Amazing Kids! Magazine

How NOT to Die in the Ice Age

By Enzo Monfre, Sci Tech Kids Columnist

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Pete Monfre

When you think of the word “technology” you probably think of things like computers and smart phones.  But did you know that technology was evolving before anyone even knew what a wrench was!

Thats right, 13,500 years ago at the end of the last ice age, technological advancements were being made. And they were being made by the Clovis people. The “Clovis” people got their name because the first findings of Clovis people were found near Clovis, New Mexico. (Why they are not called the “Near Clovis” people I don’t know.)

They were able to hunt large game like mammoths, bison, and mastodon. How? With a little weapon called an Atlatl. An Atlatl is an ancient spear throwing device made of wood or bone. The Atlatl itself is normally 1-2 pieces, a 2-3 foot long stick (which is held onto) and a small 2-2.5 inch spur. The spur and main part of the Atlatl is sometimes one piece.

The spear is made of three parts, the main shaft or back of the spear (which is the longest part), the fore shaft or front of spear, and the blade at the very end of the spear.

Some of you may be asking what’s the point (No pun intended) of using an Atlatl? The Atlatl basically extends the arm length of the hunter. This extra advantage is able to double and even triple the normal spear throwing strength. The Clovis people needed this extra power to penetrate the thick hide of their prey. It was also more accurate than regular spears.

The Clovis people were expert flint knappers. A flint knapper is someone who can take a chunk of flint and basically chip it away until it forms a spear head or other tool. The spear heads they make are unique to any other spear head and are called Clovis points. They are unique because of their general shape and have two flutes carved on each side.

With the Atlatl, the Clovis people could throw spears with such strength that they were able to hunt large creatures such as mammoths and mastodons. Rather than follow smaller, weaker animals long distances just to hunt, they could settle in one location and have plenty of food. The Clovis people were masters of technology and this mastery was a major factor in their ability to survive.