February 29, 2012

The wonder of the Internets, part 1,265,396

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 1:52 pm

So anyway, my old adviser and I are working on the monograph for a site excavated in the 1980s (Kom el-Hisn) which was actually somewhat completed at some point in that decade. That is, some of those involved wrote up chapters and they’ve been sitting in a binder for years. We’d been talking about it for a while now, but never really went anywhere with it.

Finally, a couple of years ago, said adviser (in retirement) got serious about it and we’ve been putting it together. As one might expect, some of the particulars have moved on and aren’t willing or able to either write up a new chapter or significantly modify the old one. Trouble is, for some of the crucial chapters — the ceramics for one — nobody else is really that familiar with the whole corpus to really describe them adequately, so we’re left with the original chapter as written. But: the one big chapter (the ceramics) is only available as a paper copy. So we were looking at either transcribing it manually (ugh) or perhaps scanning it in and OCRing it (which I tried and it didn’t work very well). We’ve been batting around what to do for over a month now.

Then this morning I was working on one of the smaller chapters that I’d already transcribed, looking up the references to put into the new format and did a Google search on one of the refs. . . .and the first hit was to a document on my own web site. A Word document. Of the supposedly paper-only documents. !!!!

Happily, it wasn’t something I had done, they were in a bunch of archive files I somehow got from somewhere at some point and plopped them up there for safekeeping. Eureka! Still quite a bit of work to do, what with updating it and changing the references from numbers into author+year format, but. . . .WHEW.

February 28, 2012

And now for something completely different

Filed under: Pre-Clovis — acagle @ 7:44 pm

The original Native Americans: stone age Europeans discovered the New World

Europeans may have been the first people to settle in America, possibly more than ten thousand years before anyone else set foot there.

A series of European-style tools dating from twenty-six-thousand to nineteen-thousand years ago have been discovered in six separate locations along the east coast of the United States.

. . .

Professors Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradford, the two archaeologists who made the discovery, suggest Europeans moved across the Atlantic during the peak of Ice Age.

Nothing entirely new there, this is something Stanford has been arguing for years now, although I’m not sure if any of these “tools” are new (one seems to be from 1971).

More Nekkid Archaeology

Filed under: Biblical archaeology — acagle @ 7:40 pm

Of the Biblical sort! ‘Naked Archaeologist’ finds signs Jerusalem cave was used to bury Jesus’ disciples

Under an ordinary residential building in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, a robotic arm with a camera inserted into a Second Temple-era burial cave has revealed mysterious inscriptions and drawings on ossuaries.

Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy-winning documentary director and producer who is best known for his documentary TV series “The Naked Archaeologist,” argues that the cave served as a burial cave for at least some of Jesus’ disciples.

It actually seems to be some interesting finds, but whether it has anything to do with disciples is pretty thin gruel at this point.

UPDATE: More here.

Saucy archaeology?

Filed under: Amateur, Historic — acagle @ 4:46 pm

Not that sort: Dig uncovers saucy history

Amateur archaeologists descended on the site of the original Restieaux dairy farm, in Houghton Valley, for Saturday’s event, titled Dig Central.

Led by local archaeologist, Mary O’Keeffe they tapped into an old water tank, used by the family as a private tip for generations.

. . .

”They drank a lot of beer and used a lot of tomato sauce,” Mr Smith said.


Filed under: Amateur, Conservation/CRM, Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 4:44 pm

From the SAA:

Dear Colleagues,

Late last week the SAA Board was informed that there are two TV series planned that promote and glorify the looting and destruction of archaeological sites. They are American Diggers and Diggers. The first is scheduled for Spike TV and the other for National Geographic TV. As past SAA President Bob Kelly wrote in a recent e-mail in response to American Diggers, “This shameless and shameful program will glorify and promote the mindless destruction of archaeological sites in the U.S.”

SAA and other groups, such as SHA, have already prepared and sent strong letters condemning both of these programs to the production companies, networks, and others. Copies of the SAA letters can be found on the SAA website (http://bit.ly/w2MHJM, and http://bit.ly/wzT7IA). The letters provide details on why we are so concerned. Up to this point Spike TV has not responded to the public outcry. Leadership of National Geographic, however, has indicated that, while they are unable to stop the showing tomorrow on such short notice, they will place a disclaimer into the show that speaks to laws protecting archaeological and historic sites. They are also willing to enter into discussions with the archaeological community to determine how to raise awareness! of the impacts of the use of metal detectors for treasure hunting. We will advise you of developments in this area.

We are also in conversations with SHA, RPA, AIA, NASA and others to develop a coordinated response and next steps.

BUT for the Spike TV program we need your help. We ask you to individually send letters and/or e-mails to the companies involved—or take advantage of social media outlets (see below)—urging them as strongly as possible to stop this show. The contact points that we have identified so far for the Spike TV project are provided below.

