4D0B5. Iron Arrowhead, Roman, 200 - 410 A.D, weight 6g, length 47.4mm, width 12.8mm, thickness 8mm, cf. Manning BMC type I, pl, 85, 280-281, trilobate head, flaring conical stem socket now filled with soil with a probable piece of wood remaining. Found in Hampshire.


Met Collection 29.158.637. Iron arrowhead for incendiary arrow, Roman Empire, 2nd Century A.D., length 19.1 cm. Found near Vienna, Austria.

Another object used by the Roman legions was the catapult dart or bolt; these were socketed and of larger size. Each legion would have sixty catapults to be employed in sieges; these used the catapult darts.

Roman, c. 300 B.C. - 450 A.D.

Identification Keys:

- The most distinctly "Roman" arrowhead is the very small Italian trilobate type.
     - Tiny compared to other types.
     - Triblade with solid tip, depressions on the sides form diminished straight blades at the angles.
     - No stem.
     - Usually bronze but iron examples exist.
     - A triangular socket is uniquely Italian-Roman.

Auxiliary types:

- The great variety of mercenary Roman auxiliary arrowhead types are indistinguishable from those of the place of origin of the auxiliary troops producing and using them.
- As an attribution, Roman, refers not just strictly to the Empire, but also to the Roman era. Unless, however, an arrowhead is from a known, dated, Roman site, most arrowheads, even from the Roman period, can be more accurately be described as Italian, Sicilian, Greek, Gallic, Hispanic, Persian, Egyptian, etc., as appropriate.

Eastern Roman-Byzantine, c. 450 A.D. - 1453 A.D.

The use of bows as an important weapon for the Roman Army originated in the East in the later 4th and earlier 5th centuries to help the Roman Army counter the Sasanian Persian and Hunnic bow-armed cavalry. By the 5th century, there were numerous Roman cavalry regiments trained to use the bow as a supplement to their swords and lances, but these sagittarii appeared to have actually used the bow as their primary rather than as a supplemental weapon. According to the Notitia Dignitatum, most units of sagittarii, especially equites sagittarii, were in the Eastern empire or in Africa. Possibly some of the other cavalry regiments there carried bows as back-up weapons, but were not the dedicated mounted archers that the sagittarii were. By the time of Procopius' histories and Maurikios's Strategikon, the main effective field arm of Roman armies was cavalry, many of them armed with bows. After the fall of the Western empire, Eastern Roman armies maintained their tradition of horse archery for centuries.

Eastern Roman-Byzantine, c. 450 - 650 A.D.


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 5th - 6th Century A.D., cf. Horedt, Dacia X, 1966, p. 281, 2; 32 mm long; trilobate, flat sides, elongated straight edges.


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 5th - 6th Century A.D., 21 mm long; trilobate solid, flat sides, straight edges, short grooves on each side form blades near base


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 5th - 6th Century A.D., 1.8 cm long; trilobate solid, flat sides, straight edges, arc notch in each side at base creating short stem and blades.



Met Collection 98.11.33b. Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 5th - 6th Century A.D.; length 3.2 cm, trilobate solid, flat sides, straight edges, internal socket, grooves forming blades with short barbs


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 5th - 7th Century A.D.; 2.1 cm long; trilobate solid, straight edges with angle to tip, internal socket, grooves forming blades

Eastern Roman-Byzantine, c. 450 - 600 A.D.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze.
     - Trilobate solid triangular in cross section and with triangular flat sides.
     - Diminished blades and sometimes a pseudo-stem are formed by shallow grooves in the sides from the base.

Eastern Roman-Byzantine, c. 600 - 1000 A.D.


AH68357. Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 7th - 10th Century A.D.; cf. Horedt, Dacia X, 1966, p. 281, 3; 3.0 cm long; trilobate solid tip, with flat sides, short blades with barbs and short stem formed by grooves in the sides.


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 7th - 10th Century A.D.; cf. Horedt, Dacia X, 1966, p. 281, 3; 3.0 cm long; trilobate solid tip, with flat sides, short blades with sharp barbs and short stem formed by deep grooves in the sides at the base.


AA36852. Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 7th - 10th Century A.D.; cf. Horedt, Dacia X, 1966, p. 281, 3; 1.8 cm long; trilobate, straight edges with angle to point.


Bronze arrowhead, Byzantine, 7th - 10th Century A.D.; cf. Horedt, Dacia X, 1966, p. 281, 3; 2.0 cm long; trilobate, solid tip with blades down side of socket.

Eastern Roman-Byzantine, c. 600 - 1000 A.D.

Identification Keys:

     - Bronze trilobate solid/triblade hybrid.
     - Trilobate solid tip.
     - The shallow grooves used earlier are expanded to form full blades down the sides of the socket/stem to the base


PART 2: Identifying Medieval Metal Arrowheads

Appendices




WORKING AREA BELOW:



Met Collection 98.11.33d. Bronze arrowhead, unidentified, length 2.1 cm. Roman?????



Met Collection 98.11.33f. Bronze arrowhead, unidentified, length 2.4 cm.  Roman????