Atlati (Spear Thrower)

  • General History
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Also identified as The Atlatl, this was perhaps one of the first weapon deployment system developed by ancient Man. Examples dated from 17,500 years ago have been found. Designed for use with a medium sized Spear, a Thrower was a piece of cut and farrowed wood. The dimensions of the Thrower was slightly larger than the diameter of the Spear used. A small opening (hole), was located at the end of the Thrower. This was used to place the tail-end of the Spear into and provided stability prior to deployment. The Spear was placed (locked) into the Thrower shaft holder. The thrower would then arch the “loaded” device in a rearward “pitch”, rapidly bringing the Thrower to a launch point of around 45-degrees. At this point, a sudden deceleration of forward motion would cause the Spear to deploy forward. This primitive form of “motion physics” was very effective and with “modern” reproductions, a Spear will fly farther, straighter and have a slightly deeper impact at it's intended target. Examples described used in combat (Ancient Greece), have been found. The Thrower (much as The Sling and related “gravity weapons”) would quickly be discontinued with the advent of better and more refined weapons. However, The Spear thrower was an integral part of hunting survival for generations (with examples still used in some African Tribal Regions up to the early 20th Century).