March 31, 2012

RIP, Marv.

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 6:59 pm

Sad news, though none of you will have ever heard of him: Marv Yanke, 1931-2012. No, this doesn’t have anything directly to do with archaeology. He was a friend of the family, mostly of my parents. Apparently, they’d played pinochle with my folks back in the ’70s so I’m certain I met he and his wife as a kid, but I have no memory of them. I did, however, see them again in the 1980s, probably in 1985-6 when I first moved out here for grad school. Marv was park ranger at Fort Flagler State Park (photo below) and I called him up and went out there a couple of times on the weekend to play around. It was winter so hardly anyone was there and he let me stay in one of the group cabins and mostly have the run of the place. That was very nice of him, and at the time I really needed it. I rode around with him on his rounds once, too, which was interesting. Apparently some lady pulled a knife on him once (she was nuts). I remember I’d go to the ranger house for dinner and we’d watch TV and visit in the evenings.

Sadly, I kind of lost touch after starting grad school and didn’t go back out until probably 2000 or so and stopped in to see if he was still around, but by then they’d moved back to Georgia where I think his wife was from. The people at the Fort said they’d stayed around after he retired for a bit, but one of the winters — a cold, long, wet La Nina one like we’re having this year — chased them out. So I never saw or heard from him again.

Very, very decent guy, from what little I knew of him. He was good to me when I first moved out here not knowing anyone and I really appreciated that. Requiescat in Pace, Marv, and thank you.

March 30, 2012

Yamaha update

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 7:26 pm

The receiver, that is. Been a long road so far. I’ve pretty much gotten it restored, with one problem remaining: the volume/balance knobs are still causing some cutting out of one or the other channel. I’m pretty certain it’s just an oxidation problem, as I’ve used Deoxit on it 3-4 times and it’s gotten better. Now it’s kind of intermittent, but today it’s been mostly playing without any problem. Seems less of a problem at higher volumes. Will probably keep it around for a while and see if just using it more will clear it up.

Today I put on my old LP of Boston’s first album and kinda just cranked it up while I swept the floors and it was so.much.fun. I have it hooked up to some old KLH speakers which aren’t the greatest so I haven’t been using them much. But. . . .I started listening and realized that they probably weren’t and worse than the old Matrecs speakers I had with my first stereo system and I loved those (they probably sucked, but they were my first, soooooo…..). So, eh, I decided they were okay to listen to. Right now I’ve got Blue Oyster Cult on (Agents of Fortune) and am similarly loving it.

The man who discovered Egypt?

Filed under: Egypt, Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:18 pm

Yes: TV review: The Man Who Discovered Egypt; The Apprentice

The title must have been wilfully provocative. Even if you are one of the few to believe Egypt was uninhabited before Europeans stumbled across it, then it’s hard to counter the received wisdom that modern Egyptology began after Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and Jean-François Champollion’s subsequent decoding of hieroglyphics. So to find out the subject of The Man Who Discovered Egypt (BBC4) was Flinders Petrie, a Victorian Brit of whom I’d never heard and who only started digging around the Nile in the late 19th century, came as rather a shock.

I think Andie had something to do with this, leastways she was Facebooking on it. I’d no idea Petrie was that unknown outside of archaeological/Egyptological circles, though I suppose I shouldn’t have been. Except for Howard Carter, there probably aren’t many of us (besides Zahi anyway) that lay people would even hear about. But he does deserve to be better known. I’ve always been fascinated with his apparent non-connection to seriation via his Sequence Dating scheme. Apparently, those who developed the technique here in the States knew something of what Petrie was doing but it also apparently never influenced them. There are supposedly some differences between the two techniques as well. That’s one little topic I’ve always wanted to look into in some depth; some day.

Here’s a shinty little sport

Filed under: Historic — acagle @ 7:12 pm

Archaeologists dig new sport as shinty returns to Cornwall

A GROUP of archaeologists are digging deep to bring the sport of shinty back to Cornwall with the formation of a new club.

Almost a century since the Scottish Gaelic sport was at its most popular in the county, the game is ready to make a comeback.

