Archaeologists have struggled to understand the purpose of these items which were usually found face down (frowning) around the collarbone or at the right hip/butt-cheek. As you will read, several archaeologists viewed them as functional, perhaps as a toggle or clasp for hobbit clothes. Others viewed them more as spiritual or medical amulets, noting how the banding and nocks resemble the roughly contemporary Meare Heath bow and the fact they are more often found with archers.
"Pieces of various shapes were found in male graves of an early phase of the Bell Beaker culture like Boscombe (Fitzpatrick 2011, Fig. 11, Pl. 18), Flomborn (Gebers 1978, 32/38, Taf. 30: 6) and Ilvesheim (Gebers 1978, 126/193e, Taf. 30: 10). They were located on the breast or near the pelvis, in a similar position to the bow-shaped pendants."
|Boscombe Down (Wessex Use)|
Although she doesn't indicate a preference, after reading this paper I'd say that Andrew Fitzpatrick's original idea that these were in someway parts of a quiver seems to make the most sense of the various options. Ordinarily a quiver is worn on the strong side of a Western archer behind the right hip so that he can draw arrows with his weak side. If he was traveling some distance or riding a horse, he may have slung it over the back when not in use.
A quiver needs a ridged mouth so that barbed arrows can be drawn without snagging. Looking at Wenceslas Hollar's drawing of a Bohemian quiver from the Renaissance Period, you'll notice that the mouth of the quiver is crescent shaped. I wonder if a boar's tusk pendant was the frame-lip (visible) of the decorated bag?
|A Bohemian Quiver. Wenceslas Hollar|
Atlantic quivers for long arrows developed slightly different than those of Central Europe, being more of a tiny golf bag design. The English archers also had a flap at the top to cover the fletching. It was either Bosch or Fitzpatrick that suggested the toggle could have been the flap-toggle for the bag.
What I imagine at the closing of the grave is that the archer has one of two common, but not necessarily ridged, configurations for the quiver. One is where the quiver is attached to his belt with the arrowheads pointing down. One example of this would be the Barbing Bowman of Bavaria (although he did not have a boar's tusk).
The other configuration is similar to the Amesbury Archer where the toggle is before him and his arrowheads are behind him pointing the opposite direction. This is more of a horizontal placement of the quiver, perhaps clasped beneath the right arm or possibly the bag was laid directly on top of him. In this case the lip of the bag might be found in the position the tusks have often been found and maybe this is the reason for the position of most pendants.(?)
*In the case where several pendants are found together, then maybe in this case the additional ones form the structure of the bag, as in decorative external ribs. If you look at the picture at the top (and I'm not sure these were found together, but assuming they were), then maybe they are similar to the fuse stations of a aircraft fuselage. And then at the bottom of the bag, perhaps a softwood foot for the arrow points.
Forgot to add the link, here it is:
"About Bow-Shaped and Rod-Shaped Pendants" Daniela Kern, 2016
"The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen: Early Bell Beaker burials at Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Wiltshire" A.P. Fitzpatrick