“THE UNIVERSAL TOOL KIT out of Africa to native California”
This is the last book written by Paul Campbell, released September of 2013, a year before he died.
“The Universal Tool Kit” refers to taking a rock and turning it into a tool. Some of you may think this is not a very interesting subject, but believe me, it's an incredible insightful look at how ancient man survived. This is not the theoretical charts and arrows and categorization you might get in an anthropology class. Campbell brings it alive, and makes it relevant.
As with his previous books -- "Survival Skills of Ancient California" and "Paints and Pigments" -- Campbell thoroughly investigates his subject matter. Campbell gives us a review of stone tools in primitive cultures around the world, and how extreme simplicity was the name of the game. If you’re looking for a book about how to flint-knap, this is not that book. Rather, this is a book that describes Campbell's personal research and experimentation in making quick and simple stone tools -- what some call “pick-up knives” -- and how he went about using those tools to make bows, atlatls, and other necessary products. It seems that too many people have made all the basic survival skills all so complicated. Too many folks are telling us you must have this huge knife and this big compass and that big weapon. Why? Because for the people selling all the survival paraphernalia, it helps to put their daughters through college.
But if you really want to get simple and get basic, a stone is the ultimate survival tool.
And guess what? When you're done reading this book, you'll agree with Campbell that you really don't need the stone, per se. The greatest skill is your knowledge, and your ability to transform natural resources into the tools of everyday life and survival. Campbell gives you a thorough background in the subject in a readable way. You'll know far more than the average anthropologist after reading this.
When Dude, Alan, and I went with Paul into the bush, we’d be collecting willow for arrows and bows, but Paul would be off to the side hurling a big boulder that he found onto another boulder. He was experimenting with the way the rock fractured, and then he’d find the sharpest pieces from those experiments and he then use those to make his arrows, or bows, or primitive rasps and sandpaper. Paul pointed out that the different shapes of rocks lent them to specialized functions, but it was also the skill in using those rocks.
Once Paul was showing us how to make the foreshaft for arrows. Though you can make a fine arrow from a single piece shaft, Paul pointed out that many people of the past did use foreshafts for a variety of reasons. The foreshaft would be the shorter end of the arrow, typically made from a harder wood. Paul took some wild cherry branches that were the approximate length for the foreshaft, and trimmed them to size with the sharp edge of a rock, using it like an axe. Then, to make them evenly thick, he rolled them between two flat rocks that he’d created to use as crude grinders, or crude sandpaper. It was amazing to watch him roll the wood, and then to produce the foreshaft piece that now only need the points and some refining.
When people used rocks for everyday jobs, they used specific rocks in specific shapes to perform the functions. And they kept it as simple as possible. Rocks were used as anvils, as axes and knives, mauls, grinders and shapers, as well as all the tools needed for cooking. Rock vessels were somewhat common, though it took considerable time to hollow out rocks by pecking. Small round rocks were used for cooking, by heating them and then carefully transferring them to a vessel of water or soup.
Rocks were used for arrow points, as well as the weight on the atlatl which increases its efficiency.
Using the rock tools, Paul has made one-day willow bow, atlatls and spears, flakers, and more.
Paul’s book is the equivalent work of a doctorate degree, of which Paul Campbell rightfully earned in my mind.
Fully illustrated with hundreds of photos and drawings, this is the book you will want when you do the research that matters. Top quality hard cover, 316 pages. This is a $30 retail book, and we’re still selling it while it lasts. Dirttimers can get a postage paid copy for $25 from School of Self-Reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.
The book is also listed on our website at the Store at www.SchoolofSelf-Reliance.com.