July 8, 2020

Not Steve Martin

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:41 am

Okay, so probably only some older people will get that.

Posting this here since Facebook is still thinking Current Archaeology is some sort of eeeeeeeevil site.

Analysing injuries from medieval arrows

Human remains with signs of arrow wounds were found in a burial ground associated with a 13th-century friary that was excavated by Exeter Archaeology between 1997 and 2007 as part of a construction project in Princesshay, Exeter city centre. A study of the bones by a team at the University of Exeter has now been published in The Antiquaries Journal (https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003581520000116).

The team examined 22 bone fragments and three teeth, which were part of a collection of disarticulated remains bearing evidence of traumatic injuries at or around the time of death. It appears that these individuals may have died in battle, and that their bones were moved from their original burial location to the consecrated ground of the cemetery at a later date, which would explain their state of disarticulation.

June 18, 2020

I was going to be all snarky. . . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:39 am

But then, just when you think “Ha, no one would be that crazy…..”
Archaeologists, activists alarmed by online calls to demolish Pyramids

The hashtag #pyramids has been widely circulating on Twitter in recent days, but not for the reasons one might expect. The fact that Cairo is preparing to reopen the country for tourism within weeks or that many travelers are eagerly waiting for the coronavirus threat to subside, to visit Egypt — if only to feast their eyes on the centuries-old monuments in Giza — has little to do with the viral hashtag.
Oddly enough, the Pyramids have instead been cited multiple times in an online discussion between Twitter users on whether or not these massive structures built as tombs for the pharaohs of Egypt’s Old Kingdom more than 4,000 years ago should be torn down for allegedly having been built by “slaves.”
“Take down the #Pyramids. Slaves built them!” was one tweet advocating destruction of the monuments that have stood the test of time.

The mob knows no bounds.

June 17, 2020

Actually, this week. Or something.

Filed under: 2012 — admin @ 6:02 am

Alternate reading of Mayan calendar suggests end of the world is next week

If you thought COVID-19, civil unrest, locusts, volcanic eruptions and hurricanes signaled Armageddon — you may be right!

The reading of the Mayan calendar was wrong, according to a conspiracy theory on Twitter, and while the world didn’t end on Dec. 21, 2012, as originally prophesied by calendar readers, Mayan doomsday is sometime this week or next.

Regardless: Party it up for tomorrow we may be dead!

June 16, 2020

But of course

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:12 am

What the archaeological record reveals about epidemics throughout history – and the human response to them

The previous pandemics to which people often compare COVID-19 – the influenza pandemic of 1918, the Black Death bubonic plague (1342-1353), the Justinian plague (541-542) – don’t seem that long ago to archaeologists. We’re used to thinking about people who lived many centuries or even millennia ago. Evidence found directly on skeletons shows that infectious diseases have been with us since our beginnings as a species.

Except this is nothing like either one of those save that it is a disease.

June 11, 2020

Hey, something funny is going on.

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:28 am

I just checked the actual site and it looks like the raw HTML code is being displayed.

I am going to try to figure this out and fix it.

June 8, 2020

I knew they’d find them if they’d just wait. . . . . and wait. . . . . .and wait. . . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:17 pm

<a href=”https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/06/305224/archaeologists-discover-ancient-flint-quartzite-tools-in-casablanca/”>Archaeologists Discover Ancient Flint, Quartzite Tools in Casablanca</a>

<blockquote>A Moroccan-French scientific team has discovered ancient flint and quartzite tools dating back more than one million years in the “Thomas I” site in Casablanca, Morocco’s Ministry of Culture announced on June 8 in a press release.

The discovered small stone tools, not exceeding six centimeters in length, date back to the Acheulean civilization in Africa. The Acheulean civilization, estimated to have existed between 1.76 and 0.13 million years ago, is known for developing distinctive stone tools.</blockquote>

Point of Parliamentary procedure though: It wasn’t really a “civilization”.

Am I coming back? Why, yes. Probably.

Filed under: Blogging update — admin @ 10:27 am

Facebook has been censoring posts lately. Two from here that linked to Current Archaeology — I couldn’t even link to the main page there — and then this morning on another page I manage it killed it for a post about a new mid-engine Corvette that fell off of the lift.

Obviously, Facebook’s delicate political sensibilities were sent to the fainting couch for something at those sites.

Anyway, I’m going to start posting from here again and linking to the posts there. Who knows, maybe I’ve written something here they’ll find politically. . . . .inconvenient. . . . .as well.

