- Russ Leighton, in answer to Ian G., wrote, "...spear throwers of various types were used commonly by natives of the americas from Alaska to Peru....".
I can verify the part about atlatl use in Peru. In "Discovering Man's Past In the Americas" by George E. and Gene S. Stewart, published by The Special Publications Division of The National Geographic Society, copyright 1969, on page 26, shows a photo of a fifth century earspool (disc to go in a hole in the ear) from the Peruvian Mochica culture. The earspool shows a warrior wearing similar earspools and using an atlatl. The original is in the Muesum of Primitive Art, New York, if I read the citation correctly. If not, then it was provided by Victor R. Boswell, Jr. and James E. Russel. N.G.S. Staff, Art Institute of Chicago. That is the only reference I have located so far, but I am sure that Cortez's men wrote about their use, as Carolus mentioned. I have heard that the Conquistidors were scared of the Aztec atlatl, as the Aztecs could penetrate the Spanish armor with the thrown spears thrown from so far away the Spaniards could not shoot them with muskets, but have been unable to verify that statement, as I just haven't got access to those writing yet. I also understand a similar device was used in prehistoric Europe, as well as Africa and other areas of the Old World, until the advent of the bow, at least. If you, or anyone else, do find anything, how about sending me the references offlist. It will help me to complete a section on Missile Weapons on THE WEBsite.
of THE WEB
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