While reading my recent copy of the Central States Archaeological
Journal, I encountered an article on bannerstones being attached
to spears and not atlatls. When I read the article I realized that
it contained many errors and misstatements. So, I looked at the author’s
name (David J. Vohlken), read his bibliography and found that he
had written at least two previous articles on the same subject. Those
previous articles were also rife with errors, misinterpretations,
and misinformation. Having experimented and written about this subject
over the last 38 years, I decided to write the following rebuttals.
In order to keep things as orderly as possible, I have quoted the
author verbatim (in the order the articles were published) then,
written my rebuttal below his quotes (I found other errors but have
only written rebuttals concerning the main issues, as I see them).
Bannerstone Facts and Fancy: A Case for Spear Mounted Bannerstones:
Quoting Mr. Volhken:
“ Spears have been used for thousands of years with and
without spear-throwers or atlatls. At some point in prehistory, allegedly,
ago, objects today known as bannerstones became associated with the
act of spear-throwing by virtue of being discovered along with other
spear-related artifacts dating back to that time.”
Rebuttal: Bannerstones have never been found with “spear-related
artifacts.” They have, however, been found in direct association
with atlatl-related artifacts at Indian Knoll, Chiggerville, Carlson-Annis,
and Read. Those were Archaic Shell Mounds in Kentucky. There have
been several other shell-preserved sites also. The conditions in
shell mounds are unique. The alkalinity of the shells neutralizes
the acidity of the Kentucky soils, preserving antler, shell, and
other easily-decayed materials for up to 7,000 years. Many other
atlatl components were found at Indian Knoll (and the other sites).
They were buried in the mound matrix, not necessarily in direct association.
However, their indirect association with bannerstones cannot be disregarded.