Four Stone Hearth #109; Last edition of 2010

O most fortunate reader, wash your hands and thus take hold of the book, turn the pages carefully, keep your hand far from the page! Those who don’t know how to write think it is easy. O how hard it is to write: your eyes are burdened, your kidneys break, and all of your limbs get discouraged. Three fingers do the writing, but your whole body works. Just as a sailor wishes to arrive at his home port, so does a scribe long for the last line.

This quote is translated by Jonathan Jarrett at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe from, if I understand it correctly, a copy of the Burgundian laws. The post continues on describing the ARTEM project.

With this we start the 109th edition of the Four Stone Hearth. As I guess all bloggers out there notice from time to time, is that it’s sometimes easier and sometimes harder to write or to find inspiration – although not quite as hard as for the scribe in the text above.

This years last excavation proved that on hands archaeology also can be quite ruff. For me this year’s archaeological field season ended on December 17th(a new record for me). The last few weeks I’ve been working on an excavation of a grave field in the outskirts of Stockholm dated to ca 1000-1100 AD. This excavation has been tough due to the weather. The temperature has alternated between a few degrees plus (Celsius) and 19 degrees (Celcius) below zero. Add lots of snow and some rain to this and all problems that can be linked to changing weather; such as mud, deep frost, lots of snow and the fact that the sun is not up long enough. This is solved by planning; in the morning and afternoon you’ll work with documentation etc. The mud, rain and cold is kept at bay with good clothing and warm barracks. Snow and frost are fought with a little help from electric carpets and padded pressings.

This edition might be a little incoherent but the posts are of the highest quality so just bring order to the chaos and find the gems that suits you.

We’ll start off with a few tips on Christmas presents from Elfshots. Who has a post on artifact reproductions made for Parks Canada based on artifacts from the High Arctic and why archaeologists catalogue artifacts and on why its important to distinguish reproductions from actual artifacts.

John Hawks reports on a paper by David Reich and colleagues regarding the second “whole genome” of an apparently extinct population of Pleistocene humans: the nuclear genome of the Denisova pinky bone.

A hot cup of Joe contemplates on why science has become a no-no for the AAA.

What makes good popular science writing? discuss this and presents three ground rules:

  1. Get your facts straight.
  2. Listen.  Present all sides, particularly of contentious issues.
  3. Tell a good story. wants to know what you think about popular science writing – so check in and share your thoughts!

Archaeology is a popular subject in movies, books and board games, though it seldom portrayed in a very realistic manner. Martin Rundqvist of Aardvarchaeology plays the board game Thebes and compares it to real life archaeology. You wanna bet it involves finding treausers?

On a smilar note is Seandalaiochts post Lego Archaeology kinda, that includes; youtube, lego & archaeology. While on youtube Steven Till recommends a medieval Christmas carol for all that like that old time feeling.

From popular to unpopular. Fear of the undead was and probably still is a reality and sometimes this can be read in the arcaheological records, e.g. in burials. There are several things you could do to protect yourself – such as burying special objects with the dead or placeing stones over thier heads and obviously in thier mouths. Here is a post on a find made in a mass grave of plague victims in Venice.

This is a present to you who forgot your Christmas reading at home, or need a good book tip. Time travelling presents Chapter 11 of Thomas McKenna book, Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). According to the blog this is an incisive read that takes you to the world of the ordinary Cotabato residents  and their reckoning with colonialism and internal politics.

Anthropology in practice pounders on what of yesterdays knowledge might have been lost over the centuries. In this case languages and especially a newly “found” previously unknown Peruvian language. You might think that lost languages are something of the past, well think a again. Globalization continues to absorb languages today, so much so that UNESCO has launched an initiative to help preserve languages in danger of extinction. An interesting post that discusses history as well as the present.

Johan Normark of Archaeological Haecceities discusses Sven Gronemeyer and Barbara MacLeod’s recent analysis of Monument 6 at Tortuguero and the actual content of the inscription:

It will be completed the thirteenth Baktun, it is 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in, and it will happen a ‘seeing’, it is the display of B’olon-Yokte’ , in a great ‘investiture’ .

Now as it stands here it could very well be part of the mad rantings from the Necronmicon, so it might very well be a danger to your mind if you continue to study it  – Johan has and he explains the inscription here.

Returning to the mysteries concerning Christmas as Zenobia: Empress of the east wonders if we’re facing a Magus bubble this Christmas? Who followed that yonder star, the three Magi (aka Three Wise Men, or Three Kings) or the twelve kings of the Orient? According to the manuscript dubbed the ‘Revelation of the Magi’ it was the latter – if you want to expand the Christmas experience Zenobia got the story for you!

That’s all folks – the end – or almost the end lets wrap this up with a little help of the ghost of Christmas yet to come:

On the other hand join Walking the Berkshires in