The Stone Age and Primitive Arts Festival was held in Ochlockonee River State Park, which is a pretty little park located in the Apalachicola River delta, southwest of Tallahassee in the eastern part of the Florida panhandle.
|Ochlockonee State Park|
It was a heck of a drive. Google Maps said it would be about 6 hours and 49 minutes driving time, but it took us much more--it seemed like 8 hours--even though there were no detours, construction zones, or traffic jams.
The nearest town, between our hotel and the park, was Sopchoppy. It's a small town that looks like it's down on its luck: a lot of stores are closed, some houses are abandoned, and some structures are collapsing. The town used to be a stop on a long-abandoned rail line that served the logging and turpentine industries. Since they dried up a century ago, Sopchoppy has been struggling. That why we were shocked but delighted to find that the only restaurant in town was superb. The Sopchoppy Pizza Company serves not only really excellent pizza but a variety of other tasty and creative dishes. It's housed in a nicely maintained historic building and the decor is fun and charming. It's immaculate and homey. Ironically, it is a far better restaurant than most of those in the affluent and sophisticated area where I live in Palm Beach County.
The two students I brought, Lana Ruck and Justin Colon, are both interested in lithic analysis. Lana's research focuses on determining handedness from debitage attributes. The evolution of handedness is important because it may be related to the evolution of language. Both are related to brain laterality and they are processed in similar and unusual ways in the brain. To test her hypotheses, which include attempts to replicate the results of previous studies that have claimed to identify handedness from debitage, she needs debitage from left-handed knappers. As it happens, left-handed knappers turn out to be as rare as Tea Party Communists. But there were several at the knap-in, and so Lana was able to collect some critical data.
|Lana and Justin|
|Two left-handed knappers|
|Left-handed knapping in progress|
Here's our tarp with our knapping stuff on it, with and without grad students:
|The tarp we bought for knapping|
|Justin and Lana preparing to knap|