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An Atlatl from the Baylor Rock Shelter, Culberson County, Texas

  • Franklin Fenenga (a1) and Joe Ben Wheat (a2)


During the early spring of 1938, a collector from Van Horn, Gilbert Monk, carried on superficial excavations at the Baylor Rock Shelter twelve miles north of Van Horn in Culberson County, Texas. His digging yielded crude yucca sandals, fiber cordage, undecorated pottery sherds, fragments of compound darts, a tumpline forehead band, a cache of chipped flints including a drill, a projectile point, and three knives, and a complete atlatl.

It is the resemblance of this last specimen to the Cimarron atlatl, and the general emphasis on the atlatj-bow chronology that suggested to the writers the desirability of describing this implement in some detail, although a complete excavation of the Baylor Shelter and a description of the other artifacts is planned for the near future.

The atlatl is complete except for the finger loops (see Figure 9). I t is made of a hard, straight-grained wood, possibly mesquite, and is highly polished.



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335 Baker, W. E. and Kidder, A. V., A Spear Thrower from Oklahoma, American Antiquity, III: 51–52, 1937.

336 Kidder, A. V. and Guernsey, S. J., Archeological Explorations in Northeastern Arizona. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulleti 65, 1919 . Guernsey, S. J. and Kidder, A. V., Basket Maker Caves of Northeastern Arizona. Papers of the Peabody Museum, Vol. 8, 1921. Guernsey, S. J., Explorations in Northeastern Arizona. Papers of the Peabody Museum, Vol. 12, 1931.

337 Baker, W. E. and A. V. Kidder, op. cit.

338 Mera, H. P., Reconnaissance and Exploration in Southeastern New Mexico, Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, No. 51, 1938.

339 Jackson, A. T., “Exploration of Certain Sites in Culberson County, Texas,” Texas Archeological and Paleontological Society, Vol. 9, 1937 .

340 Specimen in Gila Pueblo, collected by E. B. Sayles, and illustrated in Excavations at Snaketown, Vol. II, PI. XI, a, where it is incorrectly labelled as having come from western Texas.

341 Op. cit.

342 Op. cit.

343 Op. cit.

344 Heizer, R. F. “An inquiry into the status of the Santa Barbara Spear-thrower.” American Antiquity, Volume IV, No. 2.


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