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Javelins
#1
Hello all,

I'm slowly getting together arms for an Achaemenid javelineer impression, hopefully using points of this type, and if not, then the nearest thing I can find or make.  I suppose it could also be a very large arrowhead, but I'm assuming it's a javelin head because that's what Roger Moorey identified them as.

How many should I have?  And what's the minimum thickness and wood type that makes an okay javelin that won't break too easily?  The only dowels the hardware stores around here stock are poplar and red oak, and max out at 48 inches/122cm.

If I need any other type or greater length, I'll have to send away for it...  there are also broom handles which often seem to be made of good hardwood and are a bit longer, but they start at 1 inch thick and I think that's a bit too much for such a small point with a tiny neck.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#2
Making shafts from saplings or coppiced branches is better because you have the sapwood, heartwood, and growth rings intact, which gives more strength and flexibility. Modern dowels are usually cut from much larger trees, which compromises its mechanical properties. You would need a thicker and heavier dowel to compensate for the inferior material.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#3
Understood.  If I did use hardware store dowels, how thick should they be in that case?
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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#4
I'd be inclined to think from the size (4.5 inches long) and the tang that the head you illustrated is an arrow-head, probably designed for a  reed shaft.
Javelin heads that are tanged and of very similar shape (e.g. Elamite javelin heads) are twice the size (circa 9 inches long). Shafts are quite variable, generally from 3-5 ft, with many around 4 ft. Likewise the diameter too varied with longer heavier javelins being thicker, but diameters  from 0.6-1.0 inches are not untypical, with many around 0.75 inch diameter.

Javelin shafts too could be of reed, especially tanged ones.

These figures should be treated as a rough guide since javelins could vary considerably depending on period and culture.
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#5
I've been examining reeds for arrow shafts, and while the ones I have may not be the strongest (nor have I tested them yet), it seems to me they'd have to be a LOT stronger to support a point that large. A bamboo shaft could do it, but I don't think bamboo historically ranged into Iran or West Asia.

I've seen bronze points for sale (ostensibly molded from originals) as javelin heads that are as little as 3 inches, though I suppose they could have been unusual-looking ballista bolt heads.
Dan D'Silva

Far beyond the rising sun
I ride the winds of fate
Prepared to go where my heart belongs,
Back to the past again.

--  Gamma Ray

Well, I'm tough, rough, ready and I'm able
To pick myself up from under this table...

--  Thin Lizzy

Join the Horde! - http://xerxesmillion.blogspot.com/
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