Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The act of creating a notch, to attach a stone point, kind of gets glossed over when discussing Stone Age hafting technics. There are a number of methods involving sawing, drilling, wedging, and splitting. One used prehistorically for atlatl dart foreshafts and spears, was perhaps first described by archaeologist C.B. Cosgrove in 1947. The tale tell splintered condition at the bottom of the notch, score marks, and shaft splits, led to the discovery of how it was made. The shaft is notched on opposite sides, rotated 1/4 turn, and two more notches are cut farther down the shaft. Splits are started by bending the end of the shaft back and forth. Then the split section is carefully, and forcefully, bent and broken from the shaft - leaving a notch. This can be cleaned up with a stone flake. This is actually a fairly easy technic. The original Cosgrove drawing of this technic was published in, “Caves of the Upper Gila and Hueco Areas in New Mexico and Texas.” This same technic was noted in the artifacts studied in “Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of California and the Great Basin”, by Noel D. Justice.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Missouri Clay

Pictured is a fire hardened spear point, dated at over 400,000 years old, discovered in 1911 in England. It is the oldest known worked wooden implement, known as the Clacton spear. Everything I have ever read about making wooden spears involves hardening the point in the super heated soil, or coals of a fire. I thought this was interesting... a team of British researchers conducted tests in 2016 on the effects of fire hardening on wooden spearpoints. After treating, and subjecting wooden shafts to impact, they concluded that fire treating did ‘slightly’ harden the point, but also ‘significantly’ weakened it by making it 35% more brittle. They surmised that the appearance of purposeful fire hardening, may more so have been the byproduct of charring the tip, so that it could be more easily shaved or abraded into a sharp point. It was more about reducing the time and labor to produce a sharp point on a wooden shaft. As a side bar, flintknapper Jack Cresson conducted experiments with hardwood flakers, fire hardening some. He concluded that the fire treatment did nothing to increase the efficiency of the pressure flaker flintknapping. As a thought, perhaps burnishing (polishing by rubbing with a bone) the point, compressing the wood fibers, after forming the point might be more efficient. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Needed a container to store dried hide glue in, for my primitive tool kit.  I selected a pithy stem of a Jerusalem artichoke, and hollowed it out.  Sealing the butt end with a plug and pitch, I wrapped the open end with sinew, to keep it from splitting when the stopper was wedged in.  The tube also made a good core to wrap and store rawhide cordage.  Now, need to make a few more for mineral pigments.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hafted Cofield Blades

Missouri Creek Bottom Chert

A little Missouri creek bottom chert, antler shed, and sinew.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Knife River Flint


When early man crossed the landscape he sought out quality stone to make tools.  Stone was needed to form chopping edges, bits for boring holes in wood and bone, scrapers for cleaning hides, and sharp and pointed edges for cutting and piercing.  Located near Dunn Center, North Dakota, is a prehistoric quarry of dark brown rock.  Knife River Flint has been used for thousands of years.  Clovis points have been unearthed dating back 10,000 years.  Artifacts of Knife River Flint have been found from Montana to New York, Canada to New Mexico.  Pictured is a projectile point and several spalls of Knife River Flint.

Novaculite Neck Knife/Sheath

I’ve been putting together some knives and made this 6-inch white/black novaculite knife, and buckskin neck sheath.  Novaculite comes in a variety of colors but I especially like the black and black/white combination.  This unique rock is only found in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Native Americans used this resource to make tools to chop, drill, scrape, and cut for every day survival.  Later, settlers in the area used novaculite for whetstones.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Edible Insects Class @Bois D' Arc

 I attended the Bois D' Arc Primitive Skills Camp & Knap In, in Missouri, in 2017.  One of the reasons I attended was to participate in the Edible Insects class, conducted by Bo Brown.  We gathered in the early morning, and set out walking the perimeter of a open field looking for bugs.  We managed to find grasshoppers, crickets, grubs, and some wolf and orb spiders.  We even opened some mud dabber nests to harvest the larvae.  I've eaten bugs before but I still have some mental blocks eating insects, that require making a "shift".   Bo Brown preached that all life is precious, and encouraged us to give thanks for their sacrifice that we might learn  and be nourished.  We took the wings and lower hooked legs off the grasshoppers, and cooked the insects to kill any parasites.  I watched one young participant, Celeste, tentatively eat a wolf spider, and then go on to clean up any left overs.  Eating insects is all a state of mind.  I thought it was interesting that the United Nations released a paper years ago stating that using insects as a protein source would become a necessity to feed growing populations.  Insects are highly nutritious in protein and vitamins compared equally to beef.  Many native populations relied on the seasonal crops of insects to supplement their food sources. This summer I look forward to the influx of June bugs, a staple of some of Plains Indians.

Bois D' Arc Primitive Skills Camp & Knap In

I had been looking at the Bois D' Arc Primitive Skills Camp & Knap-In for a few years, and finally had the chance to attend in September of 2017.  What a great setting, in a dale at the historic Hulston Mill, near Greenfield, Missouri.  IHALA (Interior Highlands Ancestral Lifeways Association), founded by primitive skill enthusiast, Bo Brown, hosts this annual event - now numbering 20 years.  This is a gathering of several hundred flintknappers, vendors, and primitive skill artisans, open to the public.  Students gathered in the morning, over a three day period, to sign up for classes - available were flintknapping, bow making, primitive fishing technics, edible and medicinal plants, traps & snares, edible insects, darts & atlatls, basketry, etc.  There was a little bit of something for everyone.The evenings were filled with laughter and music, as musicians and drumming circles played into the night.  The local historic society, which maintains the Hulston Mill, runs a snack shack for anyone wanting to buy a meal, drinks, or ice. The camping area is abundant with plenty of room for some seclusion.  The 21st annual is scheduled for September 28 - 30, 2018.  Check out their website at: http://boisdarc.info/