Saturday, October 11, 2014

Camping Trip

For Shaun's birthday, he wanted to go on a camping trip. Not just any camping trip though…a gathering of sorts, called a "knap-in". Knap as in flint-knapping. A paleolithic method in which to make stone tools for hunting to chopping down trees to everything in between. The knap-in was hosted by a non-profit group called Bridges to the Past. On their website they describe their mission as:

Before meeting Shaun years ago, I wasn't really aware of people still practicing ancient ancestral skills. There is a thriving sub-culture of people who do just this and in style. There are multiple gatherings throughout the year to learn, teach and observe how our ancestors crafted a life without the use of modern conveniences. They are a lot of fun to attend- fires and music at night, lots of interesting people,   lots of shared food (usually grown or hunted by the attendees) and a chance to try out some ancient methods of crafting.
Set up at this gathering were targets to practice shooting an atlatl, an ancient spear-thrower, made by some of the folk attending. I got to try my hand at it after a brief lesson. It's not as easy as it looks...

Apparently, our ancestors from long ago used to take down mastodons with these arrows!!

 Some of the flint-knapping in progress...

 Some amazing final products.

 The scene and how it's done…

I think this is called percussion knapping- using a stone (or antler) to flake off a piece of obsidian. Again and again and again. The flakes come off, quick mental measurements are made of where to strike and the end product is (usually) a completely functional tool, if the piece doesn't shatter from a miscalculation. 

Lars was definitely not allowed in the knapping pit.

And Dad got some much needed free time to knap with friends and sharpen his tools…I'm not sure that's how I'd like to spend my birthday…but to every man his own.

Chilly morning but Lars got to try hot chocolate for the first time and work on his own projects. It was a great trip and we look forward to a similar type of gathering next June, called Between The Rivers. Be there or be square!