Learn The Ancestral Art of Traditional Hide Tanning

  • Price: $520


Location Course Date(s) Price
SF Bay Area5/17/24 - 5/19/24$520Sold out

The Ancestral Art of Buckskin Hide Tanning.

For: Anyone ages 12+  with an interest in ancestral living arts! (ages 12-17 can attend with a responsible parent or guardian).
3 Days (Daytime only) See dates above.
Where: SF Bay Are, Northern California.
Special Guest Instructor: Dr. Theresa Emmerich Kamper (Alone Season 8)

Ancient Buckskin Hide Tanning Arts Course Description :

Come learn the ancient art of traditional buckskin hide tanning with Dr. Theresa Kamper from History Channel’s Alone Season 8!

Before the advent of modern tanning agents, humans were turning raw pelts into functional items like clothing using very basic techniques and materials. Sustainable to the max, buckskin clothing can easily last 20-30 years! Our hides are reclaimed, sources sustainably from hides that might otherwise be discarded from hunts.

Learn the art of producing an incredibly soft, beautiful and durable product from raw animal skin using one of human kind’s earliest tanning technologies! Utilizing materials readily available in the surrounding environment we will walk through the steps of this transformation.

Over 3 full days this course will focus on tanning deer skins with a variety of fat tanning which uses Lecithin and oil* as the dressing agent. Whilst not for the squeamish the end product is worth the work! The class will cover removing the meat and fat (de-fleshing), removing the outer grain layer (de-graining), alkalining for ground substance removal, applying the tanning agents (dressing), softening and smoking the skins, to create traditional finished buckskin!

In addition to enthusiastic instruction, comfortable, easy to use tools, and detailed handouts covering the tanning process, students will also experience course time filled with rich ethnographic historical details and storytelling. A list of helpful literature for those who wish to further their own knowledge of tanning will also be provided.

Look forward to a hands-on educational course sure to contain plenty of memorable moments, lots of practical information, and the chance to learn ancient skills integral to human history.


May 17th – 19th, 2024
Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – Till done! (usually before dark 🙂
Sunday: 9am – 5pm (May finish a little earlier)


Students may stay and camp on-site, or go home/stay at nearby hotels each night.
Students must bring their own gear and meals (Meals should be brought for all meals on property during class hours, there is nothing close-by for lunch breaks, etc.)

Your Instructor:

Dr. Theresa Emmerich Kamper is an avid practitioner of traditional living skills and primitive technology of all kinds, and has tanned skins using traditional technologies for over twenty-five years. Theresa originates from the state of Wyoming in the United States, where she was lucky enough to grow up as part of a family of outdoor enthusiasts. The vast tracks of wilderness surrounding her hometown allowed ample opportunity to practice and hone her practical skill sets.

Theresa learned to brain tan skins at age 12, and holds a master’s degree in Experimental Archaeology from the University of Exeter, as well as a PhD on the microscopic analysis of prehistoric processed skin artifacts.

Of note, Theresa recently was featured for her skills on Season 8 of the Survival show Alone on History Channel, as well on “Surviving the Stone Age” with BBC 4 in the UK.

Her professional background also includes an internship with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and work with the Openarch project funded by the Culture Program of the European Union, as well as many other ongoing experimental archaeology endeavors. Her recently released book titled, Determining Prehistoric Skin Processing Technologies: the macro and microscopic characteristics of experimental samples, is also available from Sidestone Press.

Dr. Emmerich Kamper is currently an honorary research fellow with the University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom and teaches practical courses across Europe, North America and the Near East on various tannage technologies.

Physical Requirements?

Please be aware that a reasonable amount of fitness is required for this course. The instructor will provide instruction on good technique and timing with the skins, but you will need to be able to be on your feet and active for 6 to 8 hours per day. Any serious prior injuries or physical accommodation option requests need to be discussed with the instructor prior to booking onto the course please!

Age Requirements?

Attendees must be 12+ years of age. Attendees under 18 must come with a parent or guardian who is also a registered course attendee.

Additional Information

Refund Policy: Due to the special nature of this course and the planning time required. Refunds will not be allowed within 60 days of the course start date. Refunds prior to 60 days before the course will be issued less the nominal fee kept by the payment processor to return funds to the method of payment provided.

Upcoming Dates


To register more than one person, just complete the form for first person, then return to page to fill form again for additional people prior to shopping cart checkout.

I agree to the cancellation policy, reservation policy, and standards of behavior policy stated here
Email Us


to reserve this trip over the phone
Monday-Friday, 7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time