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December 18, 2013 at 9:41 PM

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Ancient tool back in the hunt


ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Sam Porter tries her hand using an atlatl at a preview and demonstration of the ancient hunting tool, a spear throwing device, outside the Burke Museum Wednesday. The device increases the distance thrown up to six times and the spear can approach 100-miles-per-hour according to Steve Denton, archaeology program manager for the museum. Archaeology Day is Saturday Jan. 4 and visitors can try using an atlatl to hit a target. Wednesday morning Denton was the only one to hit a mastodon drawing. The atlatl is thousands of years old and provided distance, safety and velocity for the hunter. In North America, it dates back to when mastodons were hunted, Denton says.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Steve Denton of the Burke Museum retrieves a spear that missed the target but one of his remains stuck in the mastodon target.

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