Atlatl Literature Resources

To report errors on this page or to add additional information, please contact: Ted Bailey
Many thanx for all the Atlatl Reference Material submitted by:
Melvyn Marlo Brown; Dean Pritchard; Pascal Chauvaux; Cathryn A. Hoyt
An Informal Collection of Atlatl References

By: Melvyn Marlo Brown
Reference Librarian, Branson Library
New Mexico State University

Date: Wed, 12 Jun 1996 17:40:16 -0600 (MDT)
From: Marlo Brown (
Subject: books with atlatl/spear/dart information

There have been some recent questions on atlatl and dart design. I've found
some interesting information in some books and thought I'd mention it here.

Kurt Saxon's _The Waeponeer_ included a short article on throwing sticks to
be used with *arrows*. These throwing sticks used a peg to engage the nock
on the back of the arrow. The article was taken from an old _Popular
Mechanics_ or some similar magazine, if I remember right.

_Outdoor Survival Skills_ is an excellent book by Larry Dean Olsen which
tells how to survive in the wilds with Stone Age technology. This includes
the atlatl. He tells how to make one and use it. Photos show a student
launching a dart that's about 6' in length. The book also tells how to knap
flint for the points and how to make a primitive bow and arrows.

_Waepon s_, by The Diagram Group, shows examples of many types of devices,
including two atlatls. One is a woomera from Australia, and the other is
made from one piece of carved bone and is from prehistoric France. Another
cool artifact shown is the Japanese uchi-ne, a feathered fighting dart that's
between 30 and 40cm. in length. There is a whole chapter on hand-thrown
missles, including slings, clubs, boomerangs, edged devices and
spears. Although the treatment is fairly simple, this book will probably be
fascinating to anyone interested in "primitive" arms. Many public libraries
have it.

_Warfare in the Classical World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Waepon s,
Warriors and Warfare in the Ancient Civilizations of Greece and Rome_ is a
wonderful book which includes many full-color illustrations of "grunts" in
the ancient world. It also deals with battles, campaigns, strategies and
tactics. One of the most interesting entries shows the likely outcome of a
phalanx vs. a Roman unit using the pilum, or throwing spear to break up the
phalanx. Another illo shows the evolution of the Roman throwing spear, from
the heavy pilum to the plumbata, a throwing dart with an egg- shaped weight
to aid its penetration. One contemporary source credits the plumbata with
having the best range of all hand-thrown spears of its day. John Warry is
the author, and it was pubished by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Dean Pritchard of Boise, ID found the following reference book containing atlatl information:
"Stone Age in the Great Basin" by Emory Strong; published by Binford & Mort out of Portland, Oregon. This is an excellent source of historical information for Stone Age artifacts within the Great Basin. It Should be available in any book store or library.
Pascal Chauvaux of Cerfontaine, Belgium provided the following atlatl references:
Bellier, C., and Cattelain, P., 1990, La Chasse dans la Préhistoire du Paléolithique au
Néolithique en Europe. CEDARC, Treignes, Belgium.

Cattelain, P., 1986, Traces Macroscopiques d,Utilisation sur les Propulseurs Paléolithiques.
Helinium XXVI:193-205.Cattelain, P., 1988, Fiches Typologiques de l,Industrie de l,Os
Préhistorique. Cahier II: Propulseurs. Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence

Cattelain, P., 1989, Un Crochet de Propulseur Solutréen de la Grotte de Combe-Saunière I
(Dordogne). Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 86:213-216.

Cattelain, P., 1991, Les Propulseurs Paléolithiques: Utilisation et Traces d,Utilisation.
Archéologie Expérimentale, Tome 2 - La Terre. Actes du Colloque International
"Expérimentation en Archéologie: Bilan et Perspectives, pp. 74-81. Archéodrome de
Beaune, 1988. Errance, Paris.

Cattelain, P., and Perpère, M., 1993a, Quand les Préhistoriens Vont à la Chasse... Musée-
Homme, 1er trimestre 1993:51-54.

Cattelain, P., and Perpère, M., 1993b, Tir Expérimental de Sagaies et de Flèches
Emmanchées de Pointes de la Gravette. Archéo-Situla 17-20:3-25.

Cattelain, P., and Perpère, M., 1994, Tir Expérimental de Sagaies et de Flèches
Emmanchées de Pointes de la Gravette. Actes du Colloque International "Les sites de
Reconstitutions Archéologiques, Archéosite d,Aubechies-Beloeil, September 1993:94-100.

