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Definition of what is a traditional bow, or what is a traditional shooting style, varies widely between cultures. Some of those most recently discovering tneir archery traditions use carbon or aluminium arrows -good quality bamboo shafts being expensive, while others include carbon/glass fibre versions of their ancient bows, horn and sinew composites being hard to obtain and requiring care in use.

Thanks to the resurgence of interest over the last decade, many cultures are rediscovering skills and crafts to pass on to future generations. Archaeological finds contribute to an understanding of the technology of bowmaking, while increasing numbers of archers are searching for texts and references to their archery culture.

The bows which SPTA promotes are many and varied. Classifications for it's events in the UK are based on recognised bow types within the UK, including composites and beginners bows -see the 'Types of bow' link, left, and arrows for SPTA events must be of natural materials (wood or bamboo/cane) with natural feather fletchings.

SPTA was the first Society to actively promote 'Primitive' bows at it's events, and encourages these at its bowmaking workshops. It also began promoting competitive horseback archery in the UK in 1998.

Some traditional competitions are particular to individual cultures, the Mongolian 'surs' for example, and SPTA includes various types of competition in it's main event -the annual St Georges shoot.

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