atlatl

(redirected from Spear-thrower)
Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

atlatl

(ät`lätəl) [Nahuatl], device used to throw a spear with greater propulsion. Atlatls began to be used in the Americas in the post-Pleistocene period and were eventually replaced by the bow and arrow.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
References in periodicals archive ?
The fish and crocodile spears were used without the aid of a spear-thrower, an example of which was also present in the cache.
The wax is softened by warming over a fire and smoothed by rolling the junction of head and fore-shaft along the body of the spear-thrower. A neat binding of bush string (a two-ply twine made by rolling vegetable fibres on the thigh) is then tightly bound around the base of the spearhead and tied off at the fore-shaft.
While the manufacture of points might be a male occupation, the spear-thrower, rather than the spear-point or the spear itself, is the general symbol of masculinity and male authority.
Delicate-looking but deadly spear-throwers appeared 6,000 years later, often with animals carved or engraved on them.
But in Tasmania, groups of hunter-gatherers began to lose-or failed to develop-a wide range of useful technologies: bone tools, fitted cold-weather clothing, boomerangs, spear-throwers, and durable boats.
So human behaviour changed when the development of weapons that can kill at a distance (spear-throwers, slings, bows and arrows) made the outcome of any attack more uncertain.
Wilkins' investigation follows a report that humans at South Africa's Pinnacle Point caves used spear-throwers or bows to launch projectiles tipped with tiny stone blades at least 71,000 years ago.
He suggests that a common ancestor of humans and Neandertals began heaving stone-tipped spears at animals about half a million years ago, but it wasn't until much later that Stone Age people figured out how to make devices such as spear-throwers that hurl weapons farther, harder and more accurately.
But Mr Darby, who previously attracted criticism for calling Ugandans 'spear-throwers', defended his latest comments about the brave foreign soldiers.
His grandfather went around the world for decades calling different races variously: slittyeyed, pot-bellied, spear-throwers.
Van Gerwen, the 18-year-old standard-bearer for the battalion of young Dutch spear-throwers, needed double 12 to clinch the fourth set and condemn Taylor to an unprecedented Christmas of recrimination at home - but his arrow landed a hair's breadth outside the lipstick.