In cordage write-ups you may come across a "withie". These are whole shoots or branches, split halves, thirds, fourths, etc. These can be strong and relatively quick to make, but they don't make bow drill fires. The closest I got was a basket willow shoot that put up a mean fight for about ten smooth strokes of the bow drill. Then it just shattered. I tried more with the same results.
Lets go back to the bark pounding mallet. "Save the hickory splinters", grab the longest thread like pieces and reverse wrap them into a cord! Use the pounding mallet to reduce the entire branch into splinters, bark and all. If the bark is so stuck to the branch, give it a last chance! A pinky to thumb thick bow drill cord made of strong flexible wood fibers can take a lot of torque. The hardest part is twisting these fibers into a cord. The second hardest part is the initial loading of the spindle. If you buff the completed cord over a branch the way you would remove bark from a root you can break in the string so it won't give you a hernia to operate. Once you have broken in the cord, it will give you a lot of fires before breaking
You may pound up roots that did not last or are of inferior quality. The fibers need to be long and thin, preferably 12 inches or more in length An over spliced string does not last. Do keep this string under water or frozen when not in use. Wood fibers can take days to re-hydrate and may never again be as supple as the first time. White and other Ash trees, Cherries, Hornbeam, Vibernum and any green branch that is hard to break can be pounded into wood fiber and made into a beast of a bow drill string!
There are a lot of factors that increase and decrease the life of a bow drill string. So far all that has been discussed is size. Some examples I've given are small in comparison to the stable size of a "real" bow drill string. Rope is a better word for what we want. I can't stress enough how important it is to make your cord at least as thick as your pinky. They always stretch and lose diameter from use. If you make the cord as thick as your thumb, you won't be making cords instead of fires. A good bow will add life to your string!
A thumb thick Hickory branch of the same dimensions as previously described for branch bark is also suitable to use as your bow. In peeling season you may use your debarked branch! The branch can be from any tree as long as it is strong and has even flex. You don't have to be as picky with this branch, it can liave bark, knots and branches. It can even be a dead branch, but it should be somewhat straight and at least two feet long.
Cutting branches with a sharp, edged fractured stone can go quickly. Especially if you choose Quartzite! This is the same tool that I use to shape my spindle, liand hold and fire board. I will not discuss all of the pieces and construction of the fire making kit in this article, only what is relevant to aiding the bow drill string.
The thickness of the branch gives the bow a good flexibility which adds life to a plant fiber string. By removing some tension from the string, especially at the knots you compensate for the string's affinity to stretch. You need to make two-inch-long splits in both ends of the bow. This is easiest to do with stone tools as you are removing the branch (see the split separation section under tree barks).
If you've saved all of your scrap pieces of barks or roots you can use them now to tie off the splits of your bow. Wrap the cordage around each end of your bow about three times and tie them with square knots. As these ties dry out they loosen up. You can slide them up closer to the wedged in cord to tighten their grip, a lot like tightening a drill chuck. This also keeps the splits from getting longer.
Wrap the excess bow drill string's length around the handle end of the bow a few times and wedge the end back into the split to snug it dowa Knot the far end if it slips out. I learned this bow design from Saralee Moores.
1. a. (Splitting Willows), Survival Arts of the Primitive Paiutes by
Margaret M. Wheat, ISBN: 0-87417-048-6, pp. 91-95. b. (Splitting Willows), Basket Making by Olivia Elton Barratt, ISBN: 0-8050-261-7, p. 78.
2. a. (Reverse Wrap Cordage), Cedar by Hilary Stewart,
Barry Keegan and his partner Anthony Follari operate a school in Elmford, NY called PATHWAYS that teaches a variety of primitive, survival and wilderness living skills. If you wish to contact Barry or would like a brochure-of classes they have to offer, write or call: Barry Keegan, 6 Heather Lane, Elmsford, NY 10523, Phone: (914) 592-8961.
This excellent article by Barry Keegan will appear in 3 parts over 3 issues. Part 3 will conclude with making and using the bow, leaf fibers and whole leaves, stalk plants and runners.
So, don't miss a single issue of TRIBE. If you just can't wait that long send $3.00 to cover costs and mailing and we will send you a copy of the article in full.
