Light blogging as I’ve been waking up way too early the last few days and have fieldwork tomorrow and lots of other junk going on.
Well, and I bought a guitar. Acoustic. Haven’t been playing much with it yet, mostly just running some fingering drills to toughen them up and get used to it. I played a bit back in college, but decided to try my hand(s) at it again. Also trying to go from first principles and ignore playing anything resembling a song until I get my fingering up to some kind of snuff.
Archaeologists have made a discovery in southern subtropical China which could revolutionise thinking about how ancient humans lived in the region.
hey have uncovered evidence for the first time that people living in Xincun 5,000 years ago may have practised agriculture –before the arrival of domesticated rice in the region.
Current archaeological thinking is that it was the advent of rice cultivation along the Lower Yangtze River that marked the beginning of agriculture in southern China. Poor organic preservation in the study region, as in many others, means that traditional archaeobotany techniques are not possible.
Now, thanks to a new method of analysis on ancient grinding stones, the archaeologists have uncovered evidence that agriculture could predate the advent of rice in the region.
I say not surprising because I believe that ‘agriculture’ or ‘domestication’ wasn’t just ‘invented’ (can I use even more quotes?!) a few times; it was probably known for a long time at some level but only became selectively advantageous at certain times and certain places, whence it really took off. An earlier post described this as coevolution with something else.
Coevolution of farming and private property during the early Holocene
Samuel Bowles and Jung-Kyoo Choi
PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print May 13, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1212149110
The advent of farming around 12 millennia ago was a cultural as well as technological revolution, requiring a new system of property rights. Among mobile hunter–gatherers during the late Pleistocene, food was almost certainly widely shared as it was acquired. If a har- vested crop or the meat of a domesticated animal were to have been distributed to other group members, a late Pleistocene would-be farmer would have had little incentive to engage in the required investments in clearing, cultivation, animal tending, and storage. However, the new property rights that farming required—secure individual claims to the products of one’s labor—were infeasible because most of the mobile and dispersed resources of a forager economy could not cost-effectively be delimited and defended. The resulting chicken-and-egg puzzle might be resolved if farming had been much more productive than foraging, but initially it was not. Our model and simulations explain how, despite being an unlikely event, farming and a new system of farming-friendly property rights nonetheless jointly emerged when they did. This Holocene revolution was not sparked by a superior technology. It occurred because possession of the wealth of farmers—crops, dwellings, and animals—could be unambiguously demarcated and defended. This facilitated the spread of new property rights that were advantageous to the groups adopting them. Our results thus challenge unicausal models of historical dynamics driven by advances in technology, population pressure, or other exogenous changes. Our approach may be applied to other technological and institutional revolutions such as the 18th- and 19th-century industrial revolution and the information revolution today.
That’s a promo (or so the caption says) for Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971. I only recently found out that it was an album first, then a musical. This is Murray Head who played Judas, arguably the center of this story. Probably gave the best performance on the album as well.
UPDATE: It is a promo or perhaps even a regular “music video” although I’m not sure if videos were used solely for promotion back then or not. Found out a bit more about it though: the song in the video, Superstar, was the main single associated with the album along with I don’t know how to love him by Yvonne Elliman. The latter was eventually a bigger hit, but they tended to promote the former more. The backup singers were the “Trinidad Singers” who look to be the ones in the video.
Did you know he also did One Night in Bangkok? I didn’t.
At first, archaeologists Dorcas Brown and David Anthony were deeply puzzled. While excavating the Bronze Age site of Krasnosamarkskoe in Russia’s Volga region, they unearthed the bones of at least 51 dogs and 7 wolves. All the animals had died during the winter months, judging from the telltale banding pattern on their teeth, and all were subsequently skinned, dismembered, burned, and chopped with an ax.
Moreover, the butcher had worked in a precise, standardized way, chopping the dogs’ snouts into three pieces and their skulls into geometrically shaped fragments just an inch or so in size. “It was very strange,” says Anthony.
To him and Brown, both of whom teach at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, the skilled and standardized method of butchering the dogs pointed to some sort of ritual. Pam Crabtree, an archaeozoologist at New York University, who was not a member of the team, agrees. She notes that the butchery pattern was entirely different from those used in prehistoric Europe and other parts of the world for slicing off dog meat to eat.
Well, it’s a nice hypothesis anyway. Doesn’t seem like simple butchering although it all seems to have taken place in winter months.
The Catalina Island Museum has opened an exhibit dedicated to a notorious Native American grave robber who presided over an ‘Indian museum’ built out of the bones he recovered from the burial grounds.
‘The Strange and Mysterious Case of Dr. Glidden’ delves into the colorful and mysterious past of amateur archaeologist Ralph Glidden – hoping to shed light on a gruesome period in the Californian islands history.
The no-holds-barred exhibit features an introduction that says he, through his unscientific plundering, disregarded ‘the sanctity of human remains’ and inflicted ‘near-permanent damage’ on research into local Native American life.
The article’s author tries to paint Glidden like some sort of monster, all the while acknowledging that what he was doing wasn’t particularly out of the ordinary at the time. Interesting though, I’ve never heard of him.
TV presenter and professor Alice Roberts has argued people should “grapple with” the issue of bringing Ice Age animals back from the dead.
“We are, quite seriously, on the brink of being able to do this, so it’s quite an important question for people to start grappling with,” she told the Radio Times.
Japanese scientists have already extracted the bone marrow from woolly mammoth remains found in Siberia to look at the DNA with a view to resurrecting a mammoth, she said.
“It is within our grasp, which is such an extraordinary thing to think about.”
Not a really in-depth article, but not really going to one side or the other. I keep wondering if I’ll be around to see the first extinct animal brought back to life. I am guessing not, as I think it will take a long time to work out the kinks and bring a truly cloned critter back that doesn’t have all sorts of problems. She’s got a point regarding what to do with a whole herd of mammoth, whether we should try repopulating Siberia with the damn things. Though frankly, I’m all for it.
Bulldozers and backhoes have essentially destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids, which survived millennia of storms, rain and wind only to succumb to a construction company seeking gravel for road fill.
The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology says the destruction was detected late last week, and only a small portion of the center of the pyramid mound was left standing, according to the Associated Press. 7Newsbelize.com, the website for TV channel 7 in the small Caribbean country, accompanied a handful of archaeologists to the site recent.