My name is Bob Berg and I have been manufacturing atlatls (spear-throwers) and darts (spears) for nearly 25 years. My business is Thunderbird Atlatl, and we are the world's largest atlatl manufacturer.

The atlatl is a spear-throwing weapon that pre-dates the bow and arrow. Here's a picture of an atlatl.

It consists of two parts: the atlatl, a stick about the length of your arm with a hook on one end and a handle on the other, and the dart, a spear that ranges from 5 to 8 feet in length (1.5 to 2.5 meters). Atlatls were used by the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas, Inuits, Australian Aborigines and countless other cultures around the world. It was actually invented independently many different times throughout history.

Here's a video of me explaining what an atlatl is, and why it's superior to throwing your spear by hand.

Ask me anything!


Comments: 132 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

concussion96236 karma

1) How hard is it to live in the shadow of such a glorious mustache?

2) With proper training, how accurate can you be with an atlatl/dart versus a) throwing a spear or b) bow and arrow?

thunderbirdatlatl50 karma

1) I've had my mustache since I was a boy, so I don't know how to live without it!

2) Spears (and by spears, I mean big, heavy hand-thrown spears the size of a broom handle) have a lot of power but they don't have a lot of accuracy and you can't throw them very far. Atlatls are much more accurate than spears at any range.

As for the bow/arrow -- Atlatl darts are like giant arrows. They're 3-10 times the weight of an arrow, but they aren't nearly as accurate as an arrow except at short ranges like 10-20 meters. A lot of atlatlists are almost as accurate as archers at close range.

But if you get a good hit with an atlatl dart, it will have MUCH more killing power. Force is mass times velocity squared, so if you have a dart that's ten times the mass of an arrow and flies at half the speed, it will have substantially more killing power.

For instance, if you throw a dart that's ten times the weight of an arrow at half the speed, it will hit the target with two and a half times the force of the arrow.

Eagle98112 karma

Force is mass times acceleration (which is velocity per second). That being said half the mass times velocity squared is kinetic energy which is a useful value for projectiles.

thunderbirdatlatl10 karma

You are probably right. In any case you can use these formulas to calculate the relative energies of atlatl darts and arrows.

lalaman3030025 karma

Hello Mr. Berg. Have you heard of Roderick Laird? He's my grandfather and he's really into atlatls. He started an annual atlatl competition in Wyoming and it still happens without him every year. He taught me how to throw and is an overall brilliant man. Thanks for the ama!

thunderbirdatlatl27 karma

I think Roderick Laird is one of the heroes of the modern atlatl movement. Bringing the atlatl out to be enjoyed by the general public has been a phenomenon that was started by those early atlatlists that continues on today. I also would like to mention the names Leni Clubb, Lloyd Pine, W. Carl Fry, and W.R. Perkins (Atlatl Bob who is not me!) as well as Zelia Nuttal as atlatl enthusiasts who also were early contributors to the atlatl world.

peteberg18 karma

What's the farthest you can throw a dart with an atlatl?

thunderbirdatlatl25 karma

Some people are able to throw specialized tiny, light darts at tremendous distances as far as 250 meters. But that's not a typical situation.

The atlatl is primarily a short-range weapon and works best at 10 to 30 meters with any degree of accuracy. Atlatl darts are much heavier than arrows, so they don't fly as far...but the extra weight of the dart makes them much more deadly.

As for me, I can throw my 3 oz bamboo darts about 80 or 90 meters. I can usually throw my 8 oz wooden darts about 50 meters and my 6 oz darts about 65 meters. These long, heavier darts are designed for hunting and accuracy, not distance.

Mandocaster66617 karma

Have you ever killed an animal with one of your spears ? (hunting)

thunderbirdatlatl29 karma

Yes, I've killed wild boar, deer and lots of fish over the years. Atlatl hunting is a lot of fun and it's legal to hunt in many states like Missouri, Nebraska, Alabama, as well as some of the provinces in Canada.

huuhuu12 karma

I'm impressed that you can kill fish with a thrown dart. How does that work? Do you wade in the water, or do you need a higher vantage point?

thunderbirdatlatl20 karma

Both. I've been most successful shooting from a boat at night. Here's a blog post with photos of a fishing trip I did a while back on the Rainbow River in Florida.

You have to aim below where you see the fish in the water to take account for the refraction. I usually dip the tip of my dart into the water and note the angle of refraction to get the angle in my head, before I take any shots.

