Practical Primitive Logo


Secrets in the Stone 2009

4 Month Intensive Skills Program

NEW Program Begins June 24-25!
Register Before June 13 to Secure Your Place!

"Primitive means First, not Worst."

This quote from Scott Silsby is one of our favorites, and is more true when it comes to stone than in almost any other aspect of primitive skills.

Without stone we would not be here.
Without stone tools we would not have survived.

Obsidian Knife

When it comes down to absolute basics,
stone is the one thing we can not live without.

Secrets in the Stone
Upcoming Session: June – September 2017
Location:               Practical Primitive, Great Meadows, NJ
Tuition:                 $995 ($250 deposit to register.)
Program Dates:     One 2-day weekend each month (Sat- Sun)                            (See Scheduled Dates Below)

Register By June 13 to Secure Your Place!

An Open Letter from Eddie:Cherry Quartz point

Many years ago I wrote an article for the very first issue of Primitive Archer magazine titled "Secrets in the Stone". When I designed a Skills Intensive around flintknapping I could think of no better theme around which to build the curriculum. Over the last 25 years of working with rock I have learned many lessons, and discovered many secrets that lay within the stones on which I worked. However, the biggest lesson stone has taught me is that my meager human life span is not nearly long enough to learn all it has to teach. This program will be the beginning of your own journey with stone, and will give you a jump start into a vast new world.

Beginning with the earliest stone tools, you will work your way through millions of years of human history and discover how, far from being inferior, stone tools can work as well as, or better than, their modern conterparts. From there we will move through my specially developed 9 Step Knapping™ program, which will open up the entire world of arrow points, knives, daggers and blades. We will then move on to more advanced shaping, thinning and notching techniques, all the way up to the Clovis and Folsom cultures, including fluting, and artifact replication. You will also learn how to properly notch and sharpen your points so that they can be used for hunting or display.

The language of stone is the language of energy, and learning to hear and understand what your rock is telling you will bring new insights into your work and your life. Working stone can be an empowering experience, a humbling one, or both. This rock has been sitting and waiting for millions of years for you to pick it up. How patient can you be to learn what it has to teach?

I love flintknapping. To me it is both a sacred connection to our past and one of the greatest accomplishments of our present culture. Humans have been hitting on rock for over a million years, and prior to the modern resurgence, the height of flintknapping skill and artistry peaked about 15,000 years ago. I have been lucky enough to know and knap with some of the best knappers in the world and it is my privilege and responsibility to pass along the secrets of this sacred skill. If you are ready to learn, practice, and listen to the Secrets that lie within the Stone, I look forward to working with you!

Be Well,

About the Program

Secrets in the Stone
Upcoming Session: June 2017 – September 2017
Location:               Practical Primitive, Great Meadows, NJ
Tuition:                 $995 ($250 deposit to register.)
Program Dates:     One Saturday-Sunday weekend each month (See Scheduled Dates Below)
Register By June 13 to Secure Your Place

Learning to map flakes

Be one of a small group to learn from Eddie Starnater, 25-year veteran flintknapper and one of the best, most highly skilled and experienced instructors in the world of primitive skills. Eddie has been knapping since the mid 1980's when he decided to make stone points for his hunting arrows. He learned everything the hard way, through trial and error, because in those days there was hardly anyone doing flintknapping yet, let alone teaching it!

Eddie has knapped using stone, wood, antler and copper billets, and has created arrow points, knife blades, spear tips, daggers, stone tools and "just because you can" eccentric pieces from all different types of stone. He has been making and selling flintknapped points, knives and eccentric pieces since the early-90's, written and been the subject of many articles on the subject, and has released a highly-rated instructional flintknapping DVD, 9 Step Knapping: Flintknapping Made Easy.

Sitting silent and still

Over the past 25 years Eddie has honed both his flintknapping skills and his ability to teach those skills to others. His remarkable ability to break down this complex art into simple exercises that anyone can unerstand and reproduce make this a program unlike any other. If you practice the exercises and do the homework, we guarantee you will acheive flintknapping success that will meet and far exceed your expectations for these four months.

As a participant in this program you will gain a thorough and hands-on understanding of the ancient art of Flintknapping. You will discover the secrets within each piece of stone, and how to convince that rock to share them with you. Our focus will be on building a fundamental understanding of, and solid ability in, all aspects of this skill. By coming to appreciate and respect the Rules of the Rock you will take your flintknapping ability to places that, until now, you never dreamed you would be able to reach, let alone in such a short time.


