Category Archives: News

Back From the South

The atlatl season is well under way for 2004! While there have been Icicle and “Finger Freezing” Contests in the North in the winter months, many of us also happily took off for contests and hunting & fishing in the South. Thunderbird Atlatl was at the Payne’s Prairie Knap-In in Florida the last weekend of February and then it was on to Moundville, Alabama for a Pow Wow for the first week of March.

We’re back home in New York State now – building new atlatls, darts and planning new atlatl adventures!

Our new catalog is available. If you would like a copy, please e-mail us your name and address at contact@thunderbirdatlatl.com

Primitive Arts And Foundation Skills Classes By Bob Berg

Elementary School Primitive Arts

Elementary school programs are designed for grades three though eight. Bob Berg demonstrates the use and production of stone tools, cordage making, fire by friction, bark work, basketry, pottery and how atlatls are used. Programs may be done either as hands on or lecture, depending on the preferences of the host teacher. In the hands-on version, (limited to about 30 participants) students get involved in the process of learning primitive skills and, when space is available, learning to throw the atlatl. This indoor/ outdoor program is tailored to fit the teacherís plan, relating primitive skills to the particular curriculum the teacher has in mind. In the lecture version of this class more students may participate. In this version the teacher(s) may choose a couple of volunteers to participate in the hands-on part. Cost: $350 per school day, which includes up to three separate sessions from one to two hours, plus costs for hands-on materials, travel and motel expenses. Schools within a two hours drive are exempt from overnight costs. Schools located in Tioga, Broome, Tompkins, or Chemung Counties, New York, may waive travel expenses. Call for details. 1 800 836 4520

Primitive Art Classes for Youth Groups

Scouting troops, museums, conservation clubs, summer camps, or similar youth group oriented classes are generally designed as outdoor activities that include the use and production of stone tools, cordage making, fire by friction, bark work, basketry, pottery and include an atlatl making and use seminar. This class is designed to teach councilors and other group leaders in the techniques, safety, and instruction of young people in the primitive arts. It is generally done in two parts with the young people participating in the second part so camp councilors and group leaders may put the techniques they learned to practice.

This class is designed to be a catalyst for an organization to start or improve primitive arts programming. This may be used, for example, as part of a survival training program, merit badge earning, or boot camp program. Call and discuss your needs and we will be glad to help you develop your particular program. Cost $350 per day plus travel and overnight expenses.

7th Annual Paynes Prarie Knap-in

Feb 27-29, 2004. 7TH ANNUAL PAYNES PRAIRIE KNAP-IN

Park will NOT be holding campsites for vendors. If you wish to stay in the campground, please make your reservations with Reserve America 1-800-326-3521.

New Catalog

We are currently working on our 2004 Catalog, which this year will be printed as an 8 Ĺ x 11 booklets rather than the newspaper format we used in the past. The front and back and center section will be in color and the rest black and white. We are looking forward to having the new catalog done by January 15th. We will be mailing copies of it to our last 1000 customers that we have addresses for. If you want a new catalog you may email us, sign our guest book or send a post card.

How To Make An Atlatl, Adventure Course

Atlatl Information, Sticks and Stones, Primitive Hunter Gathering, With Emphasis on How To Make and Use An Atlatl, by Bob Berg

My “Down to Earth Survival Skills Using the Atlatl Course” contains information on how an atlatl is made. I talk about pre-atlatl weapons such as thrusting spears and thrown spears and how they were made and used. I cover the topic of how to make a dart point from stone, bone, copper, steel and shell. I also talk about how an atlatl is constructed out of natural materials that can be gleaned from nature. I discuss how to make darts from several different materials such as split wood, cane and tree shoots. I use a hands on approach and teach you how to make an atlatl using mostly flint and bone tools. My atlatl dart construction discussion will lead you down the path to achieving excellent results without having to start from scratch with a lot of experimentation that I have already gone through myself over the years.

My method of teaching is low-key and hands-on. I prefer to teach in areas where natural materials can be found at hand which is just about anywhere where there are trees, stones and water. It is always good (but not necessary) to locate my classes in areas where I may actually engage in hunting or fishing. I encourage my students to seek out and find venues where this can be done legally and ethically; including obtaining all necessary licenses and permits.

I tend not to talk down to people but prefer treating them as equal peers in an on going process of learning and experimenting with our inborn primitive humanity. When I teach you how to use your atlatl I will cover the topic of how to reach your primal instincts and exploit them to your own great advantage that you can put to use in hunting and fishing with the atlatl, or in using it for target sports.

I like to relate what I teach to what is found in archaeology. I will lay before you my observations about the atlatl and put to rest a lot of “myth” about the atlatl. I have definite ideas in these areas but I will discuss the other points of view also. In my Atlatl Curriculum Vitae I will avail my students of my entire life’s work in the fields of experiential and experimental archaeology.

I consider my class as being a kind of prehistoric art study where the student reaches into him/her self for the primitive expression of our humanity in the work that we endeavor to create, whether it be a fine stone tool, a length of cordage, or a meal of a fish caught with an atlatl and cooked over a fire started by friction. In the primitive earth skills camp we set up in your chosen location we will live for a time as our ancestors utilizing whenever we can, the things that nature prepares for us.

Though it is not very primitive I encourage my students to bring cameras and keep them ready for any opportunity to record our activities. I usually donít cover the topics of deer hide tanning, primitive archery,
Cultural or social anthropology, the making of primitive clothing, but I am well versed in those subjects and can speak fluently on the subjects.

I do however do hands on cordage making, fire by friction, flintkapping, woodworking with stone tools, and primitive food preparation. Rather than centering my discussions on Native American culture I work with a more general whole world primitive theme, so no matter what your cultural heritage I will be discussing your ancestors.
Whether our venue includes survival tool making or other
Survival techniques like atlatl deer hunting, fishing, shooting an ISAC, stump shooting or just a plain old primitive campout, you will get a lot from my classes. Classes are best if they have more than 5 students but less than ten. I charge $500.00 per day plus travel and material expenses. I am highly adaptable and will work with you to come up with a good program wherever it may be.