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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Throwback Thursday – Atlatl Mishap

March 29, 2018

Atlatl dartA Throwback Thursday smile – In the past we introduced you to John and Otto Swennes, who found the mastodon ulna in Long Coulee. Now we’d like to tell you just how nice the Swennes boys were. In 2007 MVAC held a public field school on the brothers’ farm. One of the highlights for field school participants has always been learning to use an atlatl. This time, the atlatlers’ launch point and target were far out of range of anything important—or so we thought. After one dart was thrown, we looked and looked to see where it had landed. And then we saw it, embedded in the new metal roof of the Swennes boys’ house. It had gone all the way through the metal and embedded itself in the old wooden roof underneath. It’s not easy to explain an atlatl dart to roofing contractors, so the dart stayed in the roof (fortunately not leaking) for almost 3 months until we could get it removed and the roof patched. John and Otto politely asked us not to use the atlatl at their farm again, and kept the dart as their souvenir.