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Evidence of a new weapon — the atlatl (AT-lat-uhl) — appears in Archaic sites.While Paleo Indians may also have used the atlatl, it is not until the Archaic period that archaeologists actually find physical evidence of it in Louisiana.Approximately 8,000 years ago, the Ice Age came to an end, and Louisiana was transformed into the land we know today.The weather became hot and humid; much of the grasslands gave way to forests, lakes, and swamps; and the mega fauna was replaced by our modern animals.Still, Paleo points are sometimes found in the piney hills of North Louisiana, the Macon Ridge in Northeast Louisiana, and other elevated areas where flooding does not occur.

About 18 inches long, the atlatl had a bone or antler hook fitted into one end, on which the back of the dart was inserted.

A hard rain a few days earlier made scouting conditions perfect. Today's hunters stalk deer, squirrels, ducks and turkeys with flat-shooting rifles and magnum shotguns, but in the distant past the game and weapons were much different.

After walking for some time, I spotted it right in the middle of the road. The first Native Americans, or Paleo (PAY-lee-oh) Indians, probably wandered into this region some 12,000 years ago armed with spears. Only 2 to 3 inches in length, they are streamlined, as if designed for sticking an animal and pulling it out.

They stayed in one place longer but probably moved with the seasons to take advantage of ripening nuts and plants.

Louisiana's rich environment meant Indians did not have to spend every waking hour looking for food, and thus the Archaic people had more time on their hands.

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