What is an atlatl?
An atlatl, or spear-thrower, is a wooden or bone stick with a hook on one end that you can use to throw a spear farther than you could throw it without using an atlatl.
Who invented the atlatl?
People began using atlatls in Europe during the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age, around 17,000 BC. They probably came to North America with the people who crossed the Bering Land Bridge about 15,000 BC, or when people came in boats maybe.
How do you use an atlatl?
You put your spear into the hooked end, and then you use the atlatl (aht-LAH-tull) to push the spear. It gives you more leverage so the push is harder and the spear goes farther.
How far can you throw with an atlatl?
A good atlatl will let you throw a spear more than 100 meters (about 100 yards). That’s about a block, or the length of a football field. You used an atlatl to spear fish, and to hunt big animals like deer or bison or mammoths.
Improvements to the atlatl
Once people began using atlatls, they gradually made them better and better. They added leather loops on the end that went over your fingers.
They attached stone weights to the middle of the atlatl to make them push harder, and they began to use lighter spears that were really more like darts or arrows (Maybe this led people to invent the bow and arrow). People also made small atlatls for kids to learn how to use them.