South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Archaeologist Visits CMA

By: Casey Robinson on Feb 15, 2013 | Categories:

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On Thursday, February 14, SCDNR Archaeologist Sean G. Taylor presented a lecture to CMAAS cadets (and LTC Armstrong) regarding primitive technologies. He discussed weapons, resources and tool-making as they were practiced by, not just Native Americans, but all cultures around the world in their prehistoric development.

The talk was begun with a demonstration of the atlatl or spear thrower. First Mr. Taylor showed the cadets in attendance the power of the tool by throwing a spear from the academic hall out onto the parade field. Then cadets Luke Halligan, Matthew Halligan, John Bowen, Hunter Cole, Nick Sheffron, Alexander Whitmore and Tanner Youngblood tried their hands at this, the oldest weapons system in the world. The cadets threw impressive distances, however, they discovered they might need more practice to hunt with this technology, when a target was placed about 50 feet away, and nobody could hit it.

After the spear throwing, Mr. Taylor discussed lithic (stone) technology. He discussed how prehistoric people selected rocks and demonstrated how those rocks were turned into tools. Cadets were given the opportunity to cut bone and wood with stone tools. They were surprised by the effectiveness of the ancient techniques.

Mr. Taylor continued his talk with a demonstration of the blowgun, specifically the manufacture of ammunition for the blowgun. In less than a minute, while talking, he turned a stick, a thistle and a little piece of string into a dart and fired it into the bull’s-eye of a target. The lecture was closed, as Mr. Taylor explained the value to professional archaeologists of such experimental activities in trying to understand cultures and the functions of their artifacts from thousands of years ago.