Archers were an important part of the Egyptian army, if not the most important part of all. The powerful composite bow, made from laminated strips of wood, was probably introduced by the Hyksos invaders prior to the New Kingdom, and was certainly in use by Egyptian troops from the time of Akhenaten (the Amarna period as it is often known). It was a very effective weapon that was said to be capable of shooting an arrow able to pierce a copper sheet three fingers thick.
Troops such as these fought in the campaigns of Ramesses II against the Hittites and their Canaanite allies, when the pharaoh engaged the Hittite King Muwatallis II in battle at Kadesh in 1274 BC. On that occasion they probably had little opportunity to use their deadly weapons, suddenly finding themselves ambushed by Hittite chariots emerging from concealed positions as they marched towards the Canaanite city.
These archers wear a form of laminated banded armour, probably made from stiffened cloth, and a frontal flap that covers the groin – probably also made from reinforced fabric. Their characteristic cloth headgear could be a form of padded armour, or plaited headdress, or it might be a simple cloth covering a helmet. In any case it afforded some protection for troops in the thick of battle.