Mandocaster66611 karma

Since I'm not legally able to own a firearm I think this might be a great option for me. So do you use a tree stand?

thunderbirdatlatl8 karma

Yes, sometimes. Especially for deer hunting.

shastapete14 karma

besides early weapon enthusiasts, who buys these?

thunderbirdatlatl22 karma

The general public buys a lot of atlatls because it's a fun outdoor sport that families can engage in.

A lot of groups are using our atlatls as a recreational activity. We sell to a lot of school groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, church groups, 4H clubs and camps. Quite often they buy our kits and assemble their own equipment at a meeting, and then take it out to the target range.

We sell to hunters and fishermen.

We also sell replicas to Museums.

LemonTeeth12 karma

Did you think the episode of Deadliest Warrior was true to the weapon?

thunderbirdatlatl15 karma

I think that the episode of Deadliest Warrior did not show the true potential of the atlatl in warfare against mounted conquistadors. Although we were not able to penetrate the metal armor, the truth lies in the fact that darts would have wrecked havoc on the horses and men who were not wearing armor. The end of the show where they used exploding dart points was a little lame. It was probably my fault for bringing Chris Pappas' grenade tipped dart. It gave the producers perhaps a wrong idea.

thunderbirdatlatl16 karma

Oops, I made a mistake. Deadliest Warriors is a different show. Lets see... The show where an Aztec Jaguar warrior went against the Zandie Warrior makes it seem like the Aztec guy wouldn't have understood the strengths and weaknesses of his own weapons. He would carry a lot more darts than just three. I can carry 10 or 12 in one hand. He would have waited to shoot at much closer distances. The Zandie warrior would be most vulnerable at a distance where his own spear could not reach the Aztec but the Aztec could easily deliver a deadly shot to the Zandie. If hit with a dart the Zandie would be immediately in much more trouble than the Aztec with an arrow shot. The real problem for the Aztec would have been the bow and arrow. The Aztecs were used to fighting foes who used bows and arrows. They used shields too and wore cotton armor that was affective against arrows. I think it would have been a much closer match.

shastapete9 karma

What are the spears made out of?

thunderbirdatlatl14 karma

We make most of our darts out of wood: ash, pine and basswood. Our premium quality darts are made out of bamboo, which grows in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia amongst the snakes, alligators, ticks, mosquitos and wild boar.

Saarlak9 karma

No question, just wanted to say thanks for making these. A lot of "ancient" weaponry is slowly disappearing due to people not knowing (or not being willing to learn) how to make them. I hate seeing so much crap being sold that would break on first use so to see a quality, functional item being made well that makes me happy. Thanks again!

thunderbirdatlatl11 karma

I appreciate your comment. Thanks.

biggyww8 karma

I hope you don't mind my asking, but what kind of living do you make as a niche craftsman? I make a few knives, and I'd love to turn it into a full time job, but I have student loan debt to pay and I question whether I can make enough as a craftsman to support myself and my loan payments.

thunderbirdatlatl14 karma

It took me years to create a market for the things I make. It has required a lot of effort which included traveling all over the country, demonstrating atlatls to build up our business to what it is now. Most of the older shows I go to where I introduced the atlatl are now followed by others who bring their atlatls to sell. There are events that I attend every year where I have a loyal following.

biggyww4 karma

Thank you for the response. That's generally what I hear about "niche" craftsmen; it starts as a hobby for themselves, and if they're lucky, it turns into a solid and consistent paycheck. I guess I'll just keep making things the best I can and see where it takes me.

Also, just FYI for everyone reading this, Peter Korn did an AMA yesterday, and I picked up his book "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman". I'm only a few chapters in, but for those interested in this sort of "niche" craftsmanship, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Thanks again for doing this. :)

thunderbirdatlatl6 karma

Good luck with your craft.

NotSayingJustSaying6 karma

Do you do the flint-knapping yourself?

thunderbirdatlatl10 karma

Yes. I am an avid flintknapper. I've been doing it for over thirty years.

Here's a picture of some of the arrowheads I've knapped.

