Learning a thing or two from the past...Part 1, 21st century Westerners are not the first to minimalize. "The things you own end up owning you." Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club There's a lot of recent talk about Minimalism as a social movement and this fits well with my personal philosophy and my interests in preindustrial … Continue reading Thoughts About Minimalism and Survival
Category: primitive technology
My fishing kit is coming together and I added another hook and leader last night. The left hook and gorge are made from deer cannon bone (metacarpal) and the right is whitetail deer antler. The antler hooks are proving to be tougher and less likely to snap under tension. The leaders here are yucca and … Continue reading Primitive Fishing
Learning by Replication
I study the technology of prehistory. Because of this, I believe strongly in the benefits of experiential archaeology. It gives perspective on a very deep level. We can walk in the shoes of our ancestors, so to speak. I say experiential here not experimental and I'm glad to hear this word coming into the dialog … Continue reading Learning by Replication
Raised With Wilderness Skills
Don't leave the kids out of the things you find important... Nota bene! The following ramble was written at three in the morning and may contain sentiment, ramblings, and a bit of opinion. I don't want this to sound preachy. What was intended as a few childhood pictures from primitive technology events ran away with … Continue reading Raised With Wilderness Skills
At Rabbitstick 2017
About the early shoes...
Ghillies (simple shoes) again
Here's a simple shoe design that was made by our ancestors before there were shoe shops or Zappos. Much of the Europe population, both male and female wore a variation of this for many millenia, right up into the early 20th century. They are commonly associated with their Celtic cousins in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland … Continue reading Ghillies (simple shoes) again
Making Modern Spearthrower Darts (Atlatl)
Power Tools and Preindustrial Technology Recently, I realized I needed to make a new batch of darts (spears) for an annual atlatl event at Blackwater Draw. This is a recurring problem when teaching large groups, so several years ago I came up with a system that works well for mass producing these Ice-Age weapons with … Continue reading Making Modern Spearthrower Darts (Atlatl)
How to Build an Earthen Oven — Savoring the Past
https://www.youtube.com/embed/i0foHjPVbP4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent The existence of ovens like this is easily documented for the 18th century. In fact, just about every ancient culture had a very similar oven. There’s one particular wood cut illustration from medieval times depicting an earthen oven built on a wagon. There are references in 18th century literature and also archaeological evidence that … Continue reading How to Build an Earthen Oven — Savoring the Past
Traditional Pottery Maker
I only know Kelly vaguely but I know she is an extremely talented artisan. I am continually impressed by her skill level and ability to make it all seem so effortless. I believe that is an indication of true mastery. Here is a short documentary of her work to inspire the inner-Maker in you. Watch … Continue reading Traditional Pottery Maker
Antler and Bone
Despite my lack of free time currently, I have been re-inspired to get back to antler and bone as a medium for tool production. My only issue with them is that they are enormously time intensive. Even using a modern saw and occasionally a steel rasp these take a lot of energy to make. However, … Continue reading Antler and Bone
More Paleolithic Technology in the Shop
I recently finished another Paleolithic inspired spear thrower (a.k.a. atlatl). This came about due to some throwing over the past year that re-energized my feelings about this technology and it's sporting aspects. As usual for this type of project, I made several at once since the tools were at hand. Here's a quick rundown on … Continue reading More Paleolithic Technology in the Shop
Trade Card from a Bow and Arrow Maker
An advertising card from when people appreciated hand made archery equipment. No training wheel, gizmos, releases, or sights. There is no date on the image but I suspect that late 18th century or early 19th century would not be too far off. Apparently javelin throwing was in vogue at the time as well. Now we … Continue reading Trade Card from a Bow and Arrow Maker
How to Improvise and Use a Three Stick Roycroft Pack Frame
Thanks to Survival Sherpa for posting this look at making a pack frame. Making a quick, three stick pack frame is a valuable bit of knowledge. How serendipitous that this came up (seems to be a lot of convergent thinking around my world lately) as I am beginning to tweak my own wooden pack frame … Continue reading How to Improvise and Use a Three Stick Roycroft Pack Frame
There are still Huaraches north of old Mexico. As I prepare to resole my huaraches I thought it might be good to look back on them as a very viable hand-made shoe. For a long time while searching for huarache construction techniques, I could only find the simplest tire sandals and many links to "barefoot" … Continue reading Huaraches!
Bois d’Arc Primitive Skills Gathering and Knap-In
A fun and relatively tame primitive technology event for a good price located in southwest Missouri put on by good friends of mine. Here's some information from their website: This unique event has two parts - a free knap-in/native arts-crafts show starting Thursday, with top-notch knappers, artists, and crafters from a 20-state area making and … Continue reading Bois d’Arc Primitive Skills Gathering and Knap-In
Japanese Pack Frame
And an interesting basket. Pack frames are nearly universal historically as most cultures encounter the drudgery of carrying heavy loads over long distances. I am always searching for historic images to delve into to look for inspiration. Here is a nifty pack frame from the early 20th century of a charcoal maker from Japan. The … Continue reading Japanese Pack Frame
Atlatls Gone Wild
For the past twenty or more years the technology of the spear-thrower has become more and more well-known as a sport. Popularly called an atlatl in the Americas as that was the name the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs gave it. This is a world-wide technology and arguably one of the greatest technological leaps for early modern humans. … Continue reading Atlatls Gone Wild
In a spin about fletch wrapping
Finding “handedness” in archaeology… using the fletching of arrows as an example. As a professional archaeologist AND primitive technologist I am very skeptical when someone claims they can determine which hand of a maker is dominant on an ancient tool or weapon. One reason for the distrust is that the archaeologist may not have experienced creating the object in the same way the original maker did. I think the Leatherworking Reverend has a valid point in the following article (and not just because it affirms my own experiences).
At most find-sites that have arrows there will be a non-equal mix of S- and Z-wrap on the bindings. The dig report will assert that left-handed fletchers were responsible for those that aren’t the majority direction arrow binding, probably without mentioning whether it’s the Z- or S- that they are talking about. I can’t find where it was written down the first time, but it has been repeated until it became lore. Consider the Ötze website:
According to technical archaeologist Harm Paulsen, the two arrows could not have been fashioned by the same person. The fletching shows that one was wound by a left-hander and the other by a right-hander.
and the Mary Rose Trust:
Hopkins (1998) studied 408 shafts from chest 81A2582 (O9) and recorded that, in every case, the binding thread had been wound in a clockwise direction from the tip end of the shaftment (ie, the portion of the arrow…
View original post 279 more words
In a fit of energy I got around to putting proper and better shoulder straps on my pack basket made last summer. The pack is willow and the leather work is approximately 10 oz. Hermann Oak harness leather. Once the leather ages a bit they will be beautiful and rustic-looking.
While sorting staves in the barn a long section of bark separated from a quartered trunk. While this one is not from one of the usual species used for bark containers I decided to give it a try. Bark is used as a raw material for making water resistant hats, bowls, quivers, and other containers … Continue reading Bark Basket