Hands-on History: Middle School Students Explore Atlatl History

Grand County Middle School students recently had the opportunity to practice an ancient skill: throwing darts with atlatls. A second class-lever, atlatls are spear-throwers that have helped hunters across the world for many thousands of years. The first atlatls were invented approximately 17,000 to 21,000 years ago. The earliest known atlatl was found in France, but the technology spread across the world with the movement of people, and atlatls remain in traditional use today in some areas of the world. In the Americas, the first human inhabitants of the land hunted mammoth, mastodon, and other large megafauna at the tail end of the most recent Ice Age using atlatls. This tool, widespread across the world, was part of our region’s human history- enabling the first people in Utah to hunt the large animals around them.

This year, 234 Grand County seventh and eighth graders got to try their hand at using atlatls during a two-day event in collaboration with the school.