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Viegas, Jennifer - Ackerman, Robert E. s

Viegas, Jennifer


2000 Aboriginal Olympics: From Boomerangs to Woomeras. Discovery Channel News Sept 28, 2000. Accessed on web http://www.discovery.com/news/features

Aboriginal athletic “sports carnivals” include boomerang and woomera (or miru) competition. [Poorly described] but “spearthrowing skills are still highly valued in the aboriginal community.” [No location given, but short film clip on web shows men using woomera Central Australia type atlatl with long spear, details not clear. They hold it flat, not sideways, use straight overarm motion at stuffed cloth kangaroo target maybe 20-30 m away. Hard to see, but accuracy doesn’t look impressive, and at least one spear can be seen bouncing off target.]

Wagers, Charlie x


1992 A Kentucky Atl-Atl. Prehistoric America 26 (2): 6.

Antler hook with “tube bannerstone” or handle of antler. Looted “many yrs ago” from shell mound, no context.

Walker, Edwin F. x



1943 A Real Mexican Atlatl. The Masterkey 17(3):91-94.

SW Museum acquired Tarascan atlatl from Lake Patzcuaro through D.B. Cordry ethnographer. “Duck hunt is rapidly dying out..” With 10 foot cane spear w 3 iron barbs. “Doubles” the distance of hand throw with same spear, because of added leverage. Silent, one-handed, penetration of dense duck feathers. Atlatl 22 5/8” long 3/4” T. Weights or boatstones might impart greater force. Here small projection at distal end is weight, gives balance [he means the spear recovery hook that these atlatls all have.]

Walker, Phillip L. x


2001 A Bioarchaeological Perpsective on the History of Violence. Annual Review of Anthropology 30: 573-596.

Countering the view that prehistoric and non-western societies lacked significant violence requires bioarch evidence: “several flint arrow points embedded in a person’s spine are not symbolic constructs.” Technical and definitional problems of recognizing and interpreting skeletal injury. Modern trauma data for interp and demographic modeling. Modern assault as examples of culturally conditioned patterns – eg facial damage relates to rise of boxing sport, Brits favor broken drinking glasses, etc. Only 16% of US assault injury results in bone damage. Early cannibalism evidence. Atlatl injury – Kennewick, up to 20% of some TN Archaic pops have embedded pts. Bow might have created short-term disequilibrium and added warfare.

Walker, Robert, Kim Hill, Hillard Kaplan, and Garnett McMillan x



2002 Age-dependency in Hunting Ability among the Ache of Eastern Paraguay. Journal of Human Evolution 42:639-657.

Ethnographic hunting abilities peak in 30s and 40s - peak performance occurs after physical peak. Arrow shooting contests - 25 cm target in tree 8.8 m distant for youth + women, 14.3 for men. Hits 2/344 women, 0/70 youth, 81/1934 for men. A few men up to 12% accuracy, improving up to age 40 then leveling off. Similar for hunting success - From age at highest strength (24) to age at peak return rate (40), return rate doubles.. Teenage boys hunt easy animals, are given bows, but only late 20s become full independent hunters, hunt monkeys (most difficult). Hunting accidents and lost arrows common, espec for young hunters. Skill more important than strength in success. Journals kept for 11 men age 14-37 (reservation born, with little experience) for 13.5 months, showed little improvement. Takes ca 30 yrs for hunters to reach their prime, from 12-15 to 35-40. Selective forces thus favor long development in humans.

Walsh, G. L. and M. J. Morwood x


1999 Spear and Spearthrower Evolution in the Kimberley Region, N. W. Australia: Evidence from Rock Art. Archaeology in Oceania 34: 45-58.

Rock art can provide technol sequence at better chronol resolution than arch. Oldest arch spears in Aust from Wyrie Swamp, S Aust, ‘simple short spr + barbed javelin frag’ dated 10,200 – 8,990 BP.’ (Luebbers 1975). Kimberly rock art spans 40,000 yrs, lots human figures, visual specificity, four periods. 1) Irregular Infill Animal Period: rare, simple line spears, impaled women. 2) Bradshaw Period: Lots humans, mostly male, boomerangs common, sprs rare, no throwers early. Later more common, multi-barbed, thrower appears at end, shown as short hooked line assoc w barbed spr. 3) Clothes Peg Figure Period: Static style humans impaled by multi-barb sprs and hit by boomerangs. Throwers get longer, add spatulate handle still found on Kimberly spr throwers. [Shown as strt line with prominent hook and blob on end.] Long spr some shown hooked on thrower. Sprs shown w red barbed head, white shaft = composite spear. 4) Clawed Hand Period: Add “spade handle” thrower [shown as looped end] and stone spr pts. Arch evid shows stone pts intro 5-3000 BP. Transition in Holocene to Wandjina Period.

Ethnog: Used until 1980s, long ‘nungaroo’ for war, short form ‘yungari’ for hunt, all N. Australia type, 70-150 cm long. Sprs composite, reed/bamboo shaft, hardwood foreshaft, stone, glass or metal point, also wooden barbed heads. Late glass pts considered “one shot” and more for fighting. Metal “shovel-nosed” pts made from shovels or other scrap replaced stone around 1930s as response to killing horse + cow. By 1970s few knew how to knap glass.

Earliest paintings Kimberly and Arnhem Land show hand sprs and bmrngs. Light wt composite sprs seem to follow appearance of thrower, stn pts even later.

Bradshaw dates suggest predate Last Glacial Maximum, [ca 16- 20,000 BP] so spr thrower unexpectedly early [but implies that this dating uncertain and controversial]. Arnhem Land has more diverse thrower paintings.
2014-07-19 18:44
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