Practicing Primitive: A Handbook of Aboriginal Skills is a collection of information and images put together over a twenty-year period in a search for hands-on communication with our shared Stone Age past. The story of the Stone Age is our story, and primitive technology is a way for anyone who wants to understand that shared history. Watts makes the case that the learning and practice of aboriginal skills helps us connect with our remote past, encourages us to participate in the shared inheritance of primitive ('first') skills.
Practicing Primitive includes detailed instructions on how to make or perform over 65 Stone Age objects or skills, covering primitive basics such as making axes and food utensils out of stone, bone, shell, and plant material; bark and reed shelters; bags and ropes made of bark and leaves; watercraft out of reeds or bamboo; and much more. Watts covers the environment, lifestyle, and tool kit of three different stages of human evolution: the Lower Paleolithic of 2.5 million years ago, the Middle Paleolithic of 60 thousand years ago, and the Mesolithic 9 thousand years ago.
Steven M. Watts, has directed the Aboriginal Studies Program at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, North Carolina, since 1984. Steve is currently president of the international Society of Primitive Technology, which publishes a biannual journal, The Bulletin of Primitive Technology. He is the author of many articles dealing with culture and technology, and served as a consultant on the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment movie Cast Away. Steve has an undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and a master's degree from Duke University.