I've taught workshops here and in Europe on how to flintknap and how to use tools made from flint to make atlatls and darts the traditional (primitive) way.

faulty_wiring5 karma

I don't have a question, but I bought an atlatl set from you years ago at Chimney Point. I just wanted to say that you guys are awesome. Your customer service has always been great and you make great quality equipment. Keep up the awesome work.

thunderbirdatlatl7 karma

Thanks for the Kudos.

freakyavocado4 karma

What kinds of people buy atlatls? Collectors wanting a novel item in their home, or people who actually plan on hunting with them?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

I'm going to say that men are my usual customers but women buy and enjoy them too. They are often bought by people who like out door activities and competitive sports. We find that many groups like Boy and Girl Scouts, church and summer camps , 4 H clubs. school and college clubs, survival clubs, and hunters and fishers like to buy and use them. Youth will gather at the range and practice with atlatls for hours with great delight and ever growing enthusiasm.

Na__th__an4 karma

How did you get started making atlatls? Are there any competitions involving them?

thunderbirdatlatl6 karma

It started as a hobby. As a boy, I found an arrowhead in a field and I've been interested in archaeology ever since. I was working as a carpenter about 25 years ago and made a few atlatls in the shop for fun, and it gradually turned into a business.

There are a lot of Atlatl competitions. There's a World Atlatl Association that organizes the "ISAC" events (International Standard Accuracy Competition). It's a standardized competition format and people all over the world compete in it. You can probably find one nearby where you live. Each atlatlist gets ten shots, five at 15 meters and five at 20 meters, and the maximum score is 100. So far nobody has reached that pinnacle, but several people have come very close... I believe 98 with five X's (bullseyes) is the all time top score.

Talpostal4 karma

How much practice and training did it take until you were ready to hunt with an atlatl? When you hunt large game like deer, is your range relatively short or would you take a shot from 50 yards out?

thunderbirdatlatl5 karma

When I started training to hunt with atlatls and darts I shot about a hundred shots a day for several months. I knew of only a few other people who had ever tried atlatl hunting at the time. We got together in Vidalia, Georgia and spent a day just practicing together and also making up stone pointed darts. I hit the first hog I ever shot at. I used some pretty light darts and some stone points that I had made and carried in my pocket for a few days. They rubbed together and dulled the edges so the combination of dull point and lightweight dart caused poor penetration. It also hit the scapula bone so I did not get the pig. Live and learn. I experimented for more than a decade to get to the point where my skills and equipment were good enough to make me confident at atlatl hunting. At the time I did not have the benefit of being able to ask someone else who had the experience. There was no one around with atlatl hunting experience that I could go to so we had to figure it out ourselves. We are still doing it, although we are much better at knowing what works today. I guess that since a few states have begun to allow atlatl hunting our work has not gone unrewarded.

k9jag4 karma

OK, I have to admit, someone who makes throwing spears for a living is pretty badass. How heavy are they?

thunderbirdatlatl4 karma

Atlatl darts weigh in at from 3 to 8 ounces depending on the kind of dart. Hardwood darts are heavy and have more penetration while bamboo darts are lighter.

Dariukx3 karma

I used to make wooden spears when I as just a kid, nice job. Are you able to kill someone with these spears?

thunderbirdatlatl11 karma

Yes, you could kill somebody. Very easily. But I don't recommend it.

Atlatls were used in warfare for thousands of years by Native Americans -- the Incas, Mayas, Aztecs. They were also used to fight the Conquistadors. I've heard tales of Japanese soldiers being killed by atlatls in Indonesia as recently as World War II.

turdherder8673 karma

Probably 25 years ago my grandpa helped my cousin and I (probably 10 years old) make some atlatls, after we saw pictures of them in a book We used some old aluminum archery arrows that he had around as the darts and had a great time tossing them around. Great fun that I had almost forgotten about, so thanks for the reminder.

I've got some boys of my own now who are into this sort of thing, and I wondered what kind of a set-up you would recommend for kids ages 6 to 10. They can shoot, know how to handle a bow, and we enjoy building projects together.

thunderbirdatlatl6 karma

I like to recommend the Kanekadea Atlatl for kids. We have finished sets as well as Kanakadea Kits that you can assemble yourself that cost about half as much as the finished one, so you can enjoy making them with your boys.

mjbrads3 karma

Bought my atlatl from you at Hammonassett State park here in CT this past summer...thanks again for the help and the great product.

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

Thanks You!

