© copyright 1999 by W.R. Knapp

Pronounce it "ott-lottle"

Many sources have documented the chilling effect that the atlatl had on the conquistadors who accompanied Cortez on his trek through Mexico in 1520 A.D. The Spanish felt they were the better equipped, state of the art, military machine. The height of armored splendor and firearm technology for the times. And they were in a position to show the natives just what that machine could do. But they met with a terrifying stone-age technology. In the hands of an expert the atlatl could hit a target from up to a hundred yards away. Points on the six-foot-long darts were barbed so that they had to be drawn out the other side in order to be removed. You can imagine the terror these things exacted on these men. The records they left vividly told of it. But hundreds of years later atlatls were a mystery and many scholars were doubtful that the stories told by the conquistadors could be true. Those who tried to make atlatls were somewhat disappointed in the performance and the secrets of the atlatl seemed lost in the past.

But we've come a long way since the early days of atlatl experimentation. After decades of research we can now boast of atlatl and dart systems that can perform just like those of the ancients. We have a lot of knowledge about the different styles of atlatls that were used historically and a good idea of how the system functions.

It has grown into a bonifide sport with competitions all over the world. Many tournaments are held each year under the auspices of the World Atlatl Association. Why is this sport growing so fast? Because atlatls are fun!

Click on the topics below to learn more about the atlatl.


What is the atlatl and dart system?

Atlatl Mechanics: The papers of Bob Perkins of BPS Engineering

Information about the World Atlatl Association



 This page was last updated on 07 March 2012.

Copyright © 1999 & 2012 by Wyatt R. Knapp

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