"The road to great discovery and true revelation is seldom a direct or well-traveled route.
For example, you might head out into a part of the county you seldom traverse, like the bustling sho-o-plex just east of Pineville, not finding the shopping center you were looking for,
By Kim Pressley _©Kim Pressley 1996_
cruise down 1-485 to some forlorn and barren exit, drive a mile or so off it and encounter
Well, they are called The Monuments at Ballantyne, but they are four squared-off stone arches on the four corners of a someday busy intersection. It is not busy now and the shops and homes that will one day surround them are just blueprints on the slanted table somewhere. So, for now, the Monuments, which are supposed to be Outstanding in Their Field, are out, standing in a field near the South Carolina border. And, as they stand there, it reminds one of nothing so much as Stonehenge, the ancient English archaeological site whose origin is attributed to the Celtic (that's the hard 'C' Celtic, not the Boston ones) culture of the third century B.C., and whose exact purpose is still something of a mystery.
Reminds one of what you might ask, and that is a good question. But everyone whom I ran the idea past, and who had stumbled upon the Monuments, quickly latched onto the connection. And even Boris Tomic, the Yugoslavian-bom artist who conceived them concedes that there is a Celtic influence to his work.
So there. An idea, and then, in a flash of inspiration, another.
What if this was not the first time?
What if, thousands of years ago, some slightly pretentious Druidic land development firm, searching for just the right way to sell a new, upscale collection of three and four-bed hovels in the ever-competitve west-central highlands market, decided to erect some "monuments" at a key crossroads. You know, it could serve as a sort of landmark and would give the place a sense of history and all. You might have seen ads like this in the Middle Anglia Daily Henge.
"Com tu hystork Stonehenge, whur the hanshaent tymes com to lyffe. Modyl Ovels ur open noaew."
Okay, actually that's more like middle English, the kind that students have, for years, hacked their way through while reading Chaucer ("perced to the roote etc. etc.). It was perfected long after the Normans had arrived, 1,500 or so years after Stonehenge construction. In truth, the type in the Daily Henge probably looked more like modern computer gunk, the kind of stuff that pops up on the screens when you convert Macintosh files to IBM and vice versa. Tough reading, but it was harder to spot the typos.
Henge, by the way, would be a pretty good newspaper name, since it means a dirt trench, like the one dug around the Stonehenge (get it?). So it would have been natural for some old Druid editor to tell one of is reporters, "Gu henge up sum dyrt on yon developers, u gnoe the ones I meen. The ones wyth the straenge stone towers?"
In any event, let's say the Ulric Companies of Central Anglia threw up some Monuments and a couple hovels. Let's say that, by coincidence, they happened to align a couple of monuments with the winter solstice's sunrise. Then, let's say that in an effort to avoid another round of hyperinflation, Federal Reserve Druid Athelred Graenspaen pushes the third century B.C. England interest rates up three or four points.
You know what that means. The hovel market collapses. Real estate druids can't sell existing hovels, much less the newer—and more expensive— spec hovels.
Out at Stonehenge (and its sister developments, The Pasture at Stonehenge, and Druid's Trace), die entire sales and maintenance force is downsized. The model hovels fall into disrepair. In time, there's nothing left but some man-made stone arches, out standing in a field. Except for the minor difference tliat there's no six-lane highway passing through it, it looks just like Ballantyne. Or should we say "Ballanhenge?"
Centuries later, some wily capitalist from the Royal Museum says its an ancient religious site. Someone gets a government grant to build a visitor center and we're on our way down the path to unsubstantiated story about ancient Celtic burial rites.
A market collapse here and now doesn't seem imminent, but you just never know. Two thousand years from now will those that follow us experience the same thing here? Will there be a visitors' center on (the old) Johnston Road where they learn how ancient Presbyterians marked the seasons with the giant stone portals? Will they wonder about the strange scenes and carvings cut into the rock?
Only tyme can answer. Or is that tyne?"