ShinyTinker2 karma

This. This is a thing I've long felt I needed in my life. As this is the third time they've come up lately I think it Must Happen. Questions! 1) I saw a guy fashion and (poorly for various situational reasons) use one on the survival show Dude, You're Screwed. Have ya seen it? 2) obviously anything physical takes practice to learn, but about how long/how much practice would you say it takes to use one fairly efficiently. 3) Are these still used in South America, currently?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

Learning how to use an atlatl takes a few minutes, but to learn to use it well takes a lot longer. It is a matter of developing an effective throwing technique, then developing the muscle memory and hand to eye coordination. It takes some people longer than others to learn this. It took me a few years. I'm still learning. I think the closest analogy would be learning to play golf.

I believe atlatls are still being used in South America.

roomdrifter2 karma

How often are you called upon to produce atlatls for museums and educational displays?

thunderbirdatlatl8 karma

Almost on a weekly basis. I make lots and lots of atlatls, from modern ones to museum quality replicas and for archeological experimentation for universities and researchers.

I also have made a lot of atlatls for movies and TV. Here are some videos. I really like the one of Napoleon Dynamite challenging Jimmy Fallon to a mammoth hunting competition.

l_AM_NOT_A_COP2 karma

Why did you enter the profession? And how?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

It started as a hobby. This is a pretty niche market. There are only a few dozen atlatl makers in the world. Most are hobbyists. Only a few do it professionally as a full time job like myself.

exitpursuedbybear2 karma

Were atatls used as weapons of war as well as hunting?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

Yes. That was their primary purpose.

KipSaintVincent2 karma

Hi Mr. Berg, I was wondering if you had any good hunting stories to share? What's the biggest animal you've taken down with an atlatl?

thunderbirdatlatl9 karma

I killed a woolly mammoth once but it was in a dream. But seriously I killed a couple wild boars that were over 250 pounds, maybe 300. I have a lot of hunting stories to tell. I've written a lot of hunting and fishing stories over the years. You can read them on my Blog:

Hagot2 karma

Have you read John Flanagan's Brotherband Chronicles? Does he accurately describe the atlatl?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

I will have to read John Flanagan's books. Thanks for the tip.

hyuga4882 karma

Thanks very much for doing this AMA! I was just wondering if your designs are slightly more modernized in terms of style and production or if they remain hand carved like many atlatls. Thanks again for the AMA!

thunderbirdatlatl5 karma

Most of the atlatls I make are modern interpretations or new atlatl designs rather than reproductions. I do however make atlatls that are made in the styles that they find in the archaeological record when they are requested.

leefroy2 karma

I have made a few atlatls and darts for my own edification. I gave a set to my great nephew who thought it would be a great/inexpensive sport for his school. Whaddya think?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

I think that atlatls are a really cool way to bring several different subjects to school kids in a way that will capture their attention and hold it for a long time. You can connect archaeology with physics, history, sculpture, art, and physical education, all with something you can make from sticks and stones. As a school sport, it would be quite good I think. You could have intramural competitions or challenge other schools to competitions using the ISAC (International Standard Accuracy Contest).

mjbrads2 karma

Will you be at Letchworth this year? My son wants his own - I know I can go to the website, but interacting with you and your wife is much better than clicking some buttons.

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

Yes. We plan to be at Letchworth State Park at the Stone Tool Craftsman Show. Ooga Booga!

leefroy2 karma

I competed at Chimney Point in 2013. It was my first competition, and hopefully not my last. The other atlatl-ists made me feel very welcome. It was a special treat to see some world-class throwers, and to view the beautiful work that you do. Are the results posted somewhere so I can show my friends my only competitive scores?

thunderbirdatlatl2 karma

Thanks for your comments. You can find your competitive scores World Atlatl Association website.

Jindail2 karma

What interested you about atlatls so much that you decided to take up the craft and turn it into a living?

thunderbirdatlatl2 karma

Making atlatls and darts has been an all consuming process for a couple of decades. I would say that it is just more interesting to do than having a "normal" job. I like to advise people that if you don't enjoy your job, it is difficult to enjoy your life.


What kind of range and accuracy would you expect from someone skilled with an atlatl, compared to a spear thrown by hand? I've always been curious about that. Is it like an NFL quarterback 60 yard pass kind of spread? Or like launch a bunch of bottle rockets from a pvc for 200 feet kind of spread?

thunderbirdatlatl2 karma

My experiments with heavy hand thrown spears and atlatls show the atlatl to cast a dart about 3 to 4 times farther and with much greater accuracy. It all depends on the gear you use in the experiment and the skill of the thrower. I would guess if an NFL star quarterback did the experiment he would throw both of them better than I do but there would be the same difference between the heavy hand thrown spear and the atlatl cast dart.