Spike TV
Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, California 90045


Kevin Kay
President, Spike TV
1633 Broadway
New York, New York 10019


Stephen K. Friedman
President, MTV
c/o MTV Studios
1515 Broadway
New York, New York 10036
Shana Tepper

Philippe Dauman
President and Chief Executive Officer
Viacom Inc.
1515 Broadway
New York, New York 10036


There are also Facebook pages where you can comment

One is a “People against American Diggers” facebook page:


If you would like to add comments to the Spike website, please visit the comments section at the bottom of the following page:


The Spike TV announcement is available at


UPDATE: One of the first shows has filmed and the usual controversy ensues.

New book

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 12:10 pm

New book details archaeological excavations on San Juan Island

The site is in San Juan Island National Historical Park, which made it an attractive site. “A private individual may not want 20 undergraduates coming to their back and front yard for eight weeks, for so many years in a row,” she said, but the National Park Service did.

The site had been the subject of research in the 1950s that focused mainly on studying the use of tools, Stein said. She and her students investigated shell middens, or heaps of shell, artifacts, ash, sediment and other traces of past inhabitants. They were looking for patterns indicating the location of possible walls and other potential remnants of a house structure, and hoping to learn to more about the residents’ diet. People ate fish, shellfish, deer, elk, birds and plants.

“What we were trying to figure out are the more nuanced questions,” she said. “’What kind of shells?’ ‘Did they change the kinds of shells? Where was the shoreline? How did they collect the birds — was it a seasonal occupation? Where was the house? Was there a house?”

I did my field school in the area and came back the next year to do a couple of pits on this U-shaped mound thingie, with inconclusive results (I, however, was the first person in SJ history to excavate to sterile sediment). Guess they did further work after that.

“Why does yoga produce so many philanderers?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 9:42 am

Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here

One factor is ignorance. Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise.

Hatha yoga — the parent of the styles now practiced around the globe — began as a branch of Tantra. In medieval India, Tantra devotees sought to fuse the male and female aspects of the cosmos into a blissful state of consciousness.

The rites of Tantric cults, while often steeped in symbolism, could also include group and individual sex.

Doesn’t surprise me any, it’s really kind of an erotic form of ‘exercise’ — I’d bet this show has a fairly significant male audience — if you’ve ever watched some of the movements.

At Rutgers University, scientists are investigating how yoga and related practices can foster autoerotic bliss. It turns out that some individuals can think themselves into states of sexual ecstasy — a phenomenon known clinically as spontaneous orgasm and popularly as “thinking off.”

The Rutgers scientists use brain scanners to measure the levels of excitement in women and compare their responses with readings from manual stimulation of the genitals. The results demonstrate that both practices light up the brain in characteristic ways and produce significant rises in blood pressure, heart rate and tolerance for pain — what turns out to be a signature of orgasm.

I certainly don’t get that from squats. . . .

February 27, 2012

It happened one night. . . .

Filed under: Historic, Media — acagle @ 8:12 pm

almost 100 years ago: Titanic! Oddly, I haven’t been hearing all that much about it, just one side note in a news story the other day. But it’s coming up in less than two months: 15 April. Here’s a few links:

Titanic 2012 presented by the port of Cobh, the last port of call.

Titanic Memorial Cruises although oddly none of them seem to be sailing in the area on the day of the wreck. . . .

Halifax has a web site and activities.

Titanic Heritage Trust

And RMS Titanic, Inc. that put on the traveling show some years ago. I still have a replica coffee cup that I bought at the exhibit (this one) and I think we have the 2nd class cup and saucer, too.

It’s almost become. . . .cliche to think about anymore, what with the soap-opera movie (now in 3D!), but it pays to stop a moment and remember that over 1,500 people lost their lives that night, entirely comparable at the time to our 9/11, albeit not due to hostile action. I’m hoping that won’t be lost in all the hoopla sure to surround the anniversary.

Public health in Egypt update

Filed under: Egypt, Public Health — acagle @ 11:30 am

Interesting side item while I’ve been reading through this book on PH in 19th century Egypt. At one point, the author mentions that the three most common health complaints of 19th century Egyptians were ophthalmia, dysentery, and plague. Dysentery is well noted amongst us who’ve been there. The first one, ophthalmia is probably Egyptian ophthalmia or an eye infection with the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. . .that chlamydia. He notes that Pierre-Charles Rouyer, a pharmacist with the French army, noted that there were many treatments the Egyptians used on ophthalmia including kohl powder which was used as an eyeliner.

Now, I recall linking to an article on this not too long ago, but I can’t find it right now. The constituents of ancient kohl probably varied, but most of what I’ve read had it including copper and antimony, the former at least having antibiotic properties — the article I’m vaguely remembering makes me thing lead was an ingredient as well. I’m guessing this was a common ailment elsewhere as well, and I’ve seen a reference or two to some form of kohl being used elsewhere, notably Sumeria. I imagine it couldn’t have worked all that well as a prophylactic if the disease was that common, although I suppose it could have kept it at least somewhat in check and perhaps only for that segment of the population that could afford to use it on a regular basis.

Still, interesting how the tradition was maintained down through the centuries, apparently.

Canyon de Chelly

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 11:00 am

Long article worth reading.

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