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 in a shallow cone and reinforced with some very fine hemp, coated in hide glue. The indent should not be too deep or the hook only catches the rim and will break off bits when thrown. It should “bottom out” for best contact.
The hook is pulled out here to show length. I find that if the hole and pin are too deep, the release is not smooth as it binds up during the throw.
Nothing magic, just a technology we all knew back in our family past. I should say that there are three primary types if connection for spear throwers; this on just seems the most popular. I hope to address the others sometime down the road.
I am very interested in the European Upper Paleolithic. There are many amazing artifacts of antler and bone known from good archaeological contexts. Having lugged a load of antler and bones around over the last several years, it seemed to be time to make some new goodies. I went through a phase 15-20 years ago cutting and shaping using only purely traditional means, so I know it can be a long, slow process. For these tools I used steel saws, files, and sandpaper to speed up the process but even with these conveniences there are many hours in these points.
I’ve always liked the look of these points and it seems clear to me why these were effective weapons used from 25,000-30,000 years ago across Eurasia to almost present day in parts of the Arctic. However, until I made a few, I didn’t really appreciate how deadly and functional these points are. As each barb is carved and sharpened, there becomes nowhere to hold the point safely while working without wrapping it in buckskin. Not just a thrusting weapon, harpoon, or spear; I can imaging thrusting this into a rodent or badger den, using the barbs to pull out a good meal.
The plastic nature of antler will give these tools long life and resistance to breakage and can be re-sharpened many times.
The scraps are becoming arrow points like the one above. Some will be made to modern legal specifications so that they may be used for hunting in the coming seasons.