—Written by Tucker Mitchell in The Leader September 27, 1996
Spurs the imagination, does it not? Can you hear the heated past arguments (or discourses as some sophisticated professionals would like to call it)? What if someone picked up one of our many science fiction novels thinking it was a history book! I mean we are not infallible. Especially in this narcissistic world of ours, anybody could build a scenario. Just go to the movies, there it is right before your own eyes. Before you know it you are transported into that world (just by acting!) The mind is an interesting phenomenon, you usually act how you believe. The ability to convince everyone that you are an authority has been perfected in this age. Eveiyone is a primitive: self-taught Because as soon as you think you know it all, that is when the facts will change. Here is a mind bender, actuality: reality, that is supposed to be fact. But who declares it as fact
Somebody made a statement once, "how do you know, you only know what I told you!"
YOU KNOW YOU'RE A REAL PRIMITIVE WHEN [
George Hedgepeth (Great Lakes Primitives, Flint, MI) sent us this item and continues in the same vein that Jeff Gottlieb started with "You Might Be An Abo If..."
Go ahead and try us out! Do you have a question related to primitive, wilderness or survival skills? We network with some of the best teachers and practitioners of these skills in the country and we will research for an answer to your question and print the results here. We look forward to hearing from you!
Join us in future issues as we explore answers to readers' questions on cattail mat making, cattail leaf shelters, primitive footwear, fire making tips and friction fire making with green materials. If anyone has information on these subjects and/or is knowledgeable enough to write something on these subjects please send it to us. Share your experience and experiences. You don't have to consider yourself a good writer, just write us in whatever way you would write. The knowledge shared is what is important. Like I always say, "Knowledge not taught is knowledge lost".
Careful analysis of projectile points from early sites on the Peruvian coast provides evidence of environmental change as well as testimony to the endurance of specific tool-making traditions. French scientists who are analyzing vestiges of the earliest-known culture there have documented a bifacial lithic-point tradition so strong that it continued even when simpler tools would have been more practical. The scientists suggest that the delicate and intricate bifacial points may have been status symbols.
Claude Chauchat of Bordeaux University's Quaternary Institute has been studying Peru's early hunter-gatherers including the earliest-known people, the Paijinense, for about 20 years. With colleagues in the Cupisnique French Archaeological Project, he has analyzed changes in climate, excavated burials, examined faunal remains from dwelling areas, and conducted extensive studies of the distinctive Paijin projectile points including a painstaking replication program. These archaeological sites in one of the western hemisphere's driest places have yielded evidence that the Paijinense adapted from inland to coastal resources as drought gripped the land and the level of the sea rose.
Dr. Chauchat and colleague Jacques Pelegrin, a widely respected litliic expert and flintknapper, are now able to compare material left behind in Paijin workshops with material produced by their own experimental flintknapping. In one carefully controlled project, Dr. Pelegrin experimentally replicated 13 Paijin points, ascertaining the technical difficulty and evaluating the know-how required to make such multi-stage creations compared with that needed for production of other types of tools the Paijin people possessed or might have used.
Chauchat argues that the beautiful Paijin points are evidence in themselves that their makers were adapting to the disappearance of once-plentiful land mammals at the end of the Pleistocene about 10,000 years ago. The desert near Peru's coast north of Lima has revealed remains of a variety of Pleistocene mammals including edentates--the anteaters, armadillos and sloths- proboscideans such as haplomastodon, horses, and llamas. However, the campsites of Paijin hunter-gatherers excavated by Chauchat and his colleagues have contained only the remains of land snails, fish and lizards. There were also bones of small mammals and birds, but there is no indication that the Paijinense had access to large or even medium-size animals.
As withering drought gripped the land and sea level rose in response to melting glaciers, meat on the hoof was no longer available to the people to hunt. But they continued a tradition of making large bifacal projectiles, presumably following the custom of earlier generations of hunters whose quarry consisted of Pleistocene animals. However, projectiles that would be effective against a horse, edentate, or elephant were no longer appropriate, for the people were now getting food from the sea, which had advanced from 10 to 50 kilometers onto the land. So Paijin knappers altered the traditional bifaces into a distinctive form that could be effectively used to stab and secure big fish they found.
"Such points would be very efficient on the soft flesh of large fish," Chauchat suggests, "allowing very deep penetration and avoiding the loss of spear and prey, which would certainly not be killed by the blow." With their slender, acute tips, the altered points would have broken if they had been used on large land mammals, probably even before penetrating their tough hides, Chauchat believes.
