Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University'sDepartment of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology and Mu Alpha NuAnthropology Club will host the Fifth Annual Blackwater Draw AtlatlThrow on Saturday, April 30, at the Blackwater Draw Site (not themuseum as in previous years). The site is located along State Highway467, about six miles north of Portales and one mile north of the turnto Oasis State Park, on the road to Cannon Air Force Base. Registrationand practice will start at 9 a.m. with the Target Round beginning at 10a.m. The ISAC round will take place in the afternoon.
Thecompetition will include a WAA (World Atlatl Association) Target Roundand an ISAC (International Standard Accuracy Contest). An atlatl is adevice used to sling a spear with great force.
Therewill be categories for men, women, and children, and prizes for the topfinishers in each category. No experience is necessary. Bring atlatlsand darts if you have them. There will also be some available for loanand sharing. This competition is not restricted to primitivetechnology. Atlatls may be made of traditional or modern materials.
Thefirst time Dr. David Batten, adjunct assistant professor ofanthropology and event organizer, saw an atlatl competition was in 1994in Montana. Batten had never seen a dart made of traditional materials(hefty cane for a shaft and a point of flaked stone) thrown by anexpert. Seeing such a dart launched by an atlatl passing all the waythrough a bale of hay made him realize how powerful the tool was.
TheWorld Atlatl Association facilitates atlatl competitions around theworld and provides a plaque to each local winner. For the BlackwaterDraw Atlatl Throw, there are three categories: children under 16,women, and men. The winner in each category will then get to competeagainst each other. Each winner receives a Clovis point made by TommyHeflin.
Batten says he isexcited about the competition. This will be his fifth time organizingthe event. He expects about 20-25 people to participate.
"Theuse of the atlatl goes back to 20,000 years or more," says Batten."Just about everybody used this tool for hunting or warfare, from thearctic to the tropics." According to Batten, many groups continued touse it along with the bow and arrow, even into historic times.
Batten says that throwing the atlatl is "really cool" and encourages anyone to come out to Blackwater Draw and try it out.
Somerefreshments will be available for sale. Otherwise, participants shouldbring a lunch, or plan on a trip into Portales for food. There arerestrooms on site.
For more information, contact David C. Batten:
Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology
1500 S Ave K
Portales, NM 88130,