Atlatls are the specialty of Occoquan Paleotechnics. They are the epitome of functional replicas, as they are all capable of throwing flexible spears(called darts) over 100 yards and over 80 miles per hour. Archaeology shows the atlatl to go back thousands of years, and to be the precursor to the bow and arrow in most parts of the world. The first known examples are found in the caves in Europe. In North America, they have a longer history than the bow. In fact, most projectile points that are commonly called arrowheads are actually atlatl points.
This replica shows what some of the world's first known spearthrowers looked like. The original from the rock shelter of La Mas d'Azil, France was made in reindeer antler over 12,000 years ago and depicts a fawn. It is thought that these antler and ivory atlatl spurs were connected to longer handles of wood. For more on this replica, see ATLATL DESIGNS.
NICOLARSON CAVE ATLATL REPLICA $95
A functional replica of the archaeological example from (NV-WA-197) in Nevada. Perhaps the best preserved example of a prehistoric spear thrower in North America. This model is 23 inches long with an antler spur. SEE ITEM
New in 2011, Occpaleo had the chance to cast these wonderful shell carvings from the Valley of Mexico. They are over 2,000 years old, and the casts made from them functioned wonderfully as a Meso American Style Atlatl spear throwers.
The "Original" 2,000 year old Frog Loops of Colima
Casts hafted on Rosewood atlatl
2,000 year old finger grip carved in Shell
The Pre-Columbian Style Atlatl
Choice shrub woods are often used here, since a branch can be taken without harm to the tree, or changing the landscape in any way. Our farmed bamboo is also great for sustainability and conservation.
Mountain Laurel atlatl in natural form with grip carved into knot in limb
After examination of the original, this replica was made in the same Yukon Birch wood. Eskimos used this style to launch harpoons from sea kayaks. This example has had the spur slightly elevated to adapt to land throwing as well.
Indian Knoll style bannerstone hafted as an atlatl weight. The stone is speckled granite and the wood is eastern Black Walnut
In the North American eastern archaeological record, there are several examples of antler handles, drilled stone, and antler spurs found in line in the ground with burials. One interpretation is that these are atlatls with weights called bannerstones. This example threw very well in short range trial tests, and made a very stable thrower.
Atlatl dart in authentic materials $125
This 73 inch long atlatl dart is made in a seasoned River Cane sapling that has been straightened over the coals. It is made in all authentic materials for the American Archaic period of around 3 to 8,000 years ago. The spear/dart is fit with a classic Archaic corner notched point made in Texas chert. It is new and knapped traditionally, and signed and dated. The point is set in a removeable hardwood foreshaft, so that the point can be interchanged or used like a knife. The fletching is genuine wild turkey which is lashed with real deer sinew and hide glue. The point is set with pine pitch and wood ash glue, and is also wrapped with sinew. The dart is fully functional, although it should be noted that stone points break on almost every throw. This piece was intended for archaeological display or demonstration. (see ITEMS FOR SALE)
Natural material atlatl darts are made here with seasoned river cane, ash, or viburnum shoots. They are fletched with wild turkey feathers, which was the classic choice for Native Americans. They are split by hand, set in with hide glue, and then wrapped with genuine deer or buffalo sinew.
River Cane atlatl dart tipped with corner notched stone point
Fletching of genuine Wild Turkey Feathers lashed with Deer Sinew
The Basic Set $115 One Natural Materials Thrower and 3 Take-Down Darts
Our basic atlatl and dart set consists of one traditional style thrower and 3 aluminum practice take down darts. Although not made of natural materials, these practice darts can be used continually in the field without damage that would occur with stone points and new throwers missing targets. Our practice darts are the creation of Ohio atlatl thrower Rick Shepherd, and a description of the unique threaded connection can be read below. This 68 inch model is made to be a middleground of a short target and distance field throwing dart. The atlatl thrower is made in natural saplings such as cherry, birch, and laurel. These feature a finger grip peg and a dart rest to help beginners and experienced throwers alike to hold the dart properly in a consistent place. Please watch the video below to see these darts in action. (see ITEMS FOR SALE)
Natural materials thrower for Basic Atlatl set
The Shepherd Take-down Atlatl dart Set of 3 $95 Set of 5 $120
The Shepherd model take down dart uses a unique threaded connector that is very durable and convenient for continued target and field practice. This is a middleground dart for short targets or long distance field throwing. These darts can be taken apart and easily fit in an archery quiver. Since it is fit with modern screw-in archery points, points can be replaced and interchanged, as well as fit with safety blunts or hunting points. The secure screw connection allows darts to be pulled from the target without coming apart, and without leaning over to pull. These practice darts also allow perfectly matched sets for consistancy in throwing. (see ITEMS FOR SALE page)
The Shepherd model darts have scored well in competition this year. 7 foot versions with longer fletching are used for the ISAC competition of the World Atlatl Association, which features distances of 15 and 20 meters. Our standard dart of 68 inches works well for these short distances, as well as throwing in the field for up to 100 meters.
Rick Shepherd's sucessful test of his new dart design
The threaded connection take down dart
Designer Rick Shepherd going everywhere with his take down darts
Several styles of atlatl throwers are offered on the follow page. next For a custom order or to ask about versions of anything shown on this site, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org