Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Marvin Kay

Committee Member

Fred Limp

Second Committee Member

George Sabo III

Third Committee Member

John C. Whittaker


Social sciences, Atlatls, Darts, Experimental archaeology, Spearthrowers


Preserved atlatls and darts, commonly of small size, have been found across North America from the Early to Late Archaic. Close replications of these systems were employed in a naturalistic experiment on a fresh hog carcass. The use of high-speed cameras, a radar gun, and a video analysis program to measure dart velocity and view impacts in slow motion allowed a detailed analysis of the results. The experiment captured several details about atlatl and dart ballistics, including killing potential, the effects of point beveling on dart flight and impact, traceable impact damage on bones and stone points, and the effectiveness of various hafting arrangements. The results provide details about the atlatl and dart that will be helpful to the study of ancient hunting cultures.

Pettigrew2015 - The Ballistics of Archaic Atlatls and Darts, Video 1.wmv (206290 kB)
Ballistics of Archaic North American Atlatls and Darts