A Workbench from Pompeii

The art and artifacts from Pompeii have been much on my mind since the major new excavations have been published the past couple years.  I was looking at this wall mural and noticed the very Roman workbench in the lower left, complete with bench dogs while the young carpenter whacks away with hammer and chisel. … Continue reading A Workbench from Pompeii

Primitive (but useful) Sewing Kit

Sewing I do quite a bit of sewing and I feel it is an essential skill for nearly everyone.  My sewing includes new buckskin trousers, cotton shirts, shoes, a few leather bags, backpacks, and repairs to clothes to name just a few projects.  All this has caused me to think about sewing without manufactured goods. … Continue reading Primitive (but useful) Sewing Kit

On the Antiquity of Gourds

Gourds have played an important role in human history in both the Old World and New.  The origin, domestication, and spread of this and other plants was a topic of much conversation when I was in graduate school.  It seems now that its antiquity and introduction to the Americas is becoming much clearer.  This humble … Continue reading On the Antiquity of Gourds

Primitive Arts

Today I'm prepping to present some primitive skills on Saturday, from raw materials to finished goods. I'm also getting some kid's activities together to draw in the latest generation. An assortment of stone-age technology laid out to take to the public.

Archaeological Work in Progress

I don't normally share my professional work on this blog but thought it might be of interest.  We were out re-recording a rock shelter yesterday known for some rather mysterious pictographs.  Mysterious in that they are vague and probably mostly wiped out due to weathering.  Only the protected portions of the shelter contain clear images … Continue reading Archaeological Work in Progress

Spear Thrower Follow Up

  A quick follow-up on yesterday's post in the wee hours of the morning. Based on a question that came in yesterday it seems appropriate to show the thrower in use.  This is my favorite dart but I'm a little embarrassed by the sloppy fletching.  The base (proximal end) of the dart is carved out … Continue reading Spear Thrower Follow Up

In a spin about fletch wrapping

arrow_anatomyFinding “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).

The Reverend's Musings

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…

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Ancient Dutch Ovens and the Ceramic Hibachi

"A good meal ought to begin with hunger." French Proverb. All animals need to eat.  All the time.  As humans, we eat every day if we are lucky.  An average Westerner will have about 275,000 meals in a lifetime, not including snacks, munchies, and other nibbles.  Once upon a time, we all caught, gathered, and … Continue reading Ancient Dutch Ovens and the Ceramic Hibachi

Making Tools

Back to the beginnings.  Larry Kinsella is a great flint knapper and an all-around talented guy who, amongst other things, recreates stone-age technologies from his home near Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (one of the great cities of the prehistoric world) in Illinois. Back in 2008, Larry, prompted by Tim Baumann, created a great lithic … Continue reading Making Tools

Learning from Masters (not me, just what I seek)

Using archaeology to find out hows things "should be" done?  A response to a common question, by George Thomas Crawford I am regularly asked about my connection to archaeology and my interest in primitive technology.  I've also been chided by some people in the primitive tech community on behalf of other archaeologists because they (archaeologists) … Continue reading Learning from Masters (not me, just what I seek)

The Breheimen Bronze Age Bow – 1300 BC

Breheimen Bronze Age Bow 2

On 7 September 2011, an advanced constructed and complete bow was found at the edge of the Åndfonne glacier in Breheimen mountain range. The C14 dating shows that Norway’s oldest and best preserved bow is 3300 years old. 

The 131 centimeters long bow was discovered by archaeologists in connection with the last check before summer fieldwork was completed. The bow was found at the ice edge about 1700 meters above sea level. This shows how important it is that archaeologists are present just when the ice is melting.

Findings of complete bows are very rare, and it turned out even rarer after the results of the C14 dating returned from the laboratory in the U.S.: The bow turned out to be 3300 years old – dating back to about 1300 BC – in other words from the early Bronze Age.

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Breheimen Bronze Age Bow 1

It is the oldest bow ever found in…

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Megalithic Art at Midnight: King’s Mountain, Co. Meath

ShadowsandStone.com Blog

Down a narrow track off a minor country road, the pillar at King’s Mountain sits upright in a field like a beautifully decorated standing stone. This stone however is quite special, being the solitary remaining roofstone or lintel of a long destroyed passage tomb type monument which had been built around 5,500 years ago. Just five kilometers away is one of Ireland’s greatest passage tomb cemeteries from the Neolithic or Late Stone Age, the Loughcrew complex of decorated chambered tombs. These are also visible against the sky from this spot.  Meath is a relatively low lying county so even though the hills at Loughcrew are not particularly high, they do dominate the lowlands for many miles around.

Though they had been noted by a Miss Beaufort in 1828, the passage tombs at Loughcrew were first formally described by Eugene Conwell in 1864 and presented as ‘The Tomb of Ollamh Fodhla’ in…

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Heritage and Preservation

Imagine how different heritage preservation would be in America if our feeling of kinship and stewardship were more like those in Europe. If, instead of viewing the prehistoric heritage of the New World as something to exploit and profit from in a very short-sighted manner, we, as landowners were to view ourselves as caretakers of these treasures for future generations. Heritage management can be a very different model in other parts of the world.

The Heritage Journal

A guest post by Philip I. Powell. First published at
http://www.facebook.com/megalithicmonuments.ireland, reproduced with permission.

TOORMORE WEDGE TOMB

RMP No. CO148-001

A colleague, on a recent visit to a wedge tomb in west Cork, was shocked to find it being used as an out-house, containing trash bins, old rubbish and strewn with litter. I find this totally unacceptable, to see such callous disregard for a national monument and deeply concerned about what we really think about our national heritage. Is it that, unless it is given national attention via the state & independent media networks, we actually don’t care! Or are we saying that certain monuments deserve protection and others are perhaps not worthy of such protection.

All recorded archaeological monuments are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and this applies to every single one of them and not just the high profile monuments such as Newgrange,  Poulnabrone, the Hill of…

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Sandals of the New Kingdom, Egypt

Some shoe solutions from the Bronze Age, North Africa. Sandal maker - New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty from Thebes ca. 1504–1425 B.C.  Like a Diderot illustration this gives a good look at the workshop of an artisan with the essentials of his trade.  There's the stool, which is useful in leatherwork as it gives a good lap … Continue reading Sandals of the New Kingdom, Egypt

Wooden Spear

I am double posting this from my professional blog because I think it is really remarkable.  A cave find from southeast New Mexico. From time to time, we receive donations from private individuals.  After a few phone calls back and forth, I arranged to meet with someone who wanted to show me a dart she … Continue reading Wooden Spear

Basketmaker-Anasazi sandals

These are sandals constructed from the narrow-leaf yucca.  These designs are based on specimens preserved in caves.  These might not be much to look at but they are remarkably impervious to the many sines, spikes, and other poky things found in the deserts of the west.  These are two and four warp designs and the … Continue reading Basketmaker-Anasazi sandals