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Atlatls and Bannerstones

Excavations at Indian Knoll

The University of Kentucky, Lexington,
Reports in Anthropology and Archaeology
Volume IV, Number 3, Part I

William S. Webb (1946)

 Gustav's Library Vintage Reprint

Atlatl combination of hooks, weights and handles from burial associations

One of the most electrifying archaeological discoveries in the Eastern United  States was made  near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky in the first half of the 20th Century.  This site, known as Indian Knoll, was originally excavated and described in Some Aboriginal Sites on Green River Kentucky by Clarence B. Moore in 1916.  Some of the most interesting artifacts recovered from the graves were prismoidal bannerstones and antler hooks.  Moore postulated that the bannerstones were used as  net web spacers and the antler artifacts as weaving hooks for net manufacture. 

The true significance of these finds was not recognized until some 20 years later when the site was re-excavated and the Moore expedition data was re-analyzed by Webb.  The results were astounding, in Webb's own words:  "From a careful study of this body of artifacts, their position in the graves, and their association with each other, the conviction has grown that all of these antler hooks are the distal ends of atlatls. All of the antler sections are handles, attached to the proximal end of the atlatl, and the "banner" stones, subrectangular bars, and composit shell artifacts are all atatl weights.  

Suggested restorations of atlatl forms

Many of these artifacts were recovered  in-situ with the handles, weights and hooks in their proper positions with matching hole diameters and traces of asphalt that was used as an adhesive.

As Webb references plates from Moore's original excavation report we have reprinted this work as well.  Please see the companion book Some Aboriginal Sites on Green River, Kentucky. as well as our reprint of Bannerstones of the North American Indian by Byron Knoblock

This 6-3/4" x 10",  251 page, soft cover, facsimile reprint contains 58 illustrations, the majority of which are full page photographic plates, and one foldout map of the site.  $19.95