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.
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.
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.
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.
Death and Burial
Read ‘em for free until April of next year.
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.
Plus it’s fun to type palimpsest: Hidden Images Revealed in Pre-Hispanic Mixtec Manuscript ‘Codex Selden’
Also known as Codex Añute, the manuscript consists of a 16.4-feet (5 m) long strip composed of deer hide that has been covered with gesso, a white plaster made from gypsum and chalk, and folded in a concertina format into a 20-page document.
Researchers have long suspected that Codex Selden is a palimpsest, an older document that has been covered up and reused to make the manuscript that is currently visible.
The manuscript underwent a series of invasive tests in the 1950s when one page on the back was scraped, uncovering a vague image that hinted at the possibility that an earlier Mexican codex lay hidden beneath.
. . .all dressed up in onions, tomatoes, coriander and other delicious spices.
The proto-Aztec bunny farmers of ancient Mexico
A group of anthropologists describe their discovery in PLoS One, filling in details of what appears to be a rabbit farm and butcher shop in a Teotihuacan neighborhood called Oztoyahualco. From roughly the 4th through 6th centuries, this neighborhood was home to an apartment compound that immediately stood out for a few reasons. Several rooms contained an enormous number of cottontail and jackrabbit remains, as well as soil with high phosphate levels that would indicate a lot of blood or fecal matter on the ground. One room had low stone walls “suggestive of a pen for domestic animal management,” the researchers write. Other rooms were full of obsidian blades and rabbit limbs, as if they were part of a butcher shop.
Add all those findings together and you’ve got what appears to be an apartment complex devoted to raising and slaughtering rabbits. One more piece of evidence strengthened the hypothesis: a previous excavation had uncovered an unusual rabbit sculpture (pictured above) on the site. Bunnies were obviously important to the people in this place.
The “onions, tomatoes. . .” bit is actually something from one of my Kenyan colleagues. We’d gotten into an online discussion about what various places do with stray animals in cities, such as dogs in Vietnam (rounded up and eaten) and I eventually produced the famous Baby Goats in Pajamas video to illustrate how we treat out goats here and that is how she described how they dress their goats in Kenya.
Tool or weapon?
“Our study suggests that the throwing of stones played a key role in the evolution of hunting,” said Bingham, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and an author on the study. “We don’t think that throwing is the sole, or even primary, function of these spheroids, but these results show that this function is an option that warrants reconsidering as a potential use for this long-lived, multipurpose tool.”
The use of these stones, which date from between 1.8 million and 70,000 years ago, has puzzled archaeologists since they were unearthed at the Cave of Hearths in South Africa’s Makapan Valley nearly 30 years ago.
I suppose a round rock about the size of one’s hand would be useful in a number of contexts. Chucking it at some jerk you took a dislike to is just one of them.