SINEW Sinew is the term used to describe tendon or ligament in more formal English. It is the cord that connects muscle to bone or bone to bone in skeletal animals. Like rope, it is made up of bundles of bundles of bundles as shown in this anatomical illustration. For our purposes, sinew is a … Continue reading The Magic of Sinew
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)
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
And in some spare time, I carved a spear thrower inspired by the an Old World Upper Paleolithic design. This one is made from seasoned shagbark hickory (carya ovata) from my old farm. It would certainly be handy as a multi-purpose tool to a hunter-gatherer and could easily serve as a club or throwing stick … Continue reading Spear Thrower
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
Finished a new atlatl this morning. Created from a scrap of Osage Orange wood. The style is a generalized Basketmaker but a bit heavier than some. It has no weight attached yet but I will probably make one just for the "tradition". It throws well; even with my heavy Clovis-style darts.