Transcript: Meadowcroft – What is an atlatl? [VIDEO]

Hi. I’m Jim Ulery. I’ve worked here at Meadowcroft since 2012 and in that time I’ve become pretty familiar with the atlatl aka the throwing stick, which is what our Native American friends would have used prior to using a bow and arrow.

So in its simplest form, this is an atlatl that I made out of ironwood. In the back of the atlatl you’ll have this protrusion. We refer to this as a spur, okay. Mine is just carved into the wood here. On our Native American friends’ atlatl it might have been a piece of antler, or a piece of bone or something, even a piece of polished stone they would have hafted it onto the atlatl.

Basically, some atlatls have a little bit of flex that can impart a little bit of spring energy. Some atlatls are stiff. It just becomes an extra lever to your throwing arm.

Here’s an atlatl we sell up in our gift shop, okay, these are made for us. This atlatl has a little modern convenience to it and it has a rest here, and these are similar to the darts we sell up at the gift shop. Our dart has a dimple in the back. That indentation, that’s going to fit with the spur of your atlatl. And a lot of modern atlatl-ists have this kind of rest on their atlatl so the dart will sit in there right like that.