Pyramids of Giza, Wikimedia

Quotes: Atlatl

Carved atlatl at the National Museum of Anthro...

Carved atlatl at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City.

To go with the article Ancient Technology: Atlatl, Super Weapon

Quote from, “The great innovation of Atlatl weights in the evolution of this technology bears the mark of true genius.”

Now that’s the right way to use the word Evolution!  It comes about by the application of intelligence.  In biology, Infinite Genius took no time at all to arrive at the best possible solution to the desired result.

Quote from Ingenium: Atlatl, “It seems that archaeologists had concluded that the atlatl really wasn’t a very good weapon. But when Bob started actually working with them he learned that by using a flexible dart instead of the rigid darts that the professional archaeologists had been using, the atlatl was revealed to be a very efficient weapon indeed.”

Once more we see that Evolutionary, ‘we’re the best there’s ever been,’ thinking turns out to be backwards.  The “primitives” were way smarter than Darwinian archeology gave them credit for.

Quotes from Dons Maps: Atlatl, “It launches projectiles at high speeds, kills at 40 metres and can even be fitted with a silencer. Kurt Kleiner reveals the surprising sophistication of a 25 000 year old weapon.”

Does it surprise you?  It doesn’t surprise me!  Check out what the same article says about modern engineers,

“he is one of a group of people who have been studying the mechanics of this primitive weapon and found it to be surprisingly sophisticated. Using modern engineering concepts and experimental techniques, they are rediscovering ancient construction methods that make subtle but important improvements to the weapon’s performance.”

I suppose this would have to be classified as “Paleo”mimicry?

Again from Dons Maps,

“According to archaeological evidence, the atlatl first made its appearance between 25 000 and 40 000 years ago in the region that today encompasses Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.”

But the World Atlatl site says that there is no proof of Atlatl use in Africa.  And Daryl Hrdlicka of the Jeffers Petroglyphs Historic Site says,

” While it was used extensively in North and South America, Australia, and Indonesia, the rest of the world seems to have missed it. Except for a few artifacts found in France, it’s not found in Europe; except for some Siberian Aleuts, it’s not found in Asia; and except for some references in Sumerian, it’s not found in Africa. These cultures seemed to go directly from spears to the bow.”

I think I’ll pass this on to my Ice Age collecting colleague, because many sites say the same thing as Dons Maps!

Also from Dons Maps,

“‘The physics and math is all in here,’ Perkins says, weighing an atlatl in his hand at a recent workshop on primitive technology held near Phoenix, Arizona. ‘It really impresses me, the ability of these ancient people to be able to do this. They certainly didn’t have calculus. Wave mechanics, they didn’t know that. But they knew intuitively.'”

Prove they didn’t know it! Which is easier, wave mechanics or earth wobble geometry? They knew how to measure the earth, build ocean going vessels and make accurate world maps, why not wave calculus?

I ran into a technical article on how precise you have to be in the size and length of dart points and shafts to keep your weapon effective.  Here is Bob Perkin’s closing statement, “A complete understanding  of this impressively complex weapon must be achieved before any single component can be properly analyzed. So long as it is thought of and referred  to a “spear thrower” that will never happen.”

This same guy had this to say about these people,

“I’ve made the study of atlatls and the technology they represent my life work.  Every time I think that I have learned or discovered nearly all there is to know about the physics of this most ancient of weapon systems, something new arises and I am humbled again by the obvious sophistication of the ancient mind.  Ancient people were every bit as intelligent as we are today. In fact H we were able to go back in time we would find a species as capable and intelligent as ourselves. Simply because we live in an age of super computers doesn’t mean that we possess the license to label primitive technology as crude or to claim that every idea we come up with today is original.”

Woo hoo! Whose Worldview is being proven accurate this time?

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?
Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.  Isaiah 45:9-12

Atlatl Painting: WikiCommons

Ancient Technology: Atlatl, Super Weapon

Poised to launch a dart from an atlatl

[pick your favorite pronunciation: at-lah-t’l, ott-lottle,  or atl-atl from the Aztec]

It’s been 200 years since your family returned to dry land and started repopulating the world. The dragons, elephants, and other really big animals have been busy having babies as well. Your clan is travelling to some pleasantly lonely location where you plan to settle down and name a city after yourself.  But for right now, you just want to find something tasty for supper and that mammoth over the ridge sure looks good. So you pull out your trusty atlatl that Grandpapa Noah himself helped you carve along with the dart your sweetheart fletched for you and call your strapping older boys to help catch some grub.

One of the many exciting things I learned about researching for this blog was the weapon I’m going to talk about today. I’d never even heard of this thing before! Yet, as I study this out, quite a few of our ancestors would be shocked that we could have so nearly forgotten what helped them survive and thrive after the Flood.

Paleolithic spear-thrower showing an Ibex.

Paleolithic spear-thrower showing an Ibex.

According to Evolutionary timelines, the Atlatl or Spear Thrower has been in use for 40,000 years with evidence dating to 25,000 years ago. Basically, we have examples going as far back as we can find evidence of people living all around the world as it now is. Here are some of the early examples of Spear Throwers:

I tried to find early samples from Africa because many sites will tell you that is where they were first used.  But I couldn’t find any. Turns out some other people completely disagree with this assumption (see more in my Quotes article). Does this make them change their story to the public? Not likely.

Atlatl Throw

Atlatl Throw (Photo credit: Kordite)

So why were our early forefathers so fond of this strange seeming thing? Although the Atlatl comes in many forms and sizes, the thing they all share is leverage and spring action. The actual flying part of the weapon is known as a “dart” although it is longer than an arrow and even more flexible. A grown man using a reproduction Atlatl is capable of sending a dart accurately at speeds of 90mph [145kph] over distances of more than 656ft [200m]. The penetration into a target is far better than modern bullets, so they could strike deep into a large animal’s flesh.

Flexing Dart

Flexing Dart (Photo credit: Buzz Hoffman)

When early archeologists found some of these things, they tried recreating them using stiff spears as the flying weapon. It was a miserable failure. So, they figured they’d got it all wrong and kept trying different missiles, right? No, being Evolutionary in their thinking, they figured these ancient people were numbskulls who couldn’t do any better and felt superior. Finally in the 1980s a man named Bob Perkins figured out that they were using the wrong missile. This guy has been studying more and more about how amazing these first weapons really were.

If you look at the links I’ve listed, you will see that the Atlatl comes in a lot of different versions. One of the more interesting variations is the stone weight that was often strapped to it in the eastern US areas.  There are a number of theories about their purpose including, ” balance weights, sound silencers, performance enhancers, and…” the favorite catchall for unknown objects “charmstones.” Personally, I like Atlatl Bob’s idea of them being silencers.

For lots more check out my Quotes of the Day.

The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.  Psalm 145:15-19

There are several modern manufacturers for the Atlatl, this one has some cool pictures and recreations.