The year course to become a Stone Age expert allows you to recreate the complete equipment of a Stone Age man and adapt it to your personal needs. This course is particularly diverse, as it covers all areas of life in prehistoric times: tools, clothing, nutrition and experience of the way of life of a Stone Age clan at that time. And to top it all off, we will follow Ötzi’s footsteps across the Alps with the prehistoric equipment.
The training is aimed at wilderness guides, nature educators, history and technology teachers, archaeologists, museum staff, people interested in prehistory, and people in the field of bushcraft and survival who want to increase their manual skills to the maximum. Archaeologists and hiking guides are given the view of Stone Age man, which makes it possible to discover traces of prehistoric settlement in the landscape. By experiencing everyday life in the Stone Age and the unique tour through the high mountains, you will build up a wealth of experience with which you can bring the Stone Age back to life.
The duration: The craft part of the course extends over 22 days, spread over 11 weekends from February to November 2024. You can use the time until the final crossing of the Alps in autumn 2025 to complete your equipment and perfect your skills. Our Stone Age trip lasts 6 days and is an important part of the training, because the direct experience of the alpine mountains full of prehistoric sites gives you unexpected insights into life 5,000 years ago. In total, the Stone Age adventure lasts 28 days, i.e. a full moon phase!
The price: The cost of the entire course is € 3,355.00 and is to be paid either as a one-off amount or in up to 10 installments. This also includes the material expenses and a simple lunch, which we prepare on the fire on the course days.
The location: All course modules take place in Ötzi’s homeland, the Vinschgau Valley in South Tyrol. In the municipality of Laces, several settlements from the Stone Age have been identified. Therefore, it is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the Stone Age techniques. We have a beautiful spot there with a fire pit in the woods and a creek nearby where you can also roll out your sleeping bag. Otherwise, the campsite of Latsch or various hotels and guesthouses are available for overnight stays. There is also a youth hostel in Merano.
All the equipment you have made is yours and will remain with you along with a certificate and, of course, the unique memories of experiencing real Stone Age feeling together.
Here is the detailled description of the modules:
Hier nun die detaillierte Beschreibung der Ausbildungsmodule:
Arguably, what most characterizes the Stone Age is the use of stone tools. Flint or Silex is unique in its material properties and the skilful processing enables the production of outstandingly sharp knives and efficient weapons. For all the following modules, tools made of Silex are necessary and therefore we start the course by learning the right technique to be able to make them ourselves. You will learn how to put together your own personal tools for stone processing. On the first weekend of Flintknapping, we learn the theoretical basics and practice knocking razor-sharp blades out of a piece of flint. And since making fire is one of the basic skills of every Stone Age person, we also learn the art of how to strike sparks with iron pyrite.
In the second Flintknapping module, we turn to the further processing of the blades from the first module. With the retoucher, we will turn them into arrowheads, scrapers and other tools that we will use to make our personal equipment. The goal is also to make a dagger blade for our Ötzi knife and to stick it into a wooden handle.
In this module, we build a bow from a single piece of wood, as it has been done for about 10,000 years. It is not only a matter of choosing the right woods, but above all of the right processing: a wrong cut and the bow would break when used. For fine tuning, the so-called tillering, our tools made of Silex are also used again. We twist the bowstring from authentic Stone Age materials, either from linden bast or from rawhide.
To match the bow, we build arrows from the best available woods and, of course, from our self-made arrowheads made of silex. The glue that binds all the components together is birch tar, which is obtained from birch bark by dry distillation. We also need a quiver for transport, so that the sensitive arrows remain well protected. This consists of an animal skin that is held in shape by a hazelnut stick and can be worn over the shoulder with a leather strap.
Starting from a roe deer, red deer or other hunted game, we go through all the steps of processing so as not to waste any of the many valuable resources. With our flint blades we cut up the animal and prepare the meat in the Stone Age way: this can be done on an open fire, but also in a so-called earth oven. For our final exam, the six-day hike, we are already drying some of the meat and thus making it durable for a long time. We save the fur, the tendons and the bones for the upcoming module.
In this elaborate process, the hide of the hunted animals becomes a breathable and soft leather. To do this, the hair and adhering flesh residues are scraped off. The animal’s brain is then used to brew a tanning solution, which must be worked into the cleansed skin. Now the fabric can be stretched and must be kept in motion until it is completely dry. The final smoking process makes the tanning water-resistant.
A large part of the Stone Age clothing consists of fur from various animals. Although the basics of tanning are the same as braintanning leather, there are some major differences when it comes to preserving the coat.
With the help of a special twisted tying technique, we make a cape or sleeping mat out of long grasses. In the case of the piece that Ötzi carried with him, science is not sure whether it was intended to be a raincoat or an insulating pad against the cold of the ground at night. In any case, this piece of equipment can be used in a variety of ways.
Our self-tanned leather becomes clothing in this module. Brain-tanned leather is extremely comfortable and yet very durable. From this we sew our own tailor-made clothes. Large pieces become a shirt, small pieces become a belt pouch, like the one our Ötzi wore around his waist.
Where fur is used, we get excellent insulation against the cold of the high mountains. Like the leather clothing, it will be individually tailored to your body.
So that we can take everything with us on our final tour and still keep our hands free, we build a carrying frame as a backpack. We will also learn how to make containers from tree bark. In this module, we complete our equipment with everything we need for our trip. Of course, Ötzi’s first-aid kit, a birch polypore fungus, must also be included.
We start in Val Venosta, where Ötzi spent the last years of his life, and wander through the Val Senales as Stone Age nomads. After a stop at the Neolithic houses of the Archeoparc museum, we ascend on a prehistoric path to the site where Ötzi was found. We spend the night at a hunter’s rest area in the Ötztal, on the last day we return to South Tyrol via the Hochjoch. On this journey we not only test the functionality of our equipment, it is also a test of our personality, how much Stone Age man is still in us.