Atlatls, Ancient Hunting Tools of the Nashoba Valley

As promised, we’re venturing back in time to the very earliest human habitation of the Nashoba Valley to take a look at the technology of the paleoindians 13,000 years ago!

The land which would become Massachusetts looked much different at that time. Most noticeably, there were many fewer Dunkin’ Donuts compared to these days. Furthermore, the last ice age was coming to a close, and the glaciers (some more than 2 miles tall!) had only recently receded from the area. These massive ice sheets left in their wake a vast, wide-open tundra scraped clean of forests, and this landscape lent itself to long-range hunting of big game like moose and caribou, and even megafauna like woolly mammoths!

This was still thousands of years before the bow and arrow appears in New England’s archaeological record. While good old-fashioned spears may have gotten the job done while hunting, paleoindians seem to have held the same feelings we do about getting too up-close and personal with giant animals who can smoosh you, and preferred to keep as much distance as possible. That’s where a piece of technology called the “atlatl” comes in!

You can scroll through this photo gallery to learn all about it, and stay tuned because tomorrow we’ll be coming face-to-face with the wild and woolly mammoths from Tuesday’s teaser trailer on our Facebook page!

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