January 7, 2016

Funny story

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 2:06 pm

Desert Fox

Which may or may not have a point. As some may recall, I did a monument survey of Calvary Cemetery a couple of years ago (okay, 3), etc. Part of what I found during that was that there seemed to be a big influx of burials around 1918/1919 and the character of the burials (demographics) seemed to be consistent with the influenza epidemic. Since I cut it off at 1919 I didn’t have data past that to see if the influx continued on — suggesting it wasn’t influenza, just an increase for other reasons. So I thought that I would collect more data from 1920 on to see what the actual pattern was. Basically it consisted of walking the cemetery and recording basic data on markers from between 1920 and 1929 — sex, DOB, date of death, age — to add to what I’d already collected. A basic demographic survey of a burial population, standard sort of research in archaeology and history, paleodemography, etc.

I emphasize “research” for a reason.

So I was talking to someone at the local Catholic church (Calvary is a Catholic cemetery) and she suggested asking the Parish Boy Scouts to see if a few of them might want to spend a few hours — literally, a few hours — walking the cemetery and recording this data. Hence, I sent an email to someone who sent it on to a Scout representative.

I expected a “Sure, they’d do that” or perhaps a “No, we’d like to pass, thank you”.

Instead, I got the following, which I reproduce in full here, along with comments of my own, with names and such censored to protect identities. I may even append the second response, which was just as wordy and irrelevant to what I was asking. At first it annoyed me — I responded back with some answers and a gentle plea that if no one is interested, that’s fine — but after the second one, I found the whole thing so absurd that even now I laugh. Please enjoy, and also try to learn that brevity is the soul of both wit and politeness.

December 29, 2015

Nice hat, if you can get it

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:46 am

Archaeologists believe Thames gold hoard may have come from Tudor hat

A gust of wind blowing up the Thames half a millennium ago may have been responsible for the creation of a small hoard of gold that has been dug out of the muddy banks of the river.

Archaeologists believe that the cache – made up of tiny fragments of Tudor gold – may have come from a single piece of extravagant headwear that was blown off the head of a high-status passenger on a Thames barge some 500 years ago.

One of my favorite hypothetical archaeological dreams is draining a major river like the Thames or the Nile just to see all of the fabulous junk that’s littering the sediment. Better than an outhouse; like ten million outhouses.

December 16, 2015

Not exactly archaeology, but. . . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:42 pm

Chitchat and small talk could serve an evolutionary need to bond with othersL

emurs vocalize to essentially “groom-at-a-distance” and keep in touch when the group members they’re closest with get separated such as when foraging for food, said first author Ipek Kulahci, who received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton.
. . .

“By exchanging vocalizations, the animals are reinforcing their social bonds even when they are away from each other,” Kulahci said. “This social selectivity in vocalizations is almost equivalent to how we humans keep in regular touch with our close friends and families, but not with everyone we know.”

And I like lemurs. Not that modern lemurs are a direct analogy to ancient primates, of course.

Who woulda thunk it?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:34 pm

Via Kristina the Magnificent: 3D scans of the world’s oldest ham and peanut

Page died for me so I couldn’t extract anything.

If someone had told me 20 years ago that someone would be 3D scanning in the worlds oldest ham and peanut I would have guffawed in their face.

December 10, 2015

Lost Civilization Yet another Famous Person’s tomb. . . .found. Maybe.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 5:10 pm

The tomb of sultan Suleiman in Szigetvár

The research for finding the traces of the tomb (türbe) of sultan Suleiman in Szigetvár has been carried out since late 2012, with funding received from the Turkish government (through TIKA). Since September 2015, through the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA), the state of Hungary has also supported the examinations.

The research group established in 2013 examined several possible locations and excluded numerous ones from the examination. These included the environs of the Hungarian-Turkish Friendship Park along the Almás Stream, where the symbolic grave of the sultan is still open to visitors. This area was formerly covered with water periodically, it was unsuitable for construction and its characteristics did not comply with the information on the tomb found in written sources.

It’s actually kind of iffy whether it was actually the tomb.

December 6, 2015

Those crazy Etruscans. . . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 10:18 am

Intact, Packed Etruscan Tomb Found

An intact Etruscan tomb, complete with sarcophagi, a full array of grave goods and a mysterious marble head, has has been brought to light in the Umbria region of Italy, in what promises to be one of the most important archaeological findings in recent history.

Dated to the end of the 4th century B.C., the burial site was found by a farmer who opened a void in the earth while working with his plow in a field near Città della Pieve, a small town some 30 miles southwest of Perugia.

