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Wednesday, 24 July 2024, 22:22 (10:22 PM) CDT, day 206 of 2024

Prehistoric Cultures

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Thursday, 25 July 2024, 03:22 (03:22 AM) GMT, day 207 of 2024
. . . in History 
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Atlatl weights, Florida.
Atlatl weights, Florida.
Atlatl weights, Florida.

Museum of Paleo Enterprises

In the News . . .

Opochtli, the Aztec 'patron saint' of atlatls.

"Opochtli, the Aztec 'patron saint' of atlatls"

Who is Opochtli?

"Opochtli, also known as 'the Left Handed One' or 'He Who Divides the Waters', was the god of those who made their living in the lakes and marshes of the Valley of Mexico, particularly the southern part of the basin. As such, he is credited with the invention of items associated with fishing and hunting waterfowl, in particular the atlatl and harpoon" -- Luther College

Atlatl (pronounced AHT-lah-tuhl) is an Aztec word meaning "spear-thrower" -- spear-thrower the thing, not spear-thrower the person.

It looks like the prehistoric hunting weapon, which goes back to the earliest human times in what is now Middle America, may be making a comeback.

National Geographic News (24 January 2006), reviewed progress to have the "Stone-Age spear throwers" made legal for hunting in Pennsylvania.

So it looks like we're finally catching up to "Stone-Age" New World hunters.

(I didn't say "Mesoamerican" hunters, because technically there was no "Mesoamerica" until the people in current-day Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras began settling down in agricultural villages in the "Preclassic.")

For thousands of years before the "Preclassic" hunters in what is now Middle America -- during what is known as the "Early Hunters" or "Paleo-Indian" or "Lithic" stage -- made their living with the atlatl.

For Topic 3 have a look at the National Geographic article Ancient Spear Weapon OK'd For Deer Hunt in Pennsylvania.

Read the article on atlatl hunting in the National Geographic News, and then post your reaction to it on the forum. The article can be found at

In October 2007 it was reported in the Duluth News Tribune that the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance 2007 hunt in Duluth, MN, is "off to a productive start.... 'We’re over 140 deer,'" Phillip Lockett president of the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance, which conducts the hunt for the city said of the harvest. “That’s really good. I think last year at this time the count was about 75” (Sunday, September 30, 2007).

"Last fall, 251 hunters registered for the [Duluth, MN, city] hunt, and 195 of them took a total of 564 deer, 86 percent of them antlerless. This year, 314 hunters registered and passed shooting proficiency tests to become eligible for the hunt.

Lockett said no problems have been reported in this fall’s hunt. For more information on the hunt, including a venison donation program, go to"

For more information on the Duluth Hunt go to <>.

Parts of an atlatl.

University of Calgary

Related Sites

Paleo-Indian hunters surround a mastodon. The spear, propelled by a device called an atlatl, was the primary weapon of the earliest Native American cultures.

Diagram of man throwing atlatl.
Kansas State Historical Society

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