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THE ATLATL

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Make the ancient tool that hurls 6-foot spears at up to 100mph.

By Daryl Hrdlicka

Before the bow and arrow there was the atlatl*, or spear-thrower, an ancient weapon that could throw a spear or dart with enough force to penetrate a mammoth’s hide. It was used in North America for about 10,000 years, and used by native Australians and Aleuts as recently as 50 years ago.

It’s easy to make your own atlatl, and throwing with it is fun and very satisfying. Here’s how to make one in the style of the Kuikuru (kwee-KOO-roo) of the Amazon Basin, ...

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