Historical site hosts spear-throwing competition

Daily Journal file photo Residents can try their hand at aiming the world’s oldest manmade hunting tools June 6 during the inaugural Archeaolympic Games at the Town Creek Indian Mound state historic site.

MOUNT GILEAD — To celebrate World Atlatl Day, local residents can test their survival skills at Town Creek Indian Mound’s inaugural Archeaolympic Games from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6.

Contenders can try their hand at fire-making by bow-drill, demonstrate accuracy in throwing Atlatl spears or by playing a game of Chunky, and compete in timed cordage weaving.

World Atlatl Day was initiated by Linda Brundage and the New York Atlatl Association in 2011. Due to its popularity, the World Atlatl Association membership voted to officially recognize the first Saturday in June of each year as World Atlatl Day. An atlatl (pronounced at-latal or atal-atal) precedes the bow and arrow and is one of the oldest hunting tools known to man.

“Participants can play for fun or play to win.” site manager Rich Thompson said in a release.

Prizes will be awarded for highest overall male and female competitors in three age categories. Fee is $5 to compete in all events. Contact the site at 910-439-6802 or at [email protected] for more information.

For more than 1,000 years, American Indians farmed lands later known as North Carolina. Around A.D. 1000, a new cultural tradition arrived in the Pee Dee River Valley. Throughout Georgia, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and western and southern Piedmont North Carolina, inhabitants built earthen mounds for their leaders, engaged in widespread trade, supported craftspeople and celebrated a new religion.

The mission of Town Creek is to interpret the history of the American Indians who once lived here. The visitor center features interpretive exhibits and audiovisual displays. A national historic landmark, Town Creek Indian Mound State Historic Site is North Carolina’s only state historic site dedicated to American Indian heritage.

Tour groups are welcome and encouraged. The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 1-5 p.m. Sundays. It is closed to the public Mondays and most major holidays.

The historic site is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. It is located at 509 Town Creek Mound Road outside Mount Gilead. For more information on Town Creek, visit www.towncreekindianmound.com.