We will begin with the atlatl (at-lat-tul) spear. Many people will say that the spear must be longer than 5 foot. We have watched people throw spears that were 6 and 7 foot long. As yet have not seen any degree of accuracy at more than 15 yards that was any better than a short spear. It just does not make sense that the people in the Archaic times were dragging around spears that were 6 to 7 feet long for hunting. With the Paleo Spear they did not carry around a bunch of them. They utilized the point attached to a fore shaft and a hole drilled into the end of the spear for fast replacement of the spear head. With the atlatl spear my 9 year old son and I would throw one that was just under 4 foot at 30 yards at a regular size paper pie plate. We would hit the plate 90% of the time with such force the metal point would stick almost 1/2 inch in the tree the plate was pinned to. We used metal so the point would not break, we used these spears with metal for the chunkey games also. We had forgotten the ones with the metal points at one show and when we used the bone point it must have hit a rock in the ground for it broke. This was not done again. It was made from a piece of angle iron bed rail. It was shaped like the bone points used but was much smaller. It did not affect the weight of the atlatl spear much for when we used the bone points they threw the same way. We also did not use any feather fletching attached to the end of the spear. We found this short spear and throwing stick was very effective and even used it to play chunkey with. The following description of making an atlatl and throwing stick is based on what we used and actually threw to a target that was posted 30 yards away and a little over 4 feet off the ground.
In Figure One there is a picture of a lower leg bone of a deer. This material is the closest thing to ivory that I know of and was used by our people for many items and tools. In the bottom you can see that the leg has been cut in half. This is the first step in making an atlatl spear with a bone point that is for killing. Figures Two and Three show the bone cut in shape ready to put on a spear. Also shown is the cut end of a dowel that I bought at a local hardware store. This is my spear and is hard wood four feet long. The black marks are put on with a burning candle and then running the shaft over the flame twisting it as you move down the shaft. This leaves a nice black mark spiraling down the spear shaft.
W hope you enjoy using the atlatl spear and throwing stick as much as my son and I have. We did living history camping for many years and it was nice to use them in the chunkey game. People would stand and watch us and this always got many questions which helped educate them to some of the things of our ancestors and our culture.
This shell shows a warrior with two atlatl spears in one hand and the throwing stick in the other. You can notice the throwing stick is very simple and possibly decorated with a couple of feathers. The atlatl's are more elaborate and show the end where the spear fits on the throwing stick. The points look very sharp.