I've added a photo gallery in the sidebar to the right of the main blog feed. I think nearly all these projects have been shared here over the years but this makes for easy viewing. I'll continue to add images and re-post some older work as I get time so please check back feel free … Continue reading Photo Gallery
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.
I'm re-sharing an older post of some experimental turnshoes I made quite a few years ago. These were based on some Scandinavian examples from the archaeological record. They came out pretty good for a first try. My only modification would be to tighten the width through the arch and lengthen the toe area slightly. I … Continue reading Medieval Turnshoes
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
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
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
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
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
Tying your own shoes - Before looking at the ethnographic literature I experimented with tying up some simple sandals with mixed success. It turns out that it's not as simple as one might think. Now I'm a connoisseur and am always making mental notes when I see old depictions, or in the old world, images … Continue reading Simple but Ingenious
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.
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…
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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