Bannerstones

3.12 Bannerstones

Bannerstones

Atlatl parts have been found with some Archaic burials in Kentucky. The way the parts were arranged shows that complete atlatls had been buried, but the wooden parts had since decayed. Some stones, carefully shaped and drilled through the middle, have been identified as weights which, when attached to the atlatl, could have made it more effective. Yet some of these objects, often called bannerstones, seem to be too large and fragile to have been used for hunting. Clearly, many of them were made by skilled craftsmen who, in addition to their technical abilities, had an eye for beauty when choosing materials.

It is quite possible that some bannerstones were used in hunting rituals during which the hunter acted out the killing of his prey to increase his luck during the real hunt. Or, perhaps, bannerstones were used solely as gifts or as special items of trade. The fact that many bannerstones have been found with the burials of females, who normally were not hunters, could mean that they were used in ways that are still unknown.

Catalog number: A 3728/000342
Image number: AL07448