BOATSTONE BANNERSTONES

The boatstone is another form of atlatl weight that is fairly common in some parts of the United States.It is not unknown in Georgia, but is not as common as other forms of weights. This type of weight is often associated with Archaic to Woodland sites and seems to have been in use until the advent of the bow.In the southwestern states, these weights have been recovered still attached to the atlatl in the context of the Basket Maker culture.The weight was tied between the handle and the hook end where the dart or spear was placed prior to launching the weapon.

The term “boatstone” comes from the general boat-like shape of the weight.Like other forms of weights used with the atlatl, the boatstone weight was used to increase the efficiency of the throwing stick.The use of a larger handle or more dense type of wood might have accomplished the same purpose.Because of the labor involved in creating a hollow cavity in the stone that would then be hidden along the shaft of the atlatl, the boatstone may have had a secondary purpose, perhaps as a charm.Boatstones vary widely in their form, size, and material.Boatstones are crescent-shaped with one flat side placed against the atlatl handle.The “boat” may range from nearly rectangular and long to ovate, elliptical, cigar-shaped, or even circular.The amount of hollowing varies from deep with thin walls to no hollowing at all.Many examples may have a string groove along their convex surface.Some examples have a central hole or may have a hole drilled in each end for attaching them to the handle.Incising along the excurvate surface is not unknown.Boatstones range in size from 2 to over 5 inches (50 to 130mm) in length.