Cattelain, P., and Stodiek, U., 1996, Propulseurs Paléolithiques Inédits ou Mal Connus. La
Vie Préhistorique, pp. 76-79. Editions Faton, Dijon.

Cundy, B. J., 1989, Formal Variation in Australian Spear and Spearthrower Technology. BAR
International Series 546. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.

Davidson, D. S., 1934, Australian Spear-traits and Their Derivations. Journal of the
Polynesian Society 43:41-72, 143-162.

Davidson, D. S., 1936, The Spearthrower in Australia. Proceedings of the American
Philosophical Society 76:445-483.

Geneste, J.-M., and Plisson, H., 1986, Le Solutréen de la Grotte Combe-Saunière, Première
Approche Palethnologique. Gallia Préhistoire 29:9-27.

Geneste, J.-M., and Plisson, H., 1990, Technologie Fonctionnelle des Pointes à Cran
Solutréennes: L,apport des Nouvelles Données de la Grotte de Combe-Saunière (Dordogne).
Feuilles de Pierre. Les Industries à Pointes Foliacées du Paléolithique Supérieur Européen
Feuilles de pierre. Les Industries à Pointes Foliacées du Paléolithique. Actes du Colloque de
Cracovie, 1989. ERAUL 42:293-320.

Morel, P., 1993, Impacts de Projectiles sur le Gibier: Quelques Eléments d,une Approche
Expérimentale. Traces et Fonction: Les Gestes Retrouvés. Colloque international de Liège,
1990. ERAUL 50:55-57.

Nelson, E. W., 1899, The Eskimo about the Bering Strait. Eighteenth Annual Report of the
Bureau of American Ethnology to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-1897.
Washington, D.C.

Petersen, H. C., 1986, Skinboats of Greenland: Ships and Boats of the North, Volume 1, pp.
69-97. National Museum of Denmark, Roskilde.

Plisson,H., and Geneste, J.-M., 1989, Analyse Technologique des Pointes à Cran
Solutréennes du Placard (Charente), du Fourneau de Diable, du Pech de la Boissière et de
Combe-Saunière (Dordogne). Paléo 1:65-106.Roth, R., 1992, Histoire de l,Archerie. Arc et
Arbalète. Max Chaleil, Montpellier.

Roth, W. E., 1909, North Queensland Ethnography, Bulletin 13. Fighting waepon s. Records
of the South Australian Museum VII:189-211, p. LVIII-LXI.

Rozoy, J.-G., 1978, Les Derniers Chasseurs. L,Epipaléolithique en France et en Belgique.
Essai de Synthèse. Bulletin de la Société Archéologique Champenoise, no. spécial.

Rozoy, J.-G., 1992, Le Propulseur et l,Arc. Chez les Chasseurs Préhistoriques. Techniques
et Démographie Comparées. Paléo 4:175-192.

Spencer, B., 1914, Native Tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia. Macmillan and
Company, London.

Stodiek, U., 1990, Jungpaläolithische Speerschleudern und Speere - ein Rekonstrucktionsversuch. Experimentelle Archäologie in Deutschland. Archäologische
Mitteilungen aus Nordwestdeutschland 4:287-297.

Stodiek, U., 1992, A Propos de l,Emmanchement des Propulseurs au Paléolithique
Supérieur. Le Peuplement Magdalénien, Paléogéographie Physique et Humaine. Colloque
de Chancelade, octobre 1988, pp. 317-331.

