Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Paleo Finds

It seems that an atlatl dart has turned up in a Rocky Mountain snowbank.
The dart was made from a birch sapling and still carried personal markings from the ancient hunter. When it was shot, the 3-foot-long (0.9 meter) dart had a projectile point on one end, and a cup or dimple on the other that would have attached to a hook on throwing tool called an atlatl.
Very cool.

I find stuff like this fascinating. Man has been a hunter for as long as we've been walking upright. I've never tried to use an atlatl, but understand that they're fairly difficult to master.


Rivrdog said...

I built one as a kid. They aren't difficult to learn to use, but they ARE difficult to use in any way that will kill.

The launcher has to be brought downward in it's correct circular path to just get the dart into flight, but to get enough velocity on the dart to penetrate a game animal fatally, it has to be brought downward VERY fast, sharply and with precision.

Those three movements are what are hard to master, not the basic trick of throwing the dart. I never did get the short-muscle strength as a kid to be able to get enough velocity on the dart to make the atlatl into a real weapon.

Michael W. said...

I saw this on Fred Thompson's facebook page. I wonder if it's related? (grin)

"Researchers say they have found a 10,000 year old hunting weapon near Yellowstone National Park. And laying next to it was a 10,000 year old Democrat trying to ban it......."

Old NFO said...

Dammit Micheal, I just cleaned the monitor... *grumble* :-)

Melissa said...

Very neat indeed, especially the organic finds! I have tried on multiple occasions to throw an atlatl properly as part of a previous job teaching kids about Native Americans. God help me if I ever had to throw it in order to eat. The witty adage about vegetarian being the indian word for bad hunter? That would be me.

Zdogk9 said...

The person doing the demo in this does hunt with it.

Hobie said...

I'm glad you posted this!