PALEOTECHNICS
Ancient Arts & Technologies
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Programs

“The Best Day of School Ever!”

Hands-on participation
in ancient technologies
brings the whole topic to life and
gives participants a better understanding
of how our ancestors have lived.

 

Soapstone
Beadmaking

Drilling hole in piece of soapstone using bamboo tipped willow drill

Drilling hole in piece of soapstone using bamboo tipped willow drill

Drilling Holes
in Rocks with Sticks

is a fun coordination developing activity which introduces many of the age old stone and wood shaping techniques used in many other technologies: drilling, grinding, polishing & oiling. 

Using soapstone (a soft but durable stone) we make beads to hang on the string that we have created. 

Participants drill holes in soapstone using a drill made of willow & bamboo, shape that stone in to a bead using abrasive stones, polish the bead with "horsetail" sticks, and oil the finished bead with fat. 

Everyone takes home either a bracelet or necklace which they are very proud to have made "from scratch".

Soapstone & pine nut bead necklace made “from scratch”

Soapstone & pine nut bead necklace made “from scratch”

 Hunting Tools Target Practice

Arrow through hoop target.

Arrow through hoop target.

Extremely Popular!

A safe activity
as long as there is
enough space and
Other adults present

Large grassy field is the best venue. 
Tools available for this activity are:

RABBITSTICKS
Oldest & most pandemic of hunting tools.
In Australia, rabbitsticks evolved into the boomerang.

HANDSPEARS
One of the oldest most fundamental of tools.

Showing how to hold the spearthrower.

Showing how to hold the spearthrower.

SPEARTHROWERS (aka *Atlatl or **Woomera)
Enjoy a long & diverse history as the tool used worldwide to hunt mammoths, mastodons & other megafauna. 

In the Old World, spearthrowers were replaced by the bow & arrow long ago, while in the New World, spear throwers reached a much higher level of design.
*Atlatl is the Aztec word
**Woomera is the Australian Aborigine name

Atlatl in motion. The dart is about to fly away from the thrower.

Atlatl in motion. The dart is about to fly away from the thrower.

CROSSBOWS
First developed in China in the 3rd Century BC
Our low power crossbows are very popular.

Firemaking

Fire From Sticks

We begin by demonstrating how to make a fire by rubbing sticks together. Prepared handdrill firemaking kits are then supplied so participants can partner or group up and give it a try as an additional thing to try during their bead making activity.

Friction fire is a difficult skill to learn, so youth programs concentrate on the process, the need to cooperate, get into a rhythm and focus each individuals’ energy.

Focused groups of younger kids
do sometimes succeed at making a hand drill fire,
which is both empowering and exciting..

Young adult programs are slightly longer
and more focus is given to actually making fire.

Watch YouTube video of
firemaking demonstration & more

Friction creating smoke.

Friction creating smoke.

Astragalus bone dice game

Astragalus bone dice game

Games of
Chance & Skill

Catch games, dice game
& buzzer games

Catch games made from deer cannon bones, atlas bones & string

Catch games made from deer cannon bones, atlas bones & string

Hoop & Pole game    is a very fun and instructional spearthrowing game.

Hoop & Pole game is a very fun and instructional spearthrowing game.

Preparing to throw the atlatl.

Preparing to throw the atlatl.

Ready to release the arrow.

Ready to release the arrow.

BOW & ARROWS
Probably the most familiar hunting tool. 
Still used in many different forms today.

Pine Nut
Beadmaking

Pine nut beads a string

Pine nut beads a string

Food & Decoration
in one

Using pine nuts (Pinus sabiniana) we make beads to hang on our strings to create a beautiful necklace which represents the energy and time that we have put into creating it.

Pine nut, willow stick & soapstone bead necklace

Pine nut, willow stick & soapstone bead necklace

Stringmaking

Triangle twisting style of stringmaking

Triangle twisting style of stringmaking

String From Sticks

The process of extracting the native fiber Dogbane and/or other materials is demonstrated and can be explored further with individuals if there is adequate time & interest. We will use prepared Romanian hemp to practice string making and create our necklaces.

We twist these fibers into string using a group triangle twisting method which utilizes concepts of physics & geometry and which also requires cooperation.

Three fibers twisted together: dogbane, milkweed & black buckskin

Three fibers twisted together: dogbane, milkweed & black buckskin

Ropemaking

Teaming up as a Group
to create a Class Jumprope

The process of making a rope embodies a lot of cooperative energy.

Three separate cords being twisted on their own and then together.

Three separate cords being twisted on their own and then together.

Teamwork

Working Together

Sharing our workstation with friends.

Sharing our workstation with friends.

Getting ready to throw handspears at rolling hoops.

Getting ready to throw handspears at rolling hoops.


SUCCESS!! Three 6th graders tending the fire that they created completely on their own.

SUCCESS!! Three 6th graders tending the fire that they created completely on their own.

 

Schedule a Program

The program described here is specific for school situations and dates are available in the Fall, Winter & Spring months.

EMAIL TAMARA 
to find out about current available dates or with questions for more specific information concerning a custom program to fit your needs.


Look at the
TOPICS page for a complete description of other topics.

Don't have a large enough group to sponsor a program?
Check WORKSHOPS for upcoming family day programs open to the public.

 

Details

STANDARD PROGRAM
(4 Stations & 7 topics)

4-5 hours
usually 8:30am-lunch & 1.5 hours after lunch

  • Covers hunting tools, pine nut beads, soapstone beads, stringmaking, firemaking & ropemaking. 

    1. Includes all materials.

    2. Travel Fee may be added.

    3. Larger groups are divided into 4 groups to rotate through 4 stations.

      • $750 for around 10-15 students, $10/student thereafter.

        • Requires 3-4 other adults

      • $850 for 20 - 30 students, 
        $10/student thereafter.

        • Requires 4-6 other adults

      • $950 for 40 students, 
        $15/student thereafter.

        1. Requires 6-8 other adults

      • $1150 50 students (50 max)

      • Requires 8-10 other adults

Horsetail plant, soapstone squares & pine nuts

Horsetail plant, soapstone squares & pine nuts

click here for
school program brochure
 
(pdf download)

SHORT PROGRAM
(3 Stations & 5 topics)

3.5 hours
usually 8:30am-lunch

  • Covers hunting tools, pine nut beads, soapstone beads, stringmaking & firemaking.

    • $750 for around 20-30 students.

      • Requires 5-7 other adults


Demonstrations 

Usually presented as a display of samples which the students can touch, handle & ask questions about, combined with a live demonstration of the process. 

Common topics for demonstrations are:

  • Netmaking

  • Ropemaking

  • Basketry

  • Braintanning deer skins (Leathermaking)

  • Flintknapping (Stoneworking)

Tamara scraping a dogbane stick before extracting fiber

Tamara scraping a dogbane stick before extracting fiber