Stodiek, U., 1993, Zur Technologie der jungpalaolitischen Speerschleuder. Eine Studie auf
der Basis archäologischer, ethnologischer und experimenteller Erkenntnisse. Tübinger
Monographien zur Urgeschichte 9.
Selected Bibliography for Atlatls compiled by Cathryn A. Hoyt
Alloway, David
1995 Using the Atlatl as an Educational Tool. The Cache 3.
n.d. Survival with the Atlatl. Tate Enterprises. Aurora, CO.
Baker, W.E., and A.V. Kidder
1937 A Spearthrower from Oklahoma. American Antiquity 3:51,52.
Bird, George
1985 The Atl-Atl or Spear Throwing Stick. The Artifact 23(3):7,18.
Bridges, P.S.
1990 Osteological Correlates of Waepon Use. In A Life in Science: Papers in Honor of J. Lawrence Angel, edited by Jane E. Buikstra. Kampsville: Center for American Archaeology (Scientific Papers 6). [Concerning transition from atlatl-use to bow and arrow-use]
1989 Changes in Activities with the Shift to Agriculture in the Southeastern United States. Current Anthropology 30:385,394.
Brown, Jeffrey L.
1967 The Use of Atlatl Weights: A Suggestion. Southwestern Lore 32(4):84,5.
Brues, Alice M.
1959 The Spearman and the Archer. American Anthropologist 61:457,469.
Butler, B. Robert, and Douglas Osborne
1959 Archaeological Evidence for the Use of Atlatl Weights in the Northwest. American Antiquity 25:215,224.
Butler, William B.
1975 The Atlatl: the Physics of Function and Per-formance. Plains Anthropologist 20(68):
1977 Atlatl Functions, Fancy, Flex, and Fun: a Reply to Howard. Plains Anthropologist 22(76) Part 1:161,162.
1980 Penetrating Elephant Hide with Wood Atlatl Darts. Plains Anthropologist 25(90):353,356.
Cole, G.S.
1972 The Bannerstone as a Spear Weight. Mich-igan Archaeologist 18(1):1,18.
Corliss, David W.
1980 Arrowpoint or Dart Point: An Uninteresting Answer to a Tiresome Question. American Antiquity 45(2):351,352. [Response to D.H. Thomas 1978]
Cosgrove, C.B.
1947 Caves of the Upper Gila and Hueco Areas of New Mexico and Texas. Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Papers 4(2). [See page 52 for notching of atlatl dart and arrow fore-shafts]
Cressman, L.S., and A.D. Krieger
1940 Atlatls and Associated Artifacts from Southcentral Oregon. In Early Man in Ore-gon: Archaeological Studies in the Northern Great Basin, edited by L.S. Cressman et al., University of Oregon Monographs, Studies in Anthropology 3:16,52.
Cushing, Frank Hamilton
1895 The Arrow. American Anthropologist 8(4):307,349. [Description of weighted atlatl]
Dalley, Gardiner F., and K.L. Peterson
1973 Additional Artifacts. In Hogup Cave. University of Utah Anthropological Papers, No. 93. [Discription of weighted atlatl]
Davenport, J.W.
1943 Some Experiments in the Use of the Atlatl. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological and Paleontological Society 15:30,37.
Davidson, O.S.
1936 The Spearthrower in Australia. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 76(4):445,483.
Dickson, D.B.
1985 The Atlatl Assessed: A Review of Recent Anthropological Approaches to Prehistoric North American Waeponry. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 56:1,38.
Ekholm, Gordon F.
1962 U-Shaped "Ornaments" Identified as Finger-loops from Atlatls. American Antiquity 28:181,185.
Evans, O.F.
1959 The Development of the Atlatl and the Bow. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 30:159,162.
Fenenga, Franklin, and Joe Ben Wheat
1940 An Atlatl from the Baylor Rock Shelter, Culberson County, Texas. American Antiq-uity 5:221,223.
Garrod, Dorothy
1955 Palaeolithic Spearthrowers. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 21:21,35.
Gould, R.A.
1970 Spears and Spear-Throwers of the Western Desert Aborigines of Australia. American Museum Novitates 2403.
Guernsey, Samuel James
1931 Explorations in Northeastern Arizona. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University 12(1). [Atlatl from Broken Roof Cave]
Guernsey, Samuel James, and Alfred Vincent Kidder 1921 Basket-Maker Caves in Northeastern Arizona. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University 8(2). [Description of weighted atlatl]
Heizer, R.F.
1939 A Complete Atlatl Dart from Pershing County, Nevada. Contributions, University of California Archaeological Research Facility No. 21:1,36.
Hester, Thomas R.
1974 Supplementary Notes on a Great Basin Atlatl. In Great Basin Atlatl Studies by T.R. Hester, M.P. Mildner, and L. Spencer. Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History 2:29,31.
