What is It? Primitive technology

From Issue 7

Camp Carter asks the big questions

Primitive technology is a term for a wide variety of videos dedicated to outdoor construction and wilderness survival. Using as little modern tools as possible, videos center around producing shelter, obtaining food, and making swimming pools (yeah that last one is a thing). There is some controversy in the primitive technology community of copycatting and faking the videos such as using bulldozers or shovels, but most videos appear to be self-made efforts. Channels such as Primitive Technology, based in Australia, Chad Zuber, based on an island in the Caribbean, and Primitive Skills, based in southeast Asia, produce well edited and self-made content. Their locations allow them access to fresh water, and vast stretches of untamed wildlife. Other channels produce similar content, but lack originality and polish compared to these three.

Camp Carter
The stone/fire grill is one of the most prolific primitive technologies

One of the most important skills used by primitive survivalists is the ability to make fire. Fire is an indispensable asset because it provides warmth, cooks food, hardens mud and clay, and can be used to clear land easily. Another necessary skill is the ability to make a shelter; mud bricks and stones can be made into strong huts with roofs of palm fronds or branches. Wattle and daub, a method of construction by covering a wooden frame with mud, is also used. Shelter made entirely of branches and tree limbs can also be used in more wooded areas. Primitive tools are constructed from rocks and wooden materials and are used to either dig or chop. A sharpened stick, called a “digging stick,” is used to rake up dirt by pushing it into the ground and pulling it up quickly. A fire bow is a tool used to make fire by spinning two sticks together with the help of string that creates friction and heat.

Although these videos are helpful and entertaining, watching them does not make you a survival expert. Mosquitos and ticks carry harmful diseases, and drinking dirty water can cause health problems. Fire can cause massive property damage if used incorrectly, so be sure to always put them out. Despite these hazards, I was inspired by their efforts and decided to try to make some primitive technology of my own. In a field behind my house, I cleared a small patch of land with an old machete, my only modern tool, and began to make a small stove out of rocks and mud. Using a ring of sand around the stove to prevent fire spreading, I made a small fire on the stove and tried to cook some food. Needless to say, the rainy weather hindered my work, and due to my lack of experience, things went poorly. My egg slipped off of the rock and I could barely get the fire going in the first place.

Needless to say, I am no primitive survivalist, but this was fun to try out for a couple of days.