An Atlatl Spur
from the San Francisco Bay Area

by Norm Kidder



The picture shows an atlatl spur collected by San Francisco State University from a large Ohlone Indian village site in the San Francisco Bay Area of California (dated from around 400 BC -1800 AD) There were two in the collection, both very similar. This one is 1.375 inches (3.5 cm) long by .5 inch (1.2 cm) wide by .375 inch (1.2 cm) thick. The bottom (not shown) is concave and is identical to the inner surface of a piece of elk bone, and is also the same thickness as an elk femur in my stock (elk were common in this area at that time). I made a replica from the elk bone and fashioned an atlatl with a tip matching the shape of the spur. I tied it on with sinew and tried it out at our local Coyote Hills Knap-In. It works perfectly. The piece does not have a carbon 14 date, but in our area the bow and arrow arrived around 1200 AD, replacing the atlatl, suggesting that this piece could be 600 years old or more. I wrote it up because it is authentic, but also because it is easy to make - and it works. All you need is a piece of elk bone 3/8th inches thick (or cow bone if you prefer) and some abrading tools.


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