Hester, T.R., M.P. Mildner, and L. Spencer 1974 Great Basin Atlatl Studies. Ballena Press Publications in Archeology, Ethnology, and History, 2. Ramona, Calif.
Hill, M.W.
1948 The Atlatl or Throwing Stick: A Recent Study of Atlatls in Use with Darts of Various Sizes. Tennessee Archaeologist 4(4):37,44.
Howard, C.D.
1974 The Atlatl: Function and Performance. American Antiquity 39(1):102,104.
1976 Atlatl Function: a Reply to Butler. Plains Anthropologist 74(21):313,314.
Kellar, James H.
1955 The Atlatl in North America. Indiana Historical Society, Prehistory Research Series 3(3):281,352.
Kelley, J.C.
1950 Atlatl, Bows and Arrows, Pictographs and the Pecos River Focus. American Antiquity 26:71,74.
Kidder, Alfred V., and Samuel J. Guernsey 1919 Archaeological Explorations in Northeastern Arizona. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 65.
Krause, F.
1904 Sling Contrivances for Projectile Waepon s. Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report for 1904:619,638. [Atlatl from Grand Gulch II]
Krieger, Alex D.
1956 Historic Survival of the Atlatl in the Lower Mississippi Region. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society 27:47,58.
Mason, J. Alden
1928 Some Unusual Spearthrowers of Ancient America. The Museum Journal September: 290,324. Philadelphia: The Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mason, Otis
1884 Throwing Sticks in the National Museum. Smithsonian Annual Report, 1884, Vol. 2:279,289. Facsimile Reproduction, SJI-3. Seattle:Shorey Bookstore.
Massey, William C.
1961 The Survival of the Dart-Thrower on the Peninsula of Baja California. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 17:81,93.
Mau, Clayton
1963 Experiments with the Spear Thrower. The Bulletin of the New York State Archae-ological Association 29:2,13.
Mildner, M.P.
1974 Descriptive and Distributional Notes on Atlatls and Atlatl Weights in the Great Basin. In Great Basin Atlatl Studies by T.R. Hester, M.P. Mildner, and L. Spencer. Ballena Press Publications in Archaeology, Ethnology, and History 2:7,27.
Neuman, Robert W.
1967 Atlatl Weights from Certain Sites on the Northern and Central Great Plains. American Antiquity 32(1):36,52.
Noguera, E.
1945 El atlatl o tirandera. Anales del Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Historia y Ethno-grafia III.
Nuttall, Zelia
1891 The Atlatl or Spear-Thrower of the Ancient Mexicans. Archaeological and Ethnological Papers of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University 1(3):171,205.
Palter, John L.
1976 A New Approach to the Significance of the "Weighted" Spear Thrower. American Antiquity 41:500,510.
Patterson, L.V.
1975 The Atlatl Function: Some Comments. The Record 31(3):5,6. Dallas Archeological Society.
1977 Atlatl Function: Comments on Howard's Views. Plains Anthropologist 22(76) Part 1:159,160.
Peets, O.H.
1960 Experiments in the Use of Atlatl Weights. American Antiquity 26:108,110.
Pepper, George
1905 The Throwing-Stick of a Prehistoric People of the Southwest. International Congress of Americanists, 13th Annual Session (1905): 107,130.
Raymond, Anan
1986 Experiments in the Function and Performance of the Weighted Atlatl. World Archeology 18(2):153,177.
Rogers, Hugh C.
1954 Minor Excavations in Ranger Cave, an Arkansas Bluff Shelter. The Missouri Archaeologist 16(2):25,32.
Spencer, L.
1974 Replicative Experiments in the Manufacture and Use of a Great Basin Atlatl. In Great Basin Atlatl Studies, by T.R. Hester, M.P. Mildner, and L. Spencer, pp. 37,60. Ballena Press Publications in Archeology, Ethnology, and History, 2. Ramona, Calif.
Stirling, M.W.
1960 The Use of the Atlatl on Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan. Smithsonian Institution, Bureay of American Ethnology, Bulletin 173(57,62):265,268.
Strong, Emory
1966 The McClure Atlatls. Screenings. The Oregon Archaeological Society Bulletin 15(5):1,5.
Swanton, John R.
1938 A Historic Use of the Spear-thrower in Southeastern North America. American Antiquity 3:356,358.
Thomas, David Hurst
1978 Arrowheads and Atl-atl Darts: How the Stone Got the Shaft. American Antiquity 43(3):461,472.
Touhy, Donald R.
1982 Another Great Basin Atlatl with Dart Foreshafts and Other Artifacts: Implications and Ramifications. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 4(2):80,116.
Webb, William S.
1957 The Development of the Spearthrower. Occasional Papers in Anthropology No. 2. Lexington: Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky. 

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