Levallois2 karma

Hi Bob.

I was doing some research over the summer, and I came across a picture of an atlatl used (I think) in PNG. It resembled an oar and could be used to paddle in canoes. Any idea of the tribe that made these? Have you ever made one? Are they effective?

Finally, do the "counterweights" used on atlatls make a huge difference? I work with UP material from Central Europe, and we NEVER find them.

thunderbirdatlatl2 karma

I would guess that the picture depicted a woomera made by Aborigines from Australia. Yes I have made some of them. I tried using the wide style of woomera. I have better luck with other designs.

Counterweights work well to balance out the weight of a dart that is made in such a way that the majority of the mass of the dart is in the first third of it. If you were to throw darts with large stone points there is an advantage to using them.

Levallois2 karma

makes sense. do you make your atlatls using stone tools?

thunderbirdatlatl4 karma

I teach workshops that focus on making first a tool kit of stone tools, and with them an atlatl and some darts.

But the truth is that we make most of our atlatls in a wood shop using normal wood working tools and skills.

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

Yes, but the atlatls that I normaly sell are made in our wood shop.

avidranter2 karma

Thanks for the AMA! My wife and I just saw a short special on local PBS about atlatls, and she can't stop saying it!

Have you experimented with any modern materials like carbon fiber, or metals like aluminum for the atlatl? I'm assuming darts already can be had in those materials?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I personally prefer traditional materials like wood and bamboo. There are makers of darts made from modern materials but somehow that goes against grain for me. I think the best material for darts may be bamboo. and wood comes in a close second. There is a certain aesthetic quality that exists with wood and bamboo that just can't be matched with aluminum or fiberglass.

chunkymagic2 karma

Really interesting stuff. Just got 2 questions for ya.

  1. Do you stick to traditional designs used by past cultures or do you try to use modern technology and an understanding of the physics behind spear throwing to influence your designs? (Ex. Fiberglass? Carbon Fiber?)

  2. How did the environments that different cultures were in effect the design of the atlatl? (For example I saw the woomera looked a lot different from typical atlatl's. any reason for that?)

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

Although many of my atlatl designs are modern, I prefer to use natural materials such as wood, stone, bone, antler and bamboo in my work. It is a personal choice not based on any cultural or archaeological imperative. I think woomeras were designed as a multi-tool. Most North American designs were based on function. Many of the ancient European designs had more or less a degree of art incorporated into their designs.

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I answered the first half of your first question in an earlier reply. The second part of the first question about physics influencing my dart designs; well, yes.

I think that woomeras were a spear thrower, an emergency canoe paddle, a dinner plate and a tally stick and maybe a map.

elibrahm2 karma

How much money do you make per year?

thunderbirdatlatl8 karma

I'm not telling! But my wife and I make a living at it. We're very pleased to do the kind of business that we do. It's a lot more fun than teaching German in high school. That's what I went to College for.

advancix4 karma

Das glaube ich Ihnen gern. Schön, dass sie von Arbeit, die Ihnen wirklich Freude bereitet, Leben können.
I hope you enjoy your AMA, i certainly do. :)

thunderbirdatlatl9 karma

Vielen Dank. Es ist war, dass ich meine Arbeit geniesse. Ich begrüße Ihnen und alle meine deutsche Freunde.

nae322 karma

How accurate are they? Is it something you'd have to throw at the same time as a bunch of other people in a battle?

thunderbirdatlatl7 karma

Atlatls are not very accurate at long distances, but if you had a whole group of atlatlists throwing at once, you could do a lot of damage.

At the top of this page is a video we made with the show "Weapon Master" (Military Channel) a few years ago where we tested atlatls against Spanish Armor that the Conquistadors would have worn. Our flint-tipped darts didn't penetrate the plate armor, but it did show that the atlatl would be a very dangerous and terrifying weapon against the Conquistadors.

rasser2 karma


thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

I can ship our atlatls to Scandinavia. I have left a few atlatl sets at the museum store Sagenlandet at Leijre, DK. if you happen to be in Denmark. I also have a stash at a friends house in Germany. I plan to be in Paderborn, Germany at the end of November at Paderbow

I will have atlatls and stone tools there also. We are glad to send our wares to any place that can accept them.

