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Primitive Technology is a YouTube channel run by John Plant. Based in Far North Queensland, Australia, the series demonstrates the process of making tools and buildings using only materials found in the wild. Created in May 2015, the channel has gained over 9.5 million subscribers and over 700 million views as of June 2019.

Primitive Technology
Primitive Technology logo.png
Personal information
BornJohn Plant
EducationBachelor of Science
YouTube information
Years active2015–present
Subscribers9 million
Total views700 million
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg100,000 subscribers 2015
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg1,000,000 subscribers 2016
Updated 26 April 2019



Plant describes his subject as a hobby,[1] and he "lives in a modern house and eats modern food".[2][3] He stated in a comment on a January 2018 video that he owns the land on which he films the videos.[4] He states on his website that he has no Aboriginal ancestry and has not received training from the Australian Army.[1]

In a correspondence with Michelle Castillo of CNBC in 2017, Plant stated that he was in his mid 30s. He also said he went to university and received a Bachelor of Science degree but "didn't do anything with it",[5] and instead mowed lawns for a living while going out into the bush in his spare time to practice his hobby.[3] He stated his affinity for subsisting off of nature began at a young age: at 11, he would make huts by a creek behind his house using only natural materials.[5][6][7]


Each video guides viewers through the progress of one or more projects demonstrating the techniques and methods he uses to create tools or buildings.[8] As he explains on his blog, he builds "completely from scratch using no modern tools or materials", only using what he can source from his natural environment, such as plant materials, clay, soil, and stones.[2][9] Episodes of the series contain no speaking, and only minimal ambient sound. Text descriptions of actions on-screen appear in the closed-caption feature.[8][10][11]


Plant created the Primitive Technology channel in May 2015. The first video was uploaded on 1 May 2015. Since that time, each of his videos has garnered millions of views. The channel amassed 5.4 million subscribers and 350 million views by September 2017,[5] increasing to 8.7 million subscribers and 615 million views by September 2018.[12] As of June 2019, the channel has 9.5 million subscribers and 719 million views.

For the first two years of the channel's existence the man in the videos remained anonymous. In June 2017 he identified himself as John Plant when he complained to Facebook that his videos were being stolen as a result of people reposting them on the website, and that the practice had cost him thousands of Australian dollars.[13]

Plant has authored the 192 page, illustrated, hardcover book Primitive Technology: A survivalist's guide to building tools, shelters, and more in the wild (ISBN 9781984823670), being published by Clarkson Potter October 29, 2019. The book is "a practical guide to building huts and tools using only natural materials from the wild" containing "50 projects with step-by-step instructions on how to make tools, weapons, shelters, pottery, clothing, and more".[14]


  1. ^ a b Mooney, Paula (21 February 2016). "Primitive Technology' YouTube Guy Gets 31 Million Views: What's The Name Of Shirtless, Silent Australian Man In The Videos?". Inquisitr. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Primitive Technology Wordpress blog 'About' page". Primitive Technology website. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Pierpoint, George (27 August 2018). "What is 'primitive technology' and why do we love it?". BBC News.
  4. ^ "Primitive Technology's highlighted reply". Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Castillo, Michelle (15 September 2017). "How a YouTube star gained 5.4 million followers by mimicking the Stone Age". CNBC. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. ^ Staff writer(s) (2 October 2017). "Primitive Technology auf YouTube: Technik-Tipps aus der Vorzeit". Der Spiegel.
  7. ^ Staff writer(s) (28 September 2017). "Nackter Oberkörper und zwei geschickte Hände: Steinzeit-Handwerker wird zum Youtube-Star". Aargauer Zeitung.
  8. ^ a b Kahn, Jennifer (1 December 2016). "Letter of Recommendation: 'Primitive Technology'" – via The New York Times.
  9. ^ "'Youtuber' primitivo: Internet se rinde al canal de este 'McGyver' prehistórico". El Mundo.
  10. ^ De Brito, Sam (8 July 2015). "Who is that mysterious bushman?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  11. ^ Stephens, Chase (5 April 2016). "Watching This Guy Build A Hut Using Purely Primitive Technology Is Mesmerizing". The Daily Wire. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  12. ^ Bridge, Mark (1 September 2018). "Stone Age skills are YouTube smash hit". The Times.
  13. ^ Michael, Peter (3 June 2017). "Caveman YouTube neolithic skills sensation accuses Facebook of theft". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 23 September 2017.(subscription required)
  14. ^ "Primitive Technology by John Plant". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 10 August 2019.

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