Environmental Education through Earth-based Arts, Traditions, and Technologies.
For 2.5 million years or more, humans have used stone tools. Only in the last several thousand years did we create metals, changing the world, and ourselves forever. Yet, even before that there were many advancements in stone tool technology throughout those 2.5 million years. From percussion flaking to pressure flaking, tools became more and more refined as humans migrated through out the earth and adapted the technologies to changing landscapes, climates, and food sources. Our classes offer a glimpse into the past of human ingenuity, showing us where we came from. These skills can still translate today as survival skills or even aesthetic pieces of art and jewelry.
Basic Stone Tool Kit
While arrowheads are the pretty stone tools that dazzle the eyes, there are more practical stone tools that take priority over the eye-catching ones. The “Oldowan Industry” was the first stone tool technological innovation by human hands. These tools, while crude, are still practical today for anyone interested in human history and evolution, or those who want to learn to make survival knives from stone. These tools are very basic, but do take some time and practice to be able to produce at will. In our class, students will walk away not with just a few new tools, but with an understanding of how to reproduce the tools on their own. In this class we create the first human tool kit: the simple stone hammer (used for hammering), flake tools (used for cutting plants and flesh), the chopper (used for chopping), a burin (used for scoring wood and bone), and a sanding stone (used for sanding down bone, wood, and other rough stones).
Simple Stone Arrowheads
Arrowheads are the most attractive stone tool. These days, flint-knapped arrowheads are more practical as earrings than they are for hunters who have access to steel. Still, there is something to be said about making the tools yourself. At our class we will learn to knapp or “pressure flake” functional arrowheads out of obsidian harvested from Glass Buttes, OR.
Obsidian is a volcanic glass that people have taken much of from the wild in order to learn flint-knapping. A more sustainable alternative is glass, which breaks in the exact same way as obsidian stone. We are helping to preserve the wild and using this recyclable material to teach an ancient skill.
Flintknapping is the art of breaking rocks to create tools. It is a skill that takes time, patience, and practice. In this intensive you will spend four evenings learning how to break down chunks of obsidian into usable tools from a trained archaeologist. You will learn to make bifaces, arrowheads, scraping tools, and blade cores. This technology dates to 200,000 years and is found nearly everywhere humans migrated after that time period. This class will put your body and mind in line with the humans who first began this process.