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Spearthrower

Author(s): Doug Leeth

Year: 2004

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Summary

J. Whittaker: 120 Min. DVD. Starts with info on WAA and ISAC. Richard Lyons outlines prehistory with his board of different models, emphasizing Webb’s Indian Knoll forms, with bannerstone toward hook. Also Eskimo models and Basketmaker-inspired form. Promotes atlatl leading to bow because both flex. DL: Throwing Techniques and atlatl construction, shows several modern models, 2 grips – forward (split finger) or to side, likes former and Bracken’s version, blames closed fist side grip for tendon strains. Bob Berg: Hafting and Fletching, demonstrates use of bannerstone as spindle whorl on rested spindle for making cordage lashings. His theory to explain Webb’s finds: spindle + atlatl stored + buried together in alignment. [Ingenious but not convincing]. Scorches wooden darts with propane torch to straighten and harden. The Younger Generation shows Ethan, 6, throwing. Mark Bracken, Tips on Accuracy, bannerstone as counterweight, dart matched to atlatl, 7’ cane, keep tip still, arm up, wrist flick gives most energy. [Adequate info and demo. If step frame by frame, dart takes 9-10 frames = 1/3 sec to reach target at 20 m, which would = ca 60m/sec - but that would imply about 134 mph, which is unlikely, see Whittaker + Kamp 2007]. DL: Point styles – field pt, copper blade, copper pt or nail embedded in tip like pencil, antler cone. Bamboo and River Cane – DL shows harvest [but interestingly, he uses Berg wooden darts throughout]. Bracken discusses straightening: start with worst spots, over propane flame, does nodes first, then segments. Running Pig target on sloping cord with pulleys. Fletching and Coning Darts – DL, with modern jig. Dart Penetration Test on 5/8” plywood and truck door. Steel broadhead, Archaic Hillsborough, and Clovis points perform similarly, pierce but not transfix, stone tips damaged but not broken. Same broadhead on 1.2 oz arrow with 55 lb bow does similarly on plywood but less penetration on door. [Unsystematic but very effective demonstration – as he notes, since he has killed many deer with arrow and broadhead, the atlatl is just as powerful.] Spearthrowers in Action – random shots of different throwers from variety of angles at an event. [Overall a nice introduction to atlatls with good practical info for modern sport].


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Cite this Record

Spearthrower. Doug Leeth. 2004 ( tDAR id: 423124)


Keywords

General
Atlatl Hunting Weapon

Geographic Keywords
USA

Temporal Keywords
Palaeolithic


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager


Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 9914

Notes

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