Students from ANT 112: Introduction to Archaeology Do Experimental
The question posed to the class was this:
Does the use of an atlatl (a spear thrower) significantly increase the distance someone can throw a dart?
The results were surprising.
On average, students were able to increase their distance over 10 meters (or 33 feet) by using the atlatl. This was significant, since this was their first attempt, with no prior training. Students all agreed that with more training, that would improve.
Unfortunately, none of the students hit our target (a cardboard box at 50 m – or 165 ft). So it didn’t matter how far everyone threw their darts.
If we were really out there hunting, we’d all be “going hungry.”
(Of course, in hunting and gathering societies, we would probably expect to collect much of our food, anyway.)