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2013 Montana Elk River Spring Knap-in Report

Yellowstone Gateway Museum

May -18-19--2013


Ray Alt and George Bryce host the 2nd Annual Montana Elk River Spring Knap-in at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum May 18th and 19th and by all accounts it was a tremendous success!

Write-up and photos by Richard and Joan Urata

The first Elk River Knap-in was a wet one (the Yellowstone River was known by the Indians as the Elk River. ).  It rained both days.  However the weather did not dampen the enthusiasm of all attendees -- the experienced knappers, the new knappers and the public.  

The knap-in was part of the Yellowstone Gateway Museum’s opening weekend of the new exhibit of stone points that Ray Alt and George Bryce (both PSK members) provided and gave to the museum.  The exhibit ‘Re-creating an Ancient Technology: Modern-Day Flint Knapping’ was also curated by Ray & George along with museum staff.   The first display, ‘Lithic Source Material In Montana’, showed the raw rocks (see picture) with a knapped point at their side and a map of the area that the rocks are found.  Most of the areas are in Montana. 

The second display, ‘The Rest of the Story: How did Projectile Points Get Their Names’, (see picture) showed points with a description
of how the particular point was named.  The third display, ‘The Art and Technology of Projectile Points and Tools’, and ‘From Rocks to Point, showing the Process’, displayed points and Tools (see picture).

There were about 12 knappers in attendance with experience in Brain Tanning leather, Atlatls, Bows and Arrows, Cordage, Fish Traps, Weaving and Fire Starting.  The experienced knappers were busy both days teaching new knappers the art.  Participating  teachers were Ray Alt, George Bryce, Jim Rayner, Richard Urata, Don Safford, Tom Mc Cormick, Mel Beattie and Jack Reynolds.  Some of the new knappers came back on Sunday to learn more knapping techniques.  Atlatl lessons were conducted by Don Safford.  Cordage, weaving and fish traps were demonstrated by Tim Ryan and Fire Starting by Chris  Newhouse.  A community point was made and donated to the museum.  George Bryce won the 2-inch goat game.

Thanks to the hosts Ray and Harriet Alt, George and Cheryl Bryce, and the Yellowstone Gateway Museum for putting on a great knap-in!!

"(It) Was a great knap-in. We were able to
give all knappers a hat and the Museum $200.00 from the auction proceeds. We
donated the display to the Museum and went in the hole $11.00. Sold the last T-
shirt to Levi Nelson for $11.00, breaking us evening. That is called success
and giving back to the community. What a joy. "

Ray Alt


 The Museum and Displays




Knappers, Knapping and Primitive Skills!

Host Ray Alt Teaching the Art of Flintknapping!


Sweet Success! And a new convert to the Ancient Art of Flintknapping and the PSK!

Richard Urata and Ray Alt - Richard helping Ray with the 2" Goat competition!

Jim Rayner - Just 2"

Another convert!


Primitive Skills

Knapper Art Displays

Co-Host George Bryce (left) and



Jim Rayner's Knives - Blades, Handles and Display Case all made by Jim!


A major part of fund raising to pay for PSK events is our Auctions.  Items are donated by members and all monies raised fo toward the cost of the event.

More donated items!






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