The Atlatl, Woomera, Miru and Throwing Board

Last modified on 26 April 2015

The atlatl is a device that is used to throw a light weight spear called a dart with considerable mechanical advantage. Atlatls were used worldwide before the advent of the bow and arrow. Atlatl (pronounced like 'atlantic') is an Aztec word for spear thrower. In Australia, the Aborigines call it the Woomera. The oldest known atlatl is more than 19,000 years old. It is believed that the atlatl was in use for more than 40,000 years. With the atlatl, humans gained a tremendous hunting advantage and this accelerated the extinction of many large mammals throughout the world. The power that the atlatl imparts to the spear is so great that the Aztecs started reusing atlatl technology to pierce the armor of Spanish Conquistadoras in the sixteenth century.

Today, many people are rediscovering the atlatl for the recreational purposes of competition and hunting game. Competition involves the following events: long distance; accuracy and target throwing. Some competitions are restricted to the use of primitive materials and technologies. Other competitions allow the use of modern high tech materials and construction methods.

The World Record for long distance currently stands at 848.56 feet. This throw was made by Dave Ingvall of St. Joseph, Missouri, USA on 15 July 1995 in Aurora, Colorado. Dave used a carbon fibre atlatl with an aluminum dart of his own construction.

Useful Atlatl Resources 

Atlatl Internet Links | Throwers | Manufacturers | Literature | Calendar of Events

Atlatl Throwers and Associations

World Atlatl Association ; Michigan Atlatl Association ; Minnesota Atlatl Association ; California Atlatl Association ; Missouri Atlatl Association ; Ohio Atlatl Association ; Pennsylvania Atlatl Association ; Tyoga Atlatl Association ; Chautauqua Spears Atlatl League

To find other Atlatl Throwers in your region, please visit the Internet Directory of Atlatl Clubs and throwers

Photos of atlatls: Equipment | Competition | Hunting | Eskimo Throwing Boards
The following atlatls are available on the website.
North American Artifacts
Item Code
Price (USD)
Click on Photo Below
Mississippian Atlatl from Cave in Kentucky

Previously sold atlatls can be seen on the following links:

These items were sold from the North American Artifacts web page
Item Code
Price (USD)
Inuit Atlatl Bird Dart with Spliced Cedar shaft and Ivory Tip
Lake Texcoco Fishing Atlatl, 19th Century
Lake Texcoco Fishing Atlatl, 19th Century
Lake Texcoco Fishing Atlatl, 19th Century
Lake Texcoco Fishing Atlatl, 19th Century

These items were sold from the Australian Aboriginal Artifacts web page.
Item Code
Price (USD)
Aboriginal Woomera Spear Thrower
Miru with Incised Totemic Markings
Cape York Woomera with Bivalve Shell
Aboriginal Woomera Spear Thrower
Miru with Totemic Markings
Aboriginal Woomera Spear Thrower
Aboriginal Woomera Spear Thrower
Central Desert Woomera
Large Miru Spear Thrower
Miru Spear Thrower
Cape York Woomera Spear Thrower
Small Miru with Cutting Stone Blade
Aboriginal Woomera Spear Thrower

These items were sold from the Lithic & Artifact Reproductions web page
Item Code
Price (USD)
Mammoth Hunter Atlatl & Dart Set + 2 Blowguns
Atlatl by Norm Blaker
Atlatl by Norm Blaker

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