Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oops, I Dropped My Atlatl

Just on the off chance that you didn't know, an atlatl is a paleolithic tool believed by many to be the first advancement in weapon design, predating the bow. The word is Nahuatl (ancient Aztec) and is pronounced AT-LAT-UL. It literally means "water thrower", but has come to mean "spear thrower". Basically, the atlatl is a hooked stick upon which a spear is cradled. This serves to extend the length of the thrower's arm and adds centrifugal force to a throw, greatly increasing the velocity of the thrown spear. Early accounts by Spanish Conquistadors relate that by using the atlatl, Aztec warriors could throw a spear with enough force to pierce Spanish armor.

If you read the earlier post titled "Mind Map", you will find reference to a piece of music called "The Venus of Willendorf's Atlatl". The Venus of Willendorf is a stone age fertility idol. Maybe she had an atlatl too.

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