Program FAQs

Eccentric point


Q. What sort of flintknapping skills will I learn?
A. Over the course of your four months you will learn many more skills than there is space to list here, but below is a basic rundown of what will be covered and expanded on during the program:

Eric's dacite biface, 2009

Q. What do you mean by "Homework"?
A. Secrets in the Stone is a hands-on program and you will be expected to practice and apply the skills we work on during our weekends together once you return home. Each weekend we will cover the basics of certain skills and work on associated exercises together. You will then be given projects to complete on your own before our next get-together.

Q. Does it matter if I won't have time to do all the homework projects?
A. As a participant in the Secrets in the Stone program you will be required to do your best to complete all of the homework projects. We realize that life gets busy, but fully expect you to make this program a priority for those four months. Each month builds on the skills and exercises of the last and if you choose not to do them it will affect not just you, but the entire group. If you are unable to devote time and energy to practicing your knapping on a regular basis it would be best if you waited to apply until your schedule is more accomodating.

Dacite biface

Q. How many people will be in the program?
A. Everything we do is all small groups. The number of students will be based on the registrations received, but as with all of our Intensive Skills programs, spaces are limited to no more than eight.

Q. Is there an age limit?
A. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for the Secrets in the Stone program. There is no upper age limit and so long as you are physically able to complete the course-work we encourage you to apply!

Q. Where do the weekends take place and where will I stay?
A. The weekend get-togethers all take place at our Pracitcal Primitive location near Great Meadows, NJ. (Check out our Locations page for more detailed information and directions.) Participants will stay on-site overnight and have full access to facilities. All meals will be provided over the course of the weekend.

Sarah Y., 2008

Q. What is the schedule for the program?
A. Program participants will gather for one 2-day weekend each month for 4 months, beginning in June. (See below for dates.) We begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and finish up around 5:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Each weekend will be filled with plenty of flintknapping instruction, exercises that will help you hone your knapping skills, an outline of the homework assignments for the upcoming month, and a debrief of the homework and exercises from the previous month.

Q. I really want to register but have a conflict for one of the weekends. What can I do?
A. As a Secrets in the Stone participant you must commit to attend every weekend. If you are unable to commit to attending every one of the weekends it would be best that you wait until your schedule is more accomodating.

Q. I live far away & can not commute. Do you have a Residential option?
A. Yes, we do have Residential spaces available for an additional fee. If you would like more information please e-mail us for details.

Q. What sort of experience do I need?
A. There are no previous skill requirements! Whether you have been flintknapping for some time but are not satisfied with your results, are someone who has never hit a rock at all, you are welcome to join Secrets in the Stone.

Three Arrow Points

Q. What ARE you looking for in participants?
A. We are looking for people who want to LEARN!!! This is not a "fill your notebook then leave it on the shelf" program. We are seeking participants who have a passion for learning the ways of our ancestors and a real desire to discover the many secrets that stone has to teach. If you are dedicated, motivated, prepared to learn and always ready to try, then we hope you will join the program!

Q. How much is the tuition for the Secrets in the Stone program?
A. The four-month Secrets in the Stone program tuition is $995, which includes rock, knapping tools, supplies and materials, all of your meals during Secrets in the Stone weekends, as well as lodging for the weekend.

Q. Do you offer any scholarships or tuition assistance?
A. We do not provide tuition assistance or work-study programs for the Secrets in the Stone, however with our three payment plan options it is our goal to have made this program accessible to as many people as we can.
(For tuition assistance with our regular workshops, apply for our Internship and Work Trade programs. These hours may not be used toward Skills Intensives.)

Thinned biface

Secrets in the Stone
Upcoming Session: June – September 2017
Location:               Practical Primitive, Great Meadows, NJ
Tuition:                 $995 ($250 deposit to register.)
Program Dates:     One 2-day weekend each month (Saturday - Sunday)                            (See Scheduled Dates Below)
Register By June 13 to Secure Your Place!

If you have any questions about the program feel free to give us a call, or send us an e-mail.


Scheduled Dates and Registration

Thunderbird eccentric
June 24 – 25
July 29 – 30
August 19 – 20
September 23 – 24

Register with Deposit

Register in Full


A $250 deposit is required to secure your place, with the balance payable via one of the following options:
Option 1: A single payment of $745 balance on the first day of the program.
Option 2: Two equal payments of $375*, due in June & July
Option 3: Three equal payments of $250*, due in June, July & August.
Option 4: Use PayPal Credit to recieve 6 months interest-free financing.
(*Options 2 and 3 includes $5 fee for processing multiple payments.)

Top of Page