October 19, 2016

New book

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 1:02 pm

Well, it’s finally published: Kom el-Hisn (ca. 2500-1900 BC): An Ancient Settlement in the Nile Delta, edited by Robert J. Wenke, Richard W. Redding, and Anthony J. Cagle.

Kind of the literary equivalent of Sominex, but feel free to purchase.

Really, this has been a long time coming. I’ve been agitating to get the monograph out ever since I discovered a draft of it from the late 1980s. This is one of the big reasons I’ve become fairly rabid about not excavating unless it’s absolutely necessary: People — even archeologists — are just not that good at preserving things over the long term. Even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong. And people tend not to see much past their own lifetimes.

October 10, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 6:39 pm

Tribe disputes state archaeologist’s report

Picha wrote in the memo that seven State Historical Society archaeologists surveyed a 1.36-mile pipeline corridor west of Highway 1806 at the request of the task force, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding a Sept. 3 pipeline protest, including whether cultural sites were disturbed by pipeline construction.

Gruebele said authorities didn’t have enough support to file an affidavit for a search warrant that would have allowed for Eagle to be present for the survey.

The archaeologists did a pedestrian survey at seven-meter interval spacing, inspecting the stripped ground surface and both sides of the stockpiled topsoil berms, Picha wrote. The survey found 10 locations with bone fragments and teeth from small mammals, but no human bone or evidence of burials, the memo states.

October 5, 2016

From the genetics files

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:52 pm

Analysis of DNA from early settlers of the pacific overturns leading genetic model

More than 3,000 years ago, a group of people set out from the Solomon Island chain in the southwestern edge of the Pacific Ocean and steered their outrigger canoes toward the horizon, with no land as far as their eyes could see. These people and their descendants were the first to cross more than 350 kilometer stretches of open ocean into a region known as Remote Oceania. Now, DNA sequences are for the first time telling us more about the ancestral origins of these people, and their genetic legacy that lives on in Pacific Islanders today.

A scientific team led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, University College Dublin, and the Max Planck institute for the Science of Human History, and including Binghamton University Associate Professor of Anthropology Andrew D. Merriwether, analyzed DNA from people who lived in Tonga and Vanuatu between 2,500 and 3,100 years ago, and were among the first people to live in these islands. The results overturn the leading genetic model for this last great movement of humans to unoccupied but habitable lands.

Neat stuff although I thought the part about the X-chromosome bit was sort of gratuitous Feministing. I mean, duh, yeah, there were probably women along too, because, you know, reproduction.

September 28, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II.

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 1:36 pm

ND archaeologist: No burial sites destroyed by Dakota Access

North Dakota’s chief archaeologist has found that no burial sites or significant sites were destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

In a Sept. 22 memo from state archaeologist Paul Picha, he writes that seven archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota surveyed the construction area west of State Highway 1806 that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says contains sacred sites.

The team found no human bone or other evidence of human burials or cultural materials in the 1.36-mile corridor, Picha writes in a memo published Monday by Say Anything blogger Rob Port.

What a mess. And because of the environmental politics involved, expect far more heat than light.

September 22, 2016

Fight Fight!

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 10:10 am

Museum Officials and Archaeologists Sign Petition Against N. Dakota Pipeline

Over a thousand archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, museum officials and academics have added their names and voices to the protest against an oil pipeline being built in North Dakota.
. . .
Development of the area has been contested by Native American tribes like the Standing Rock Sioux, who contend that the land and water crossings are sacred space, used for burials and containing historically and culturally vital information about their origins.

“It’s smack-dab practically in the center of our ancestral homelands,” Kelly Morgan, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux and its tribal archaeologist, said. Construction of the pipeline on private land has already wiped out some stones and markers that the Standing Rock Sioux considered valuable, they say, a development that helped spur the letter campaign.

I have yet to see anything suggesting there really are burials that were or may be disturbed, or anything else cultural for that matter except on private land (if such is the case) where Federal law may not even apply. I’m guessing this has far more to do with environmentalism than actual cultural sensibilities:

The new letter campaign against the pipeline was originated by the Natural History Museum, a New York-based mobile organization which has in the past released similar letters advocating for science and natural history museums to cut ties with fossil fuel companies and the philanthropists who support them, an effort that many institutions undertook.

September 18, 2016

One good thing and one bad thing.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 2:42 pm

Good thing: Indy Gear
So yeah, get yer stuff.

Bad thing: David Morgan

David Morgan of Woodinville, WA died July 8, 2015. Born May 21, 1925 in Vancouver, Canada, David is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dorothy, their four children (Olwen (Robert Ruggeri); Barbara (Chip Zukoski); Meredith (Ed Orton) and Will), six grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Met the guy a couple of times at his store here around Seattle. He’s the one who made all of the whips for the Indiana Jones movies. Last time I was there they showed me around the place (see here). David gave me a few demonstrations of cracking one of said whips, but when he suggested that he could snap a cigarette out of my mouth I demurred.


Blogging update

Filed under: Blogging update — acagle @ 2:39 pm

Hey everyone. Sorry for the lack of activity. I’m working through some things lately. Blogging has been one of about most things put on a way back burner. Will try to get things going again.

Again, apologies.

September 6, 2016

Amazing how much a little more work changes things.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 1:23 pm

New Findings Have Archaeologists Rethinking Valley of Oaxaca History

The evidence collected during these recent excavations illustrates this adjustment. One significant feature at Lambityeco that underwent a dramatic change was its ball court, an important ceremonial and recreational structure in prehispanic Mesoamerica. Originally, the ball court at Lambityeco (discovered in 2015 by the museum team) was designed and laid out in a pattern that was very similar to the way the ball court in Monte Albán had been; they were built with the same orientation and both were entered on the north side. Less than two centuries later, however, the people of Lambityeco sealed the north entrance to the ball court there, and created a new stairway on one of its corners, a major change. Around the same time the iconic frescos, one of the findings that originally seemed to connect the two settlements, were covered and never re-created.

Feinman was one of my profs at UW-Madison way back in the day.

September 3, 2016

Online articles for free

Filed under: Online publications — acagle @ 8:37 am

Death and Burial

Read ‘em for free until April of next year.

Tom Wolfe does evolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:36 am

Tom Wolfe: My Father, the Provocateur

If the direct link doesn’t work, use this one from teh Googles.

I haven’t been following this latest book all that closely, but he seems to be going after both Darwin and Chomsky on language:

Charles Darwin held that the human brain and language evolved together, but my father thinks that speech is an entirely separate phenomenon, unrelated to our physical development.

And unlike the linguist Noam Chomsky, against whom my father also contends in the book, he doesn’t think that language is an innate part of our makeup. He sees it instead as our greatest invention—the code that has made possible all of our other inventions, from the spear to the internet.

“The heart of my thinking is that language is man-made,” he tells me. “It’s not a result of evolution, and it is only language that enables human beings to control nature.”

If you’re from the Rindos/Dunnell school, it’s a distinction without a difference. You can’t have language unless you have the biological capacity for it, so whether we “invented” it or it somehow arose “naturally” it doesn’t really matter: it’s part of the phenotype and will be selected upon regardless of the source of the trait.

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