Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Primitive Technology Channel

Building a tiled roof hut

As this video opens, there's nothing said. Just a guy, naked except for pair of shorts covering his midsection. He's putting the finishing touches on, admiring his just completed work on, of all things, a stone axe. Now when was the last time anyone on this planet made one of those? But then he picks up this awesome looking tool and gets to work with it.

He moves a little further into the forest and begins to fell some small trees. Next we follow him carrying a bunch of them out to a clearing he's made, pounding one into the ground at each of the 4 corners of what will be a hut, a safe, snug, and secure little house in the forest. He notches out mortices with a stone chisel and applies fire to their insides where the matching tenon ends of other logs he's hewn will fit snugly. We see him stripping fibrous lengths of rope-like cordage from other forest plants and slowly the shape of a house emerges in those woods as the pieces he's created from what's there in that forest, and from only what's there, takes form. But there's more...

We see our guy get his hands filthy as he digs with pointed sticks in the clay and soil that he mixes with water to produce a mud with which he carefully builds his own single-serve sized brick kiln. He gets a roaring, high heat fire going in this. Next we see him fashion from some woody plant strips a squarish mold into which he will push more of his mud mixture to produce flat slabs.  When he has a sufficient supply of these, he fires them in his kiln and, voila: roofing tiles. He probably produces a hundred or so. How much time has this guy expended in all of this we can't know, but it must be days and days. This is a labor intensive process. There are so many tiles involved and so many batches of mud and repeated firings involved that he might have been at this for a couple of weeks. Finally, we see him fashion a different sort of tile. Not the flat kind that hugs the sloping planes of the roof, but an arched, V-shaped variety that fits over the ridgepole at the apex of the roof . And these we watch him form and fire and put in place like the others. By the way, this roof, with all of those marvelous imperfections in the various tiles, but still bringing to fruition a design ideal... is fantastic!

And then we see our guy lay a floor from flat stones and bake that in place too (yeah, he's ingeniously built another kiln-like trench under the floor, itself. One that is fed with fuel at one end outside the house and that also allows smoke to escape at the other. And this, no doubt, will heat his home in the winter-time without the need to flood his indoor haven with smoke from a fireplace as the mud and stone chimny is outside.  And then he finishes up by building up the walls of his cabin with stones and mud mortar. Finally, we see him fit into place a door he's crafted from strips of sapling and then collect tree sap to serve as fuel for the little lamp he's made to further illuminate the interior. So much work, so many hours, but such a nifty little house... so well made!

So what have I just watched? Well, if it weren't for the fact that the shorts our guy has worn throughout the long process of building his new home, clearly were purchased at The GAP, or JC Penny's or Macy's... and the fact that there were no digital video cameras way back when people built things this way, we might have been witnessing, first hand, a scene in one of the forests of Europe, back before the advent of metal, but still, in a time when people really knew quite a bit about other forms of technology and used that knowledge well. It might have been, say, 20,000 years ago.

My reaction? Well, obviously impressed that this guy has either researched all this or figured it out other ways, but it is so impressive to watch him build what appears to be a serviceable little shelter - definitely something that could keep him warm and dry and safe from wild beasts and that would lend a sense of security against vampires or other boogie men that might be roaming his imagination. No home depot, no ACE Hardware stores, no craftsmen tools or This Old House re-runs to watch on YouTube to show us DIYers how it's done. But further, on watching this video my reaction surprised me, because I felt so proud to be a human being. Yeah, we are one hell of a species - when we're being good, that is. How clever, how analytical, how creative... such good observations, hypotheses, and trial and error conclusions underlie all of this knowledge and know how. This guy is not exaggerating by calling this Primitive Technology. It is very much technology, sophisticated technology, at that. This is a body of sophisticated technology and how cool that he has resurrected it and demonstrated it for us. Like so many watching this... "I had no idea!"

When I watched this video the 2nd time, a couple of months after the first, I mine was view # 5,689,421. And small wonder, because creating this video, alone, is quite a feat and a true educational service. In fact, I think any kid who graduates without having seen a couple of this guy's videos has missed out on a very rich, very valuable educational experience. Bravo, guy!

Below is what the creator of these videos gave as the "About" information for his channel. There's really nothing more to say beyond. I simply recommend that you read this, look at the video, and then figure out what you want to do next! By the way (hint) this guy's channel offers dozens and dozens of similar videos that cover a broad range of the skills that our species developed and lived by.

Primitive Technology

893,860 subscribers • 36,712,193 views
Joined May 1, 2015

Making primitive huts and tools from scratch using only natural materials in the wild. I also have this blog:
Q.Where is this?
A. This is in Far North Queensland Australia.
Q.Do you live in the wild?
 A.I don't live in the wild but just go into the bush to make these projects.
 Also I camp out here occasionally.
Q. How did you learn all this?
 A. Researching books and internet plus trial and error. I'm not indigenous
 and have no army training.
Q. What about dangerous animals in Australia?
A. The only really dangerous ones in my area are snakes. Care must be
 taken when walking about and lifting things from the ground.
Q. For the mud huts what stops the rain washing the mud walls away?
A. The roof.
Q. Why don't you talk in the videos?
A. When I watch how to videos I fast forward past the talking part to see
 the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration.

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