Atlatl Championship at Mount Independence

Journey way back to the ancient past, before the invention of the bow and arrow, to experience how people the world over hunted big game by coming to the 16th Annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship September 17 and 18, 2011, beginning at 10:30 AM on Saturday and 10:00 on Sunday, at the Mount Independence State Historic Site in Orwell, Vermont. The competition is based on the ancient hunting technique of using an atlatl (spear thrower). Atlatlists of all skill levels are welcome. Demonstrations of flint knapping, bow making, hafting stone points, fletching atlatl darts, cordage making with natural materials, and other aspects of Native American life will take place on Saturday. Food will be available.

Watch or participate in this colorful event, with exciting but friendly competition between novices, enthusiasts, and some of the best in the world, and from the young to young at heart. The event, co-sponsored by the Vermont Archaeological Society, is one of the highlights of September’s Vermont Archeology Month. The event, sponsored by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, is being held for the second year at Mount Independence due to the ongoing construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge.

The main competition is on Saturday from 10:30 to 3:30. Contestants test their prowess in using the atlatl to “hunt” mammoth, bison, and other “wild” game targets, shoot at modern day bulls-eyes in the International Standards Accuracy Competition (ISAC), and compete in a distance challenge. The atlatl is a shaped wooden stick that acts as an extension of the throwing arm, to hurl spears or darts with greater accuracy, energy, and speed. Winners in each category compete in a shoot out at the end of the afternoon for the title of Grand Champion. Call 802-759-2412 for an atlatl championship registration form or download one online. Competitor fee is $5.00 for each day.

An atlatl-making workshop ($65 fee) will be held September 16 from noon to 5:00. Pre-registration (802-759-2412) for the workshop is required. The Vermont Archaeological Society is offering a day long flint-knapping workshop both days, and on Saturday a hands-on demonstration of Northeastern pre-contact pottery making. To sign up for either of these, call 802-644-5675 or email [email protected]

On both Saturday and Sunday there will be showings of the film, Champlain: The Lake Between, at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Sunday morning, starting at 10:00 a.m., is a smaller International Standards Accuracy Competition. Afterwards, at about 11:45, is a master coaching class offered by champion atlatlists for children and interested adults. Also starting at 10:00 are the flint-knapping and Woodland pottery workshops.

The site is open 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM. Admission for each day, including the museum and trails, is $5.00 for adults, free for children under 15.

The Mount Independence State Historic Site is located at 497 Mount Independence Road, six miles west of the intersections of VT Routes 73 and 22A, in Orwell. It is open daily through October 10 from 9:30 to 5:00. For more information about this event, call 802-759-2412.

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