They are a funny people. At first glance, it seems doubtful this will add a whole lot to our collective knowledge of ye olde Etruscans. The sarc they show looks very similar to others I’ve seen. Not much in the way of texts either. I did notice in one of the pictures there is a dish with food remains; be interesting to see what those consisted of. One other thing I’ve never seen before is a small vase hanging on a nail in one wall.

December 1, 2015

Errrr. . ..what?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:49 am

Female ‘Amazon’ warrior buried 2,500 years ago in Altai Mountains was… male

A Swiss taxidermy expert brought ‘her’ to life, recreating the ‘virgin’ warrior’s looks from facial bones, and some observers commented on her distinctly masculine appearance.

Yet archeologists and anthropologists believed she was not only female – and a pig-tailed teenager – but a member of an elite corps of warriors within the Pazyryk culture which suggested likenesses to the fabled Amazon warriors of known to the Greeks.
. . .
But a major revamping is now underway. New DNA analysis indicates unequivocally that the remains were male and not female.


I wonder how many books and articles were written examining in great detail the role of women in Pazyryk culture — and its implications worldwide — based on this.

November 23, 2015

Lost civilization island. . . . found

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:14 pm

An entire ancient island has been rediscovered in the Aegean

An analysis of pottery shards, architecture, and other historic remnants in the nearby Bademli village helped the team identify the island, which linked up to the mainland to form the tip of the peninsula thanks to thousands of years of sediment build-up. The team drilled down into the filled-up gap that once separated Kane from the Turkish coast to discover that it was made up of loose soil and rock.

“It had been a matter of discussion if the islands here were the Arginus Islands or not until our research began,” one of the team, archaeologist Felix Pirson from the German Archaeology Institute, told the Doğan News Agency.

Aha. I had to read it a couple of times before I figured out that it’s still there but is not an island anymore, it’s part of the peninsula.

November 19, 2015

Thursday RIP.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 3:56 pm

A bit of sad news for this Thursday:

Dear Colleagues, Students, Alumni, and Friends,
I regret to inform you that Professor Emeritus William Longacre passed away
peacefully in Tucson, AZ on November 18 after a short illness. Dr. Longacre
will be interred in the family plot in Houghton, MI in the spring. Funeral
arrangements are pending. The School of Anthropology will host a celebration
of life in Tucson, also in the spring.
Bill’s receipt of the Raymond H. Thompson Award will be acknowledged at the
School of Anthropology Centennial Gala Dinner on December 4. Following
Bill’s wishes, the dinner will be a celebration of our centennial year and
an opportunity to enjoy good food, drink, and conversation with colleagues
and friends.
Diane Austin
Professor and Director
School of Anthropology
University of Arizona

We studied Longacre’s (and Hill’s) work on architectural analysis of room contents a lot, mainly for critical reasons. I haven’t looked into that for a looooooong time, but it’s dashedly difficult to determine room function based on contents alone (for a number of reasons) and then to try to get social structure out of that is iffy and a lot of ink was spilled on it. Still, a very influential bunch of work.
I uploaded a copy of the 1964 paper for reference purposes (http://acagle.net/Papers/Longacre1964.pdf). Feel free to discuss.
Longacre, W. A.
1964 Archeology as anthropology: a case study. Science 144:1454-1455.

October 24, 2015

Archaeoblog is going to the, well, you know. . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 5:44 am

Dogs were first domesticated in Central Asia, not China or Europe

Sometime before fifteen thousand years ago, humans started domesticating Eurasian gray wolves. Researchers are in agreement that this happened somewhere on the Eurasian continent, but getting any more specific than that has proven difficult. A new paper in PNAS suggests that the region around modern Mongolia or Nepal might be where it all began.

Previous evidence has painted a conflicting picture. The earliest archaeological evidence of dog domestication comes from Europe and Siberia. Meanwhile, genetic evidence from mitochondrial DNA (passed down to individuals by their mothers) and Y chromosomes (which travel down the male line) places the origin of dogs in southern China around 16,000 years ago.

Who knows where this is going to end up. The “village dog” idea is what people tend to imagine when batting around ideas of how dogs became domesticated initially: hanging around villages where there was a source of food garbage. That was one thing that bothered me in Egypt where there are a LOT of village dogs. At first I had assumed that they were considered almost vermin and wasn’t it awful that no one cared about all those dogs? Although not what we would think of as “caring for” them, the villagers would feed them and look out for them in some ways, largely because they acted as sentinels more or less. Although there has been some interbreeding with the dogs that (mostly) foreigners have brought in, they tend to look remarkably similar: like a basic light brown/tan plain old dog. But, as the article notes, they have a lot of genetic diversity.

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