Atlatl spears are ancient hunting implements. The spear sits in the groove of a tool that uses leverage to propel/shoot it at its targets. Believed to have been used in what is now Europe about 30,000 years ago, it also became popular in the Americas, including with North American Indigenous peoples. This project was developed and submitted by Howard Shiel.
Tools & Materials
- Parachute cord
- River hazelwood
- Spear point (stone or metal)
- Goose feather
Select and harvest hazel wood/raw shafts (near river)
Straighten and bundle (parachute cord)
Let dry for 2-4 months
Periodically (3-6 times) unbundle and straighten wood
Skin the shaft by peeling it with a knife. Apply heat to it (with a torch) to soften it up then straighten it out
Sharpen metal or stone points, fire-hardening the tip as you go. Use what’s available, whatever’s the cheapest, easiest and available – even a spoon, which can be flattened out, with the point of it created with an angle grinder
Attach spear point and fletching/feathers. Preferred feathers are Hawk, Owl, and Goose feathers.
Practice throwing – a lot!