Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall

atlatl11aFinally got a chance to try out my prized Christmas gift from Kari. My hand made Atlatl. I discovered Robert Edwards of Alberta Atlatl through twitter. He actually makes Atlatls such as prehistoric man used to throw spears with enough velocity to kill a wooly mammoth.

I didn’t realize that even here in California there are records of Atlatl use. A Pinto culture site is located near Little Lake, California where there are petroglyphs depicting atlatl use from 4000-500o years ago. I think this rock may be an Atlatl instruction manual:

Atlatl Instruction Manual

I was impressed by Robert’s web site and the fact that he had actually taken a whitetail deer with one. I’ve been so busy with launching our web site at work today was my first opportunity to give it a try. The atlatl is hand made from purpleheart wood and the darts are hand fletched with turkey feathers. Robert even included an extra dart with a traditional knapped obsidian point. My yard isn’t big enough for this so I took my old deer target down to the elementary school thinking I would have some privacy. Of course the Sheriff showed up coincidentally as I was setting the deer up so I had a nice chat educating him on the hunting practice of prehistoric man. He was sufficiently convinced I wasn’t so insane to be danger to myself or others and finally leaves with a  ‘well I better get out of your way then’

 

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After about 45 minutes of near misses I finally put one in a leg. I managed only once to get 3 darts into the target, all a little too far back. And finally from 20 yards I managed to put one in the middle and declare success. I doubt I could get close enough to a deer and have him let me wind up and throw one his way.  Of course wooly mammoths probably weren’t that concerned with us getting close …at first. Glad my dinner doesn’t depend on my ability to use one of these. It’s fun though to try it out and know this is what our ancestors used to hunt even before the bow and arrow.

 

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CAVES OF ALTAMIRA

I recall when I was small
How I spent my days alone
The busy world was not for me
So I went and found my own
I would climb the garden wall
With a candle in my hand
I’d hide inside a hall of rock and sand
On the stone an ancient hand
In a faded yellow-green
Made alive a worldly wonder
Often told but never seen
Now and ever bound to labor
On the sea and in the sky
Every man and beast appeared
A friend as real as I

CHORUS:
Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall
When there wasn’t even any Hollywood
They heard the call
And they wrote it on the wall
For you and me we understood

Can it be this sad design
Could be the very same
A wooly man without a face
And a beast without a name
Nothin’ here but history
Can you see what has been done
Memory rush over me
Now I step into the sun

-Steely Dan, The Royal Scam album