Primitive Technology

Primitive Technology appears to be a phrase with words at odds with each other- an oxymoron so to speak.  When you start delving into the world of indigenous skills you will come to the understanding that “primitive peoples” were not stupid, unevolved, uncultured, or actually primitive.  To produce stone projectile points such as the Clovis or Folsom points, prehistorical peoples had to have a very advanced culture that allowed them the leisure to develop extremely talented craftsman.  These master craftsman had to think in very complex steps which only a very few of our modern flintknappers can do.  So, technology is a word very fitting to peoples who live or lived off their ancestral homelands, however primitive really is not.  Our Primitive Technology courses are based on the hard skills that aboriginal peoples used not just to survive but to live a very comfortable existence.

View our calendar to check out upcoming classes. Or read about Custom Courses if you’d like to see something happen that isn’t currently on the calendar.

Advanced Skills 5 Day

This experience is designed to provide hands on training in skills too involved to cover in our weekend skills courses.  Pounded ash pack baskets, bow making, and brain tanned buckskin are skills that can take years to get proficient at on ones own.  Our instructors and unique training environment can accelerate your learning curve, or take your existing skills to the next level.  Learn the nuances of material location, selection, and craftsmanship.

Arrow Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Learn how to make arrows for the bow you made during the Bow Making Class. We will learn how to harvest, dry, straighten, size, fletch, and haft arrows. If you want to hunt primitively with your own equipment that you made from scratch then this workshop is a must. This year we will be making arrows from River Cane a southeastern species used by the Cherokee and other tribes.

8 person limit

Location: Check Our Calendar for current locations, dates, and times.

 

Ash Baskets

Prerequisites: None

Come learn how to make a split ash basket (type determined by course heading) using the same methods used in New England by basket makers for thousands of years. You will learn how to pound ash (black or white depending on availability), cut splints and weavers, handcraft a handle, and create a basket that will become a family heirloom. Ash baskets are great for a wide variety of uses, are extremely durable, and will last several lifetimes. Depending upon your skill working with your hands, you should be able to complete a basket during the course. If not, you will have all the necessary materials and knowledge to complete your basket at home, and post class consultations can be provided if necessary. All native materials will be provided. Bring a good knife, a pair of sharp scissors, and a small flat screwdriver. 4 person limit.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Blanket Coat Workshop

Prerequistes: None

We will be using wool blankets, and you will make your choice of a pull over or button up winter coat. Wool is warm when wet, very quiet, and great in the woods. There is nothing like wearing something you made yourself. Bring a 100% wool blanket at least queen size.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Bow Making

Prerequisites: None

Come learn to how to make a bow. We will explore the techniques necessary to make all kinds of bows; however, we will focus on and make an Eastern Woodlands Bow. White Ash will be used, an easily worked wood conducive to the EFB design. Bow staves are included in tuition. Tools will be provided. This now a five day class.

6 person limit

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Arrow Making 3 Day Immersion

Prerequisites: Some hand skills

In this class we will start learning all the steps required to make your own arrows.  Then you will learn how to spine and shoot your arrows.  You will learn how to tune your arrows to your bow- the most important but little covered aspect of archery.  Come prepared for an obsessive/compulsive week of hands-on arrow making.  6 person limit.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Container Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Containers are a major player in primitive survival and living that do not always get enough attention. Boiling water, cooking food, collecting edibles, and storing materials are just a few of the immediate concerns in aboriginal living. You cannot do any of these without containers. We will make containers out of bark, wood, and roots; and talk about and demonstrate containers made from hides, clay and gourdes.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Drum Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Come learn how to make a 16″ single-headed hand drum and beater. This is no kit drum. The hoops are handcrafted from steam bent Red Oak, and the hides are hand fleshed and dehaired Whitetailed Deer hides from the hunting season. You will be putting the two together to create your own living instrument. Bring lunch, water, and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.  4 person limit

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Fiber Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Fibers are one of the primary needs of aboriginal life. They are needed for cordage, clothing, lashings, weapons, decoration, tools, traps, games, and fire making. We will explore the fibers available locally, what they are best utilized for, and spend some time making and using cordage. We will cover identifying, harvesting, drying, storing, and preparing plant fibers.

Location: Check Our Calendar for current locations, dates, and times.

 

Flintknapping Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Learn the basics of how to make knives and arrowheads out of stone. We will be learning how to do direct precussion, indirect precussion, and pressure flaking. We will also talk about pecking and grinding- the latest in stone tool technology(only 10,000 years old.) Bring leather gloves and protective eyewear if you have them. Also bring warm and wet weather clothes (we will be outside all day), lunch, and water. 8 person limit

Location: Check Our Calendar for current locations, dates, and times.

