Tag Archives: Flintknapping

Join us at the Vermont Atlatl Workshop September 18; Contest September 19

Bob Berg leading an atlatl workshop at Chimney Point

Bob Berg leading an atlatl workshop at Chimney Point

Workshop Participants try out atlatls

Atlatl Workshop Participants trying out atlatls

Come to Vermont, enjoy the beauty of the fall in New England and build your own atlatl and darts!

Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl will offer our annual Atlatl Workshop at the Chimney Point Historic Site. September 18 from noon to 5 p.m. The program is hosted by the Vermont State Historic site. The Chimney Point State Historic Site borders Lake Champlain at 7305 Vt Route 125, West Addison, Vermont.

Bob will teach traditional and modern techniques of atlatl and dart construction, flint knapping, hafting stone points, and cordage making. Enjoy atlatl lore and coaching on the use of your new atlatl. Bob’s been here each of the 20 years of this event! $65 includes instruction and materials. Pre-registration required. Call 802-759-2412 to register. After making your own atlatl and darts, consider competing in the annual atlatl competition the next day!

20th Annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship
Participate in or watch this annual championship. The sport of atlatl throwing is based on the ancient hunting technique of using the atlatl or spear thrower. Demonstrations and workshops on flint knapping, Woodland pottery, and other crafts and skills. Vermont Archaeology Month program. Saturday, September 19

The museum opens at 9:30 a.m. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be ancient craft demonstartions on the museum lawn and porch. Bob and Cheryll Berg, hafting points and atlatl-making; Charlie Paquin, Woodland pottery (hands-on!), and Barry Keegan, flint-knapping.

The atlatl competitions start at 11 a.m. with the International Standard Accuracy Competition. The schedule is as follows:
10:30 – 12:30 Atlatl Championship registration
10:30 – 11:00 ISAC Practice Time
11:00 International Standard Accuracy Competition
11:00-12:00 Master coaching: Try the atlatl with expert guidance.
Look for signs in competition area.
11:30 – 12:30 Warm-up and Practice for Open Championship
11:30 Food and snacks on & near Museum porch while it lasts.
12:30 Celebratory Flight: Join the mass spear throw to commemorate our 2Oth year!
Bob Berg, Introduction to the Atlatl at Target Zone
Open Championship events begin. Accuracy & Distance for Men, Women, Girls, and Boys
Approx. 3:00 Award ceremony on Museum front lawn
Grand Champion Shoot-Out between top finishers & Grand Championship Award ceremony
After awards 20th Anniversary Celebration: Enjoy cake & ice cream!
History Mystery Scavenger Hunt prizes awarded
5:30 Museum closes

Sunday, September 20

9:30 Museum Opens
10:00 International Standard Accuracy Competition

30 Reasons Why Atlatls and Darts are the Coolest Things Ever!

1. They are cool because not everyone has one!
Fewer than one out of a thousand people in the United States have one and many people don’t even know what they are.

2. They are fantastic wall decorations. Atlatls and darts make great conversation starters because they are rare, interesting and not many people know what they are. customatlatlarray

3. There’s two ways to say atlatl. You can say “at-latl” or “atl-atl”

4. Atlatls and darts are a great family activity. You and your children will enjoy atlatl outings or backyard atlatl activities. It will get you all out of the house and away from your electronics.

5. Atlatls are just plain fun. It is fun to shoot something that goes farther and faster than you would expect it to.

6. Great way to make new friends. People who come to atlatl events are just fun to be around. Remember they are cool to begin with.How-to-use-an-atlatl-dart

7. Kids can cast them. We have seen children from 3 on up casting darts with atlatls.

8. Old people can cast them too. We have seen people 80 and older using an atlatl.

9. Intergenerational sharing. People of all ages can enjoy atlatl events together.

Showing how to cast an atlatl

Showing how to cast an atlatl

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10. It’s a gift you can’t get at a big box store. When was the last time you found an atlatl in your local shopping mall? Atlatls are what you get for the person who already has everything.

