Archaic Artifacts

People continued using spears during the Archaic period. But they also had a new tool that they used with their spears. This new tool is called an atlatl (pronounced ÄT-lä-tul).

An atlatl is a spear thrower. It allows hunters to throw spears with great force and accuracy. It consists of a long, narrow piece of wood with a small hook on one end and a handle on the other end. The drawings below show an atlatl and an atlatl with a spear and projectile point. You can see how the spear fit onto the atlatl before it was thrown.

Atlatl, spear, dart, and projectile point.

Sometimes the projectile point was tied directly onto the spear shaft. Other times, it was tied to a short piece of wood that was inserted into a hollow space at the end of the spear. This made it easy for a person to detach the projectile point from the spear shaft.

Basin metate and one-hand mano.

Archaic people used stone tools called manos and metates (pronounced meh-TAH-tays) to grind grains, seeds, and nuts.

Mano is the Spanish word for "hand." The mano was held in the hand and moved back and forth against the metate, which was a much larger stone.

During the Archaic period, manos were small enough to be held in one hand. They are called "one-hand manos." The metates had an oval depression, or basin. The basin held the food as it was being ground. Archaeologists call this kind of metate a "basin metate."

At some Archaic sites in rock alcoves, archaeologists have found very fragile artifacts. These include sandals made from yucca, baskets made from various plant fibers, and clothing made of deerskin.

Twig figurine that looks like a deer (replica).

In a few locations, archaeologists have discovered small figurines made of twigs. The figurines resemble deer, elk, or bighorn sheep. They might have been used in hunting rituals.

This is a replica of a twig figurine from the Archaic period. It probably represents a deer.