"One can see no terrestrial hunting circumstances which could explain the Paijin point features, especially its elongated tip," says Pelegrin. And given that they are fishing points, Pelegrin believes they obviously came from a tradition in which points were tools bifacially flaked from one piece of stone. "If not," Pelegrin told the Mammoth Trumpet, "it would be for sale $3.00 Per Jar
Susan Geno has donated a couple of cases of her homemade Kudzu Blossom Jelly to TRIBE. So, here's your chance to try some. You won't regret it. It has a beautiful color and tastes a little like grape, but unique, in its own flavor. THERE ARE ONLY A FEW JARS LEFT! All proceeds received will go to TRIBE. While it lasts we will offer it for $3.00 per jar plus $2.00 shipping for each jar. Order from and make all checks, etc. payable to TRIBE. s ujpjpojr t tjrib£/
delicate points may not have been practical
_from Mammoth Trumpet Vol. 10, No. 3_
incomprehensible that the Paijin points, as fishing points, could be as they are. They should be made out of wood (a simple stick with a barb wing attaclied on the side) just as the spear points used by Peruvian Indians a few millennia later."
Chauchat elaborated on this point for us, noting the great expenditure of time and energy required to spear fishes with such litliic projectile points. Creation of sufficient numbers of the fragile Paijin points would have required quite a lot of time and effort from flintknappers with high levels of expertise. "So it seems that the Paijin way of life was the imposition of a strong tradition of making bifacial lithic points onto a previously unsuspected type of game--and environment. If tradition had not played a prominent role," he continued, "more-easily made types of spears could have been utilized." Very hard wood was available, and further, "pointed flakes can fulfill the same function if property hafted. These solutions have been met by a number of people around the planet."
Chauchat said: "Our guess is that Paijin points had other, social, rather than simply economic functions, maybe as status symbols or as a means of recognition of a male-specific activity."
Asked whether existing projectiles made to hunt land animals had been reworked to spear fish, Chauchat said there is no evidence of it. Most of the points were broken or unsatisfactory pieces found in lithic workshops. "It could have been that some pieces were reworked at the beginning when people first came in contact with the sea, but I believe that very shortly there was a conscious strategy of modifying the overall shape of the point to adapt it to the maritime environment." Chauchat says the stems were made more slender to be fixed in a hollow shaft, the tip was elongated for better penetration in soft flesh, and lateral barbs were shaped to keep prey from escaping.
The process has been documented by Peruvian archaeologist Jesus Briceno, who worked with the Cupisnique team in the Santa Maria Gorge. Briceo studied chipping floors there that had fishtail points on the surface. One such workshop that was completely excavated contained fishtail points together with Paijin points apparently made by the same workers. Both were made from the same materials, mainly milky quartz and rock crystal from a nearby outcrop. "This shows that at this time both types of points were made, probably for very different uses," Chauchat said.
"What is conspicuous is that there is no intermediate form between fishtail and Paijin points," he added. "It seems only that in this workshop, the latter are shorter than elsewhere and particularly the tips are less elongated. It seems to me that this people came to the coastal plain from the interior, possibly from the high Andes, and was confronted with the contrast of the aridity and consequent scarcity of terrestrial game and the evident wealth of the seashore." So the people adapted to the seashore.
Chauchat does not believe projectile points were used to hunt the lizards found in the Paijin faunal record; they are too fast and too small. He said that even Callopistes lizards that grow to one meter in length, have a body thickness of less than 10 centimeters. And he noted that according to ethnographic
The scientists suggest that the delicate and intricate bifacial points may have been status symbols.
accounts, lizards can easily be caught in traps-sometimes in great numbers.
Does the litliic evidence connect the Paijin assemblage with lithics in other parts of South America or elsewhere?
"For a lithic specialist, the Paijinense lithic assemblage looks very much like other contemporaneous assemblages, either in South America or perhaps also in North America," Chauchat replied. "In general terms there is in [South America] a very strong tradition of making projectile-point forms that are lithic and in one piece, as opposed to wooden, bone or antler ones and as opposed to projectile points made of several separate elements such as microlithic barbs. As a consequence there must be a high level of expertise in knapping stone as evidenced by Clovis, Folsom, fishtail points, etc. They are particularly sensitive to stylistic (or functional) shape variation all over the world, so it is not that strange that they are so variable also in the Americas."