Humanure Composting Toilet Workshop

Prerequisites: None

In this workshop you will learn about Humanure Composting and build a simple composting toilet you can use in your home.  Composting human waste is simple and safe completing the cycle by putting back to the earth what you take from it.  It also provides wonderful natural fertilizer you can use for your vegetable garden or on your trees.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Moccasin Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Join us in crafting a simple high-top moccasin perfect for stalking. Using modern commercially tanned deer hide you will go home with a pair custom made to your feet. Bring 8-10′ of leather, or we will provide it for a materials fee. If you have any questions about what type of leather to get please contact Andy Dobos at 860-997-3480

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Natural Hide Tanning

Prerequisites: None

Learn the ancient art of braintanning- an earth friendly method of turning a raw hide into a beautiful piece of buckskin. You will learn both the wet and dry scrape methods. Be willing to work hard and get messy. Bring (wear)work clothes(that you can get dirty), a change of clothes, work or rubber gloves(insulated rubber gloves are best), high top rubber boots, rain gear, water bottle, and notebook. We have changed the workshop into a class, so we can get as close to a finished hide as possible. You are welcome to camp on Friday and Saturday nights.

4 person limit

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Primitive Pottery

Prerequisites: None

Constructing containers is a vital skill for aboriginal people.  They are necessary for collecting various materials, storage, and cooking.  Many types of vessels have been created by primitive people, each style made from different raw materials—fibers, bark, animal hide, stone, mineral particles, etc.  Clay vessels are some of the most appreciated containers for their ability to be placed directly on coals (similar to a metal pot, a trait shared with very few other primitive containers in the world).  They appeared in the eastern forests about 3000 years ago and consisted of relatively unrefined clay particles and, usually, some form of temper to provide resistance to thermal shock.  Native people were intimately familiar with the clay resources and worked out methods of firing their clay to make efficient cooking vessels.  This class will introduce the world of primitive pottery, basic terminology, tools, and firing.  Small to medium size pots will be the goal of the class (the pots will be functional and can be used for cooking).

Location: Check Our Calendar for current locations, dates, and times.

Rawhide Workshop

Prerequisites: None

This workshop is designed to learn how to make and utilize rawhide. Rawhide is much more water resistant than buckskin and was used to protect valuables such as clothing, blankets, and meat. We will create what the French Voyageurs called parfleche to make containers, shields, boxes, and rattles.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Skinning and Butchering Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Learn how to skin, butcher, and prepare animals for storage.  We will discuss techniques concerning various mammals, different sized animals, and time of year acquired.  We will also talk about preserving techniques and health issues concerning meat and primitive storage.  Modern and stone tools will be covered.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Skin on Frame Kayak

Prerequisites: None

 

This week long Course will guide the participant from start to finish  through the process of building a skin on frame kayak.  Instructor Bob Donahue has been hand crafting canoes and Kayaks for twelve years.  An architect by trade, Bob brings a level of attention to detail and professionalism to the art of boat building that is unparalleled. Join us for this hands on exploration of an ancient art refined with modern matrerials.

 

Spirit of the Hunt

Prerequisites: None

You will learn the skills necessary for an aboriginal hunt. We will focus specifically on deer hunting, but the information will be applicable to all animals. Hunters, trackers, naturalists, and primitive skills practitioners will all have something to gain from lessons in awareness, camouflage, movement, concentric ring study, track aging, scrape and sign analysis, animal behavior, and hair and scat study. We will also cover the utilization of all parts of a deer, including brain tanned buckskin, sinew cordage and bone tools.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Stitching and Lacing Workshop

Prerequisites: None

Sewing is a skill that crosses all cultural and time lines.  Whether you use nylon, polyester, cotton, sinew, buckskin, or rawhide you need some kind thread or lace to hold two pieces of material together.  We will be working with artificial sinew, animal sinew, commercial leather, and brain tanned buckskin to learn the arts of stitching and lacing.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Stone Tool Workshop

Prerequisites: None

What happened to your knife, your saw, your hatchet? Maybe you left then home on purpose. By direct experience learn to find, make, and use rocks as tools. We will touch on some flint knapping techniques but this is not a flint knapping class, it is about taking stones found in the landscape and, with as little alteration as possible, using them to make other things such as friction fire components, trap parts, or even archery gear.

Location: Augusta, Maine

Throwing Skills Workshop

Prerequisites: None

This is one of those great workshops where it’s all fun and games. You will throw knives, tomahawks, throwing sticks, and whatever else we can get our hands on that has a point. We will have stationary and moving targets as well as a “quail walk” style throwing stick range.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

Wigwam Building

Prerequisites: None

We will spend the weekend building a traditional wigwam using materials off the landscape.  We will discuss construction techniques and materials used by native peoples.  We will also confront problems encountered in a natural structure such as managing smoke in a lodge.  This structure will become part of a planned primitive village.

Location: Augusta, Maine

 

 

Wild Crafting: Bark, Plant Fiber, and Rootlet Basket Workshop

Prerequisites: None

We will harvest basket making material from the landscape and create containers useful for survival and modern applications.  Bark, plant fibers, and rootlets are the cords available to us in primitive situations.  We will talk about the best plants to use and time of year to harvest.

Location: Augusta, Maine

Comments are closed.