Twohundertseventy1 karma

I live less than 200 miles away from Paderborn. Hmm, worth keeping in mind.

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I hope to see you there.

NorCalCSHealth1 karma

My nephew was really into atlatl's when he was growing up. If I'm correct, the Anasazis used this devise as well, correct?

thunderbirdatlatl4 karma

Yes, I would say that many if not most of ancient North American people used atlatls. They were overshadowed by the bow and arrow only about a thousand years ago. I say overshadowed because the bow and arrow didn't necessarily replace atlatl use but atlatls continued to be used along with them, of course depending on the culture

CptCmbtBts1 karma

Atlatls are sick; is there a good set of instructions on how to build one?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

Atlatls are easy enough to build in a rudimentary way. The darts are a little more challenging. Check out my dart fletching tutorial on our web site. Search: Thunderbird Atlatl

Penguinswin31 karma

I got to use an atlatl at my Boy Scout camp once. Are there any competitions with them? Like distance or accuracy for example?

thunderbirdatlatl2 karma

Yes, there are many atlatl events. They are listed on the World Atlatl Association site under "events".

larrythegoblinking1 karma

How easy would it be for someone with minimal woodworking experience to make an atlatl?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

It is easy enough to make a simple atlatl. I have made them using a pocket knife, even a sharp stone.

De_Von1 karma

How historically accurate are the processes you use in making an atlatl?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

The atlatls that I normally sell are not very historically accurate and I use modern tools to make them. I can, and often do workshops involving making atlatls and darts using only stone age available tools.

Rilder9621 karma

Have you ever considered expanding into other ancient weaponry? Like spears and such?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I have, but choose not to.

thor94451 karma

Did they use your Atlatls on Top Shot?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

No. They used atlatls and darts made by Chris Henry.

thor94451 karma

Is that your main rival or competition?

thunderbirdatlatl4 karma

I would consider Chris to be more of a colleague than a rival. He may have used some of our dart shaft material for the foreshafts, but I don't know for sure. I consider Chris to be a friend , even though I have never met him in person.

marywalkerartist1 karma

I saw one of those for the first time on Discovery's Dude you're screwed sweet weapon

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

Yes, I agree that atlatls are sweet weapons.

Rage--1 karma

Were the majority of spears used in combat used for throwing or for closer combat?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I don't know enough about atlatl combat to answer that. I do know that darts are more accurate at closer distances but darts that are thrown long distances have more kinetic energy. I think a strategic problem would be that your enemy might pick up your expended darts and throw them back.

kingcal0 karma

I understand that there is a community around this object so it's possible to get instructions for building and using them, but in the large gap between when they were popularly used and in more modern times when there's been a re-ignited interest, how did this knowledge survive? Are there written accounts of how to build and use these from long gone times? Were there actual artifacts of these weapons found, or are the current weapons our own interpretations of the instructions? Were they passed down through native populations that still survive on the fringe of society?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

Yes there is a community of atlatlists who have shared ideas and knowledge with each other. Because of the gap between ancient users of atlatls and modern users I think a great deal of information was lost. We have regained a lot of it through a process called experiential archaeology where the known artifacts are puzzled into actual experiments with the object of trying to discover the missing information. I think the rebirth of the atlatl is an outstanding example of this kind of science. It may actually be more art than science in the end analysis, but to say much has been learned would be an understatement.


I read that as AtlantaAtlanta. Have you ever been to Atlana?

thunderbirdatlatl3 karma

I have been to Atlanta Georgia many times. How is the weather today?

SmugLug0 karma

I'm writing something about a very primitive society with zero access to wood or fire. That basically leaves them with rocks and animal products.

Are there materials in this context that one could make an atlatl out of? What about spears? Are they only good for flinging spears, or does just about any thrown weapon benefit from the extra leverage?

thunderbirdatlatl1 karma

I think you could make a passable atlatl from a rib bone or the leg bone of a large bird. The spear on the other hand would be very diccicult without some kind of wood. Maybe rolled up raw hide? I don't know...

Esuma-2 karma

What are your thoughts about reality?

thunderbirdatlatl12 karma

I'm not sure whether reality exists or not. I sure hope it does because I'm counting on it.