FLINTKNAPPING: Learn basic to advanced
traditional flintknapping skills. Any skill level welcome. We take
you wherever you are and push you upwards and onwards a bit. Learn how to
make an arrowpoint from a flake by pressure alone; learn how to do percussion
knife-making using traditional hand tools - hammerstones, and antler billets
(no copper billets); learn the various stages of reduction in bifacing;
witness a wide range of other skills - blademaking, punching, bipolar, stone
axe making, square work, parallel flaking, etc. Obsidian is the primary
stone used, but other flints are demonstrated as well. Instruction is not
haphazard, but systematic, following guidelines in Callahan's BASICS manual.
Proven results. Traditional knapping only.
PRIMITIVE TECHNOLOGY: Choose one topic
and see it through to completion. Others may choose other topics so you
could see a variety of skills taught and demonstrated. Choose one - flintknapping,
bowmaking, arrow making, pottery, basketry, fiber technology, or stone axe
making. Other topics by request. Feel free to practice other skills during
"down time." Also, Artifact Illustration.
ARCHEOLOGISTS AND LITHIC ANALYSTS: Here is your chance to learn the "language" of flintknapping. Without an accurate understanding how can you interpret your findings correctly? Archeologist Zakariah Johnson says, "This type of study is essential for any lithics analyst wishing to go beyond static formal classification systems and appreciate the dynamic mental and mechanistic processes underlying past technology systems. Understanding the processes behind manufacturing helps put the leaves back on our currently bare family tree."
INSTRUCTION is one-on-one with plenty of personal consultation. All teaching takes place at Callahan's personal wooded home, Cliffside. His wife, Linda Abbey, handles meals, registration, and keeping the wheels running smoothly. During the evenings, students have the opportunity for campfire discussions or viewing of films and videos of relevant technologies. Students are encouraged to take advantage of Cliffside's large library and numerous recreation facilities. New in 1998 - outdoor lights and a sliding translucent roof over our knapping area. All in all, come prepared to get an education, not just training.
DR. ERRETT CALLAHAN is your principal instructor
at Cliffside. He has an MA and Ph.D. in anthropology (lithic technology
and experimental archeology); an MFA in fine arts (painting); an Honorary
Ph.D. in archeology from Uppsala University, Sweden; is on the faculty of
the Department of Archeology, Uppsala University; has had over 200 research
papers published (mostly on lithic technology and other primitive technologies);
is advisor to countless archeologists, lithic analysts, and flintknappers
worldwide. Callahan has over 50 years experience flintknapping and over
50 years shooting the bow. He is Founder of the Society of Primitive Technology
and President of the Board 1989-1996. In 2009 he celebrates his 22nd anniversary
of teaching workshops at Cliffside. But Callahan has been teaching primitive
skills every year since 1971, both here and abroad. During this time he
has personally taught flintknapping to 998 students (as of 2006). Callahan
is the teacher of teachers, having taught instructors and students from
BOSS, Outward Bound, Pathways', Brown's, Riggs', Watts', Cheatham's, Worsham's,
the Sherwood's, and dozens of other outdoor programs and nature centers.
And he has taught almost all the Board Members of the SPT. About 50% of
his students return year after year. Any and all ethical prehistorians are
welcome at Cliffside.
TEACHING ASSISTANTS: A talented TA is available
for most sessions to provide students with additional help. These TA positions,
which are also apprenticeships, serve to train up-and-coming technologists
in how to prepare for and run a workshop and in answering students' questions
and interpreting our explanations. No, we are not turning our teaching over
to assistants, but they will be here to help. TAs neither receive nor pay
money, but food is free. Nor do you have to be an "expert" to
apply. TA applications are hereby solicited - for classes over 6. We
need TAs. So, if you have taken one of our workshops in the past and
are interested in this opportunity, let us know. Write for details.
SCHOLARSHIPS: We offer one scholarship for a week-long workshop of your choice. This offer, which is competitive, is made possible by a generous gift from Bob Verrey, a former student, who believes in our mission. This scholarship is for a person in financial need and is independent of skill level. You must provide your own transportation. If you couldn't attend without this help, write for a scholarship application.
MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES: Students may bring their own tools and materials or purchase some from us. Your registration fee will cover the cost of obsidian and some other materials and tool rentals. But either way, you must have what's needed to attend. Requirements vary with session and topic. Lists will be sent to applicants.
