Researchers were astonished when, upon opening the quiver, they found only two finished arrows along with a dozen rough arrow shafts.
The unfinished shafts are between 84 and 87 cm long and made of the shoots of viburnum sapwood. The bark had been removed, but they had not yet been smoothed. All had notches cut into the ends.
Both finished arrows had flint arrowheads fixed to the shaft with birch tar and then bound with thread. The other ends bear the remains of three-part radial fletching attached with birch tar and thin nettle thread.
The fletching served to stabilize the arrow during flight.
It is the first time that fletching had ever been preserved on prehistoric arrows. One of the arrows had a two-part shaft with a short extension of dogwood inserted into the main shaft.
According to technical archaeologist Harm Paulsen, the two arrows could not have been fashioned by the same person. The fletching shows that one was wound by a left-hander and the other by a right-hander. Furthermore, the arrow with the extended tip was too long for the Iceman’s quiver.