Chauchat points to a different kind of lithic tool found widely in Paleoindian assemblages of the Americas. "It is an ovate or bi-pointed multiple scraper or knife that I call 'uniface,' [in contrast] to the bifacial tools," he explained, noting that there is a problem with nomenclature, because the word "uniface" has "a quite-different meaning in the English vocabulary of lithic tools." The tools to which he refers look very much like Mousterian limaces, though they seem more variable in shape and size. Paul Ossa, who studied early human occupation of Peru's Moche Valley in 1969 and 1970, described them in the La Cumbre lithic assemblage by using the term "slugs" as a translation of the French limace. 'They are exhausted pieces," Chauchat said, meaning that they have been intensively retouched for resharpening until they were too small to use. "There is some evidence that the originals were much larger. These scrapers are found all over South America. Recently, I examined some of them in the assemblages of the first Holocene layers of Pedra Furada and in neighboring sites in the Brazilian northeast. They also exist in Argentina," Chauchat said.
"But if we look at the lithic assemblage as a whole, the Paijinense is more different from Andean lithic assemblages such as Lauricocha, the Ayacucho sites, the Junin sites, and Guitarrero Cave-in fact from what could be called the 'Lauricochense'-than from spatially remote assemblages as the Pedra Furada Holocene component and probably from all the fishtail-point sites in South America." He added that he believes the Lauriocohense came from an El Jobo tradition, which probably was always distinct from the Clovis mainstream. "But exactly what all this means in terms of peopling of the Americas, I cannot at this moment even begin to imagine," Chauchat added.
He noted that some archaeologists, such as Jos, Luis Lorenzo of Mexico, insist that Clovis could not be the antecedent of fishtail-points of Central and South America because radiocarbon dates for South America are older than those for North America. "The more we learn about this stage in the continent, the more complex the situation appears." Questions remain regarding the chronology of the Paijin occupation. Chauchat said there has not been a great deal of excavation done tliere since 1979 and most of the radiocarbon dates are from before that. "In 1988 we engaged in a second phase of excavation, but that was devoted mainly to burials, Pleistocene megafauna, and chipping floors," he noted. No radiocarbon samples were taken.
The researchers got an additional radiocarbon date from a site in Pampa de los Fosiles excavated in the 1970s that already has yielded four dates, Chauchat said. The earlier dates ranged from 8,730 +/- 160 to 10,380 +/- 170 radiocarbon years before present. The new date is 10,640 +/- 260 (GIF 9403) years ago. So far that is the earliest date associated with the Pai jinense. "We are at a loss to explain why, at Quirihuac Shelter less than 100 kilometers south, Paul Ossa got two radiocarbon dates in excess of 12,000 B.P.," Chauchat observed.
Bone samples from Pleistocene megafauna excavated in 1988 have been dated by the Uranium series disequilibrium method. The results, presented in a paper published last year by the French Academy of Sciences (FalguSres is suggested reading), indicate that animals such as the mastodon lived in the Pampa de los Fosiles area until perhaps as recently as 14,500 years ago. "The results show that the last Pleistocene mammals in Cupisnique died uncomfortably close to the arrival of the first humans," Chauchat told the Mammoth Trumpet, but the evidence clearly does not implicate humans in the animals' extinction.
Rising sea level likely had the effect of altering the climate of Peru's coastal plain. When the sea had been lower and thus farther to the west, the climate of the interior presumably would have held greater sway, meaning more rain and more runoff from the Andes to support plants and nourish animals. With Holocene sea-level rise, not only did the coastal plain shrink, but proximity of the cold ocean and resultant temperatureinversion layer prevented atmospheric moisture from condensing into rain. Fog now supplies much of the existing moisture near the coast.
Chauchat reports evidence that the land was not so dry in the time of the Paijinense. For example, in Pampa de los Fosiles tliere were land snails, too small for consumption, of a species now found only in moist places. Further, the presence of milling stones indicates that there was vegetation that produced seeds suitable for milling. Indeed, although the region remains one of Earth's driest, seeds of the algarrobo tree are still available and could be used as food. Chauchat notes that the algarrobo is closely related to mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) of North America, the seeds of which have been ground to produce a sort of tortilla.