11. They have history. Atlatls have been used for more than 12,000 years. That’s a lot of history. Cortez fought against the Aztecs who used atlatls.

12. They’re primitive. Atlatls and darts were one of the first weapon systems ever devised by humankind. All of us have ancestors who survived, nay thrived because they were masters of the atlatl and dart.

13. They’re survival tools. You can learn to make an expedient atlatl in almost any location for hunting, fishing and self-defense to help you survive in adverse situations.

Making your own atatl in Sussex, England

Making your own atatl in Sussex, England

14. You can hunt with them. People have been using atlatls to hunt with for at least 12,000 or maybe at least 60,000 years. New laws allow atlatl deer hunting in Missouri, Alabama, and Nebraska. Many states allow small game hunting and wild boar hunting.

15. You can fish with them. Atlatl fishing is one of the most exciting ways to fish. Instead of the fish choosing you, you choose the fish. Atlatls cast harpoons much deeper and with more penetration than can be achieved with bow fishing. Check your local fishing regulations first.

16. Amaze your friends and confound your enemies with your atlatls and darts! Show your friends your new skill.

17. You can go places with atlatls and compete in contests. You can compare your score to everybody else’s in the world through the World Atlatl Associations International Standard Accuracy Contest or ISAC.

18. There’s a World Atlatl Association that ties everyone who plays with atlatls together in a network. You can join for a year for a very minimal amount and receive a newsletter.

19. You can do atlatl physics. Who says physics is incomprehensible. With an atlatl you can see physics in action! Energy equals the velocity squared times the mass.

20. You can use an atlatl as sculpture piece, woodcarving or woodworking project. Atlatls and darts are beautiful.

21. You can learn how to knap flint so you can tip your darts with stone points like the Native Americans did long ago. Isn’t that why many people start using an atlatl in the first place?

22. You can test your math skills by scoring contests. When a group of eager contestants surround you after a contest, you will have all your calculations completed!
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23. You can make your own atlatl. Go out into the forest and you can make a great primitive atlatl or better yet, check out one of our atlatl kits.

24. Take your date on an atlatl outing. Your date will be astounded by your romance, creativity and innovation.

25. Fantastic educational devices. Teachers, you can teach history, archaeology, anthropology, physics, math and more with an atlatl.

26. Atlatls are great for Summer Camp. You can entertain a group of youngsters at camp with ever increasing enthusiasm. Youth can spend hours of sheer joy with an atlatl at the range.

27. Atlatls make great school science projects for school. Just think of all the science lessons you can build around the atlatl. They make a fascinating display that your teachers and parents will be thrilled with for an A+.

28. They are interesting to discover in museums. It is amazing to see how many different types of atlatls were used by our ancestors, the kinds of darts our ancestors used and view the collections of projectile points on display.

29. Atlatls and darts can help you develop a healthy low impact exercise program. You will get plenty of walking and arm exercises, and you can do it with a small group of your friends

30. And you can get your atlatls and darts right here.

Bob Berg’s Flint Knapping Experiment

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Conservation of Flint
This is the result of a study to see how many usable points and tools that I could make from one flint cobble like the one in the upper right. The debitage pile amounted to a small handful of possibly usable micro chips which are not pictured here. The points at 1 and 2 o’clock were made with a single strike of the baton. The next four points clockwise are either uni-facially or bi-facially knapped. They were made from the flattest of the prismatic blades struck from the core at the center. The core has some usable material left. It is a handy size and shape to carry on a hunting expedition in a pocket.

These points did not take much time to make and while they are more fragile than points made by bi-face reduction, they are somewhat disposable because of the lack of time invested in making them. This project took me about 2 hours to complete. Most of the time was spent retouching the four uni-facially or bi-facially knapped points. The two points in the lower right show the difference between a uni-facially knapped and bi-facially knapped points.

Points and tools of this kind were often produced in Europe 18,000 to 10,000 years ago by cultures of the upper paleolithic in western Europe. Many of the tools were used to carve very intricate tools and weapons of ivory and reindeer antler. High levels of art were evident during this period which lasted until about the end of the last ice age.