LODGING: There is no charge for "camping out" under our covered porches or patio. We have army cots. Bring pillow and sleeping bag suitable for 20-40 degree nights in the fall and 50-80 degree nights in summer. No tents please. Or stay at a local motel at your own expense. A list will be sent.
MEALS: Food costs of $10/day are included in with tuition. Those who don't prefer our food may deduct this cost and bring their own or eat elsewhere (no place close). Veggies are welcome, but warn us well beforehand. Remember, meals are a high point at Cliffside.
TO REGISTER: Fill out the printable
application form and send it in with half
of your tuition. Application fee of $25 is refundable only if class
is filled. The $25 fee covers our mountains of paperwork and mailings to
you and reverts to your materials fee upon arrival, saving you the double
cost. Paperwork costs money whether you follow through or not. Tuition is
$75/day. To this add the $10/day food cost, and one-time $25 application
fee. Our chart on the printable application form
simplifies this and shows how much to send in with your 1st and 2nd payments.
Second half of payment is due by deadline indicated (usually 1 month before
session starts - we now give you two extra months to pay). Tuition is refunded
if you drop out before the deadline, but is forfeited if you drop out after
the deadline. If you are applying after deadline has passed, don't panic.
If we have room, we'll still take you, but you must then send in the entire
payment with your application. We'll return it if we're full or if we have
to cancel class. Write or call if in doubt.
"Marie and I have stayed in some interesting
hideaways over the years, but none more fun than yours. Alaska to Mexico,
Maine to Georgia, Cliffside is 5 star..."
"Each time I have studied with Errett, I
gain more than just a little training. More than any other aspect, I appreciate
the willingness to share what has taken decades to distill into systems
that work. At Cliffside, I also find a teacher not just willing to demonstrate
skills, but one who encourages close observation of demonstrations. For
me, close observation of this type facilitates the ability to transform
knowledge into know-how. . . The demos . . . are given at whatever level
the students' current abilities will allow them to understand.
"Thank you for unselfishly sharing your
vast knowledge with me. I can assure you that any information you instilled
in me will be passed on to my future students. I only hope I can do as good
of a job as you have passing on traditions and values along with knowledge.
I feel fortunate to now be both a student and friend of yours . . . . .
During my Division 1 wrestling career at Ohio State University, I was coached
by numerous Olympians and other World Class athletes . . . Errett Callahan,
by far, is the greatest instructor of them all. He not only has a mastery
over flintknapping and primitive skills as a whole, but he is a gifted teacher
as well. Also to his credit, he is a man who takes time to discuss and pass
down morals and values to his students, friends, and family, and lives by
them as well . . . I am now extremely fortunate to be among those who consider
him a role model, a teacher, and a friend."
"Your concern and patience with the
people you are teaching is fantastic. You have a wonderful ability to make
people feel confident about what they are doing. You make your lectures
interesting and yet light and humorous. You can keep a person's attention
for long periods of time with your easy manner of teaching..."
"Thank you all for opening your home to
me and taking the time to teach, cook, and just talk around the fire. Errett,
you are an inspiration to anyone doing primitive technology, and people
that have not experienced you do not know what they have missed."
"Thank you for the help with my archery
form. Before last week I was having trouble hitting the target . . . but
now I have consistent groupings around the bull . . . After your knapping
workshops, I can pick up a 10,000 year old stone tool and instantly feel
the decisions of the maker . . . The cores are making instant sense."
"I just wanted to thank you again
for the hospitality you extended this past week. I don't feel that I went
to a class, but rather went to friends for the week (and learned more than
I ever expected). The only thing that impressed me more than Errett's skills
was the love I saw in your home. Melody is a very lucky girl to have parents
such as you..."
"There are remarkable parallels between
you and Heifitz. Heifitz played with matchless precision, yet somehow he
endowed the music with a glow that leaves the listener wondering if he truly
heard what his ears had beheld. So I remember your master class. Certainly
the students of Heifitz. . . must have felt as I did-that I was witnessing
greatness, and I was fortunate to have been present..."
For a thorough review of our Flintknapping workshop, see Chris Wallace's article, "Flintknapping Workshop," in KNIVES ILLUSTRATED, May 1996: 80-83. (We'll send you a copy if you'd like.)