Here is an update on one of my favorite throwers. It was created one morning from a scrap of Osage Orange wood from the bow-making pile. The finger loops are rawhide. The style is a generalized Basketmaker/Great Basin but is probably a bit heavier than some of the originals as I throw darts that are … Continue reading Basketmaker Style Spearthrower 13 Years On
I've added a photo gallery in the sidebar to the right of the main blog feed. I think nearly all these projects have been shared here over the years but this makes for easy viewing. I'll continue to add images and re-post some older work as I get time so please check back feel free … Continue reading Photo Gallery
I study the technology of prehistory. Because of this, I believe strongly in the benefits of experiential archaeology. It gives perspective on a very deep level. We can walk in the shoes of our ancestors, so to speak. I say experiential here not experimental and I'm glad to hear this word coming into the dialog … Continue reading Learning by Replication
Power Tools and Preindustrial Technology Recently, I realized I needed to make a new batch of darts (spears) for an annual atlatl event at Blackwater Draw. This is a recurring problem when teaching large groups, so several years ago I came up with a system that works well for mass producing these Ice-Age weapons with … Continue reading Making Modern Spearthrower Darts (Atlatl)
A quick follow-up on yesterday's post in the wee hours of the morning. Based on a question that came in yesterday it seems appropriate to show the thrower in use. This is my favorite dart but I'm a little embarrassed by the sloppy fletching. The base (proximal end) of the dart is carved out … Continue reading Spear Thrower Follow Up
I recently finished another Paleolithic inspired spear thrower (a.k.a. atlatl). This came about due to some throwing over the past year that re-energized my feelings about this technology and it's sporting aspects. As usual for this type of project, I made several at once since the tools were at hand. Here's a quick rundown on … Continue reading More Paleolithic Technology in the Shop
I recently got around to repairing my partner's atlatl for an upcoming throw at the Landmark. It's been in use for seven years now and suffered some dings as well as losing it's wooden hook. The handle is oak and the original cocobolo hook has been replaced with antler which will hopefully last a lifetime. … Continue reading Spear Throwing Time
For the past twenty or more years the technology of the spear-thrower has become more and more well-known as a sport. Popularly called an atlatl in the Americas as that was the name the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs gave it. This is a world-wide technology and arguably one of the greatest technological leaps for early modern humans. … Continue reading Atlatls Gone Wild
Photos from the October 2010 Atlatl Competition are up. Windy weather added a new level of difficulty to the target throws. The turnout was excellent with participants traveling from as far as Roswell, northern New Mexico, and Austin to take part in our event. Thanks to everyone who came.
A gaggle of new spear throwers in the Upper Paleolithic tradition. Not ivory, just oak. I have needed a bunch to use as loaners at demonstrations and events. Hopefully these will do the trick.
I am double posting this from my professional blog because I think it is really remarkable. A cave find from southeast New Mexico. From time to time, we receive donations from private individuals. After a few phone calls back and forth, I arranged to meet with someone who wanted to show me a dart she … Continue reading Wooden Spear
These pictures capture the enormous flex that a dart undergoes during the throw. Not quite as evident is the flex in the atlatl itself. This one takes on a shallow "S" curve. This was an unfinished river cane shaft. It had been somewhat straightened but no forshaft or point were attached. If they were, there … Continue reading Dart and atlatl flex