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Design and construction of Australian spearthrower projectiles and handthrown spears

Author(s): John L Palter

Year: 1977

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J. Whittaker: Ethnographic specimens: 33 hand-thrown and 293 spear thrower spears [unfortunately not illustrated].

Hypothesized diffusion after 10,000 bp, but thrower not used all over Australia.

Two length groups of spear thrower spears: 1) average 160 cm, 2) average 260cm. Hand-thrown spears average 267 cm.

Mass: Hand-thrown average 740 gm, thrower average 246 gm.

Decreased mass allows maximum velocity - led to composite reed spears, with hardwood points.

Balance: spear thrower spears: weight forward, 32-40% and 42-46% of length from tip, while hand-thrown spears typically 46-50%.

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Cite this Record

Design and construction of Australian spearthrower projectiles and handthrown spears. John L Palter. Archaeology and Physical Anthropology in Oceania. 12 (3): 161-172. 1977 ( tDAR id: 415883)


Atlatl Hunting Weapon

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 112.952; min lat: -43.648 ; max long: 153.606; max lat: -10.71 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager

Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 2137


Rights & Attribution: The information in this record was originally compiled by Dr. Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC Director.

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America