January 2, 2019

WOW! A NEW POST!!!!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 11:32 am

I got this paper via another site: The Paleolithic-Mesolithic Transition

Can’t really say much about it, it’s more or less of a summary sort of thing on the transition to the Mesolithic (it’s from 2009). THis line kind of struck me:

For the archaeologist, the most easily accessible data are relevant to technology.

Well, yeah, pretty much the only thing available to archaeologists. . . . . .

October 3, 2018

Wow, I haven’t been here in a while.

Filed under: Blogging update — acagle @ 2:18 pm

Just anybody still check in?

The last two years have been s*** for me. Not physically or materially.

I think I may post more here in the future.

January 14, 2018

Modern Artifacts: The Pencil

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 11:00 am

I came across this photo essay about the last US-based pencil factory:

A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context. (The difference in force between a bold line and nothing at all would hardly tip a domino.) And while a pencil is sophisticated enough to track every gradation of the human hand, it is also simple enough for a toddler to use.

Such radical simplicity is surprisingly complicated to produce. Since 1889, the General Pencil Company has been converting huge quantities of raw materials (wax, paint, cedar planks, graphite) into products you can find, neatly boxed and labeled, in art and office-supply stores across the nation: watercolor pencils, editing pencils, sticks of charcoal, pastel chalks. Even as other factories have chased higher profit margins overseas, General Pencil has stayed put, cranking out thousands upon thousands of writing instruments in the middle of Jersey City.

Desert Fox

I believe I may have written before on this topic in the context of this book by Henry Petroski:

Like most other human artifacts, the common pencil, made and sold today by the millions, has a long and complex history. Henry Petroski, who combines a talent for fine writing with a deep knowledge of engineering and technological history, examines the story of the pencil, considering it not only as a thing in itself, but also as an exemplar of all things that are designed and manufactured.

Petroski ranges widely in time, discussing the writing technologies of antiquity. But his story really begins in the early modern period, when, in 1565, a Swiss naturalist first described the properties of the mineral that became known as graphite. Petroski traces the evolution of the pencil through the Industrial Revolution, when machine manufacture replaced earlier handwork. Along the way, he looks at some of pencil making’s great innovators–including Henry David Thoreau, the famed writer, who worked in his father’s pencil factory, inventing techniques for grinding graphite and experimenting with blends of lead, clay, and other ingredients to yield pencils of varying hardness and darkness. Petroski closes with a look at how pencils are made today–a still-imperfect technology that may yet evolve with new advances in materials and design.

It’s such a ubiquitous object that very few ever take the time to think about. It used to be, anyway, top of the list for every new school year: Pencils and notebooks. Do kids even write anymore? Judging by the penmanship (or lack thereof) demonstrated by some middle-schoolers I interacted with recently, it sure doesn’t seem like it (except the girls; they generally wrote well). But it really goes to the heart of the cultural elaboration that writing is for our species. People used to scribble a lot on pretty much anything to hand, predominantly potsherds where such were available (and where there was a writing system) which was a cheap and easy form of communication, what RC Dunnell used to call “time transgressive” objects: they persist through time unlike the spoken word. It (writing) meant that you could translate your spoken/unspoken words to a time- (and space-) transgressive object and therefore communicate your words across space and through time, not just to one person but to many. The pencil, once the vast background infrastructure was developed to make them cheap and easy to produce and sell, delivered that to the masses.

Granted, I’m not a traditional pencil user. I much prefer pencil to pen for notes and just about anything else, but I rarely use traditional wood pencils. I’m a mechanical pencil guy and have been for most of my life. I like the sharp consistency of the “lead” in mechanicals, plus the fact that you never have to sharpen it and make a mess with the shavings.

Though admittedly getting up to sharpen ones pencil provided a handy excuse to get up and wander around, and perhaps check out some of the girls in the class. . . . . .

My personal all-time favorite mechanical pencil is the Pentel with the side-clicker because you don’t have to move your fingers around much to advance the “lead”. Plus it’s a bit fatter where you grip it. I also use a slightly softer “lead” for it; on the HB scale where “HB” is about equivalent to the standard #2, I get one softer, the B. I just like the smoothness and darker line it produces.

Desert Fox

One thing of specific archaeological note: I discovered that Rite In The Rain produces a field pencil. I tried it out and at first didn’t much care for it, mostly because it uses a 1..1 mm “lead” which I don’t really like, but I’ve gotten used to it. I remain wary of using an $11 pencil out in the field — because, you know, I’m always losing things — but so far it’s worked out well.

So sometime today, take a moment out to consider the humble pencil. Pick it up, write something with it and know that you are utilizing one of the true wonders of mankind.

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