The most common offensive weapon used by the Mesopotamians was the bow and arrow. Other frequently used weapons included spears, javelins, maces with stone heads, battle-axes with metal blades, daggers and swords with sickle-shaped blades used for slashing. Sling shots were also used.
The introduction of the composite bow was the most dramatic advance in weaponry in Mesopotamia, and it occurred during the second half of the third millennium B.C. The composite bow consisted of multiple layers of material such as wood, bone and sinew that were glued together. The composite nature of the bow increased its strength, which was sometimes further enhanced by bonding together wood from different types of trees. The greater tensile strength of the bow increased the velocity and distance of the arrows it fired, giving an accurate range of 300 to 400 feet, and a maximum range that cold double that.
Developments in weaponry led to developments in armor, which drove further developments in weaponry and perpetuated this exchange. For example, the introduction of the metal helmet led to the introduction of a battle-axe with a head similar to that of an adze to pierce the helmet's metal shell.
The materials used to construct military equipment were largely responsible for the equipment's archaeological survival. Perishable wood, linen and leather disintegrated, but the bronze and iron of arrowheads, spearpoints, axe-blades and armor endured.