Anyone who knows of events taking place in their area, of interest to our readers, please let us know. Please provide the name of the event, a description of activities, dates, times and a contact person!phone number where more information can be found, if needed. THANKS!
Anyone who knows of events taking place in their area, of interest to our readers, please let us know. Please provide the name of the event, a description of activities, dates, times and a contact person!phone number where more information can be found, if needed. THANKS!
North Carolina 1585: Jean Holgate Renderings of Original Works by John White Sept. 20-Dec. 31
Schiele Museum, Gastonia, NC In 1585, John White was governor of an English settlement on North
Carolina's Outer Banks now known as the "Lost Colony". His drawings and watercolors give us our earliest historical documentation of the animals, plants and Native Cultures encountered by this ill-fated attempt to colonize "the New World". Jean Holgate's renditions of these drawings have not been viewed in over 10 years. Contact: Schiele Museum. 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054-5199, Phone: (704) 866-6900
Native American Images (The Photography of F.B. Fiske, 1883-1952) Sept. 20-Dec. 31 Schiele Museum, Gastonia, NC
The photographs in this study of the Plains Indians during the Reservation Era (late 1800's-early 1900's) depict Native men, women and children in traditional costume. This display is further enhanced by replicated items of feather, beads and trade cloth along with descriptions of how these materials were incorporated into the clothing and the culture of these people. Contact: Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054-5199, Phone: (704) 866-6900
The Archaic Stemmed Point Tradition Make It and llrcak If Knap-Oiif
The First Definitive Impact Fracture Research Event December 13-15 Scott Jones, Hofunee Programs, P.O. Box 2446, Athens, GA 30612,
Phone: (706) 743-5144 This event is open to casual observers and visitors, but / specifically need proficient knappers and atlatl users. Participants must be able to make and haft -and willing to break—four or five stemmed Archaic (Savannah River) points each. Points can be made from the material of your choice (no obsidian, please), but must be produced on-site in order to document manufacturing failures. They will be hafited and thrown into a variety of hard targets until broken, and the pieces collected for subsequent analysis. Foreshaft material, cane dart shafts, plant fiber and pine pitch will be provided, and you can keep the darts you make. Bring your own atlatl, fletching and any additional fiber you may require. There is no fee for this event, but I need to know who's planning to attend. Write or call.
6th Annual West Virginia State Atlatl Championships September 27,1997 Elkins College, West Virginia Contact: Dr. William Good; Rt 2, Box457; Elkins, WV 26241 Phone: (304) 636-5003
August 1-3 Theme: Clovis The 9th annual knap-in at Schiele Museum. A gathering of eastern flintknappers. Pre-registration required. Contact: Steve Watts Schiele Museum of Natural History, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., P.O. Box 953, Gastonia, NC 28053 Phone: (704) 866-6912
Valley of Fire State Park Atlatl Contest April 16-20, 1997 Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, Nevada Contact: Leni dubb; P. O. Box 56; Ocotillo, CA 92259; Phone: (619)
Fort Osage Atlatl Workshop and Competition
May ??, 1997 Fort Osage, Missouri Contact: Leni Clubb; P. O. Box 56; Ocotillo, CA 92259; Phone: (619)
I guess it's that time of year, not a lot of workshops schedules to report. Things are winding down. It's time to take a breather anyway! For 1997 be sure and check TRIBE WORKSHOPS calendar and be sure to plan on attending TRIBE GATHERING, June 12-15. Check with us here next issue for announcements of what's up in 1997! Everyone's calendar should be out by then.
Nature & Vision Tracking School
Charles Worsham, Instructor RFD 4, Box 446 Thomas Rd. Madison Heights, VA 24572 Phone: (804) 846-1987 WORKSHOPS 1997: Traditional Fire-Making Workshop: March 15-21, December 6-13 Man Tracking: April 5-11, April 19-26, November 1-7 Animal Tracking: May 10-16, October 4-10 Advanced Animal Tracking: October 18-24 For brochure write above address.
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