The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By PNT Staff 

A throwback to prehistoric times


When it comes to hunting, technology has advanced a great deal since the days of slinging spears or rocks to bring down large animals for food.

This Saturday, residents can see the tool prehistoric hunters used when modern-day competitors compete in 9th annual Atlatl Throw at the Blackwater Draw dig site.

At one time, the Atlatl was used for hunting and warfare world-wide, said David Batten assistant professor of anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University.

“It is a weapon that has been invented multiple times in different places,” Batten said. “It has been used on every continent and in Australia.

“There is some evidence that it was used in the southwest when the Spanish came.”

The ENMU Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology, Mu Alpha Nu Anthropology Club and the Blackwater Draw archaeological site are hosting the competition.

Registration starts at 9 a.m., with an hour long practice before the competition begins at 10 a.m.

The competition for men and women has four targets, while the children have just one.

Contestants get a couple of chances to hit the target and then move onto the next.

Winners from the three groups will compete for the grand championship afterwards.

Stacey Bennett, an ENMU graduate student in anthropology, is the defending grand champion in Atlatl Throw. Bennett said she got involved with Atlatl through the university and George Crawford, the Blackwater Draw site Archaeologist.

“I was familiar with the Atlatl technology, but not the competition,” Bennett said. “So I came last year as a guest and participated. It is really exciting.”

This year Bennett is a member of Mu Alpha Nu Anthropology Club and a student at Eastern so she is more involved in Anthropology.

Bennett said she is looking forward to having fun at the competition.

“We have a lot of people stretching from as far away as Albuquerque to the Petroglyph National Monument,” Bennett said. “A lot of people come from all over It is a lot of fun.


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