The ‘Cornwall Shinty Club’ is the inspiration of Matt Mossop, an archaeologist who discovered the sport during his time at St Andrew’s University in Scotland.

Well, there you go. Shinty and Shinty.

Lyre Lyre update

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:08 pm

Story here with a reconstruction of the instrument.

Today’s topic: Circumcision

Filed under: Egypt, Public Health — acagle @ 6:55 pm

Wrote a bit on whether or not Egypt practiced circumcision. They did, but to an unknown extent. Seems like something that was done in royal circles at certain times, but it’s not really widely recorded. It also seems to have been something that was done in adulthood rather than in childhood as something of a rite of passage into manhood. It may, I suppose, work in to the Egyptian concept of personal cleanliness: the elites (especially priests) would shave all or most of their body hair, which would cut down on the hair-related parasites (like lice), and also were regular bathers. Hence, perhaps they had some idea that circumcision cut down on the infection rate for STDs (it reduces the risk of contracting HIV by something like 60%). But. . . .I dunno. Hard to tell if they could make a connection like that. And I’m not entirely certain that the potential improvement in reproductive fitness that might result would really have an impact. Still, interesting little topic. Seems to have been present in Archaic times, well before the rise of the Egyptian state.

Does anyone remember. . . .

Filed under: Car Lust, Modern artifacts — acagle @ 11:09 am

this?

Has to do with this.

March 29, 2012

Back to toilets

Filed under: Egypt, Public Health — acagle @ 7:32 pm

Did some following up on ye olde Egyptian bathroom issue, and from what I see there are only a few of the wealthier households that tend to have lavatories in their houses; the workmen’s villages (such as that at Kahun) show no evidence of any bathrooms or lavatory facilities in the structures. Hence, it appears that the vast majority of the population — at least up until Greco-Roman times? — probably just squatted down outside and did their business. What I wonder is if there were special locations around each village for such things, or did each little group have their own latrine area? I would imagine there would be certain areas, probably more than one, in each village or group of houses for that.

A guy named DM Dixon did several papers between the early 1970s and at least 1989 on Egyptian waste disposal, and in one from 1970 he makes reference to a book-length treatment that was “In preparation” but it appears that it was never actually completed. Wrote to my friend Andie a couple of years ago asking about him — they were both at U College London — but from what I recall he had recently passed away. Pity, I would have dearly loved to talk to him about this stuff.

Anyway, I’m pretty much done with the whole toilet business, at least as far as the current paper I’m working on is concerned, now I’m on to generalized trash disposal and thence to the placement of industrial areas.

Chick archaeologist who is not Lara Croft

Filed under: Humor, Media, Pop culture — acagle @ 7:24 pm

‘RiGBY the Barbarian’ Webcomic Casts a Wisecracking Archaeologist as the Chosen One

In Lee Leslie’s webcomic RiGBY the Barbarian, an archaeology student finds herself mystically transported to a land she’s fated to defend from an evil wizard, much to the shock of the people she’s supposed to save.

At the beginning of the comic, Rigby is still in the modern world, but she’s already quite frustrated men. She’s out on an archaeological dig, but her professor leaves all the Indiana Jones work to the boys, while she’s stuck doing all the paperwork. When she decides to do a little extra-curricular exploration, she stumbles across a very dead king and a very large sword. But as soon she touches the blade, she’s sent to an alternate universe, one where dead warriors walk and everyone rides around on dinosaurs.

I probably won’t be following it, but here it is.

Lyre, lyre

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:15 pm

Archaeologists uncover earliest stringed instrument on Skye

EXPERTS believe they have found the remains of the earliest stringed instrument ever found in Western Europe – dating to more than 2,300 years ago – at an excavation on the Island of Skye.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop today revealed the small wooden fragment that it is believed comes from a lyre. It has been burnt and broken, but the notches where strings would have been placed are easy to distinguish on the artefact.

Music archaeologists Dr Graeme Lawson and Dr John Purser studied the fragment which was discovered at High Pasture Cave.

Kinda wish they’d shown a picture of it rather than just the artist’s conception. . . .

UPDATE: Aha! Speak of the devil.

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