For more than 300,000 years, people have used spears for hunting and warfare. In some parts of the world as early as 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, both the power and the accuracy of a thrown spear were revolutionized by the invention of the spear-thrower.
The spear-thrower consists of a short, rod or slat with a handle on one end. On the other end, a small spur of wood, ivory or stone slots into the end of a spear. The spear is held in place by fingers or a rest and thrown with a running motion. This innovation allows its user to hurl spears further and with greater force and accuracy.
Some makers improved the performance of their spear-throwers by adding weights and grips. Many have elaborate finger grips and beautifully carved weights and spear rests, often with animal-inspired designs.