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Hunting during the Upper Paleolithic: Bow, Spearthrower, or Both?

TitleHunting during the Upper Paleolithic: Bow, Spearthrower, or Both?
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1997
EditorKNECHT, H.
Book TitleProjectile Technology
CityNew York
PublisherPlenum Press
Publication LanguageEnglish

J. Whittaker: Defines atlatl and bow. Spearthrower works by lever action. Discusses two geographical groups 1) Arctic – “used exclusively from a seated position in kayaks in a marine environment” and 2) Australian, used standing in terrestrial settings. Both are highly variable, used with variety of projectiles, often diff forms for same purpose or for specialized purposes, no consistent patterns. Throwing distances recorded over 100m, but hunting from 10-45 m, usually less. Bow range is similar. Bow is more accurate, cites European contests using same distance and targets, participants score 65% as well with atlatl as with bow. Lengthy discussion of experiments with Gravette points replicating finds at Abri Pataud. Goat carcass target, 145 throws, 127 bow shots, 41% and 25% misses. More breakage with atlatl, especially flex breaks, but not really distinctive, so can’t conclude whether were dart or arrow points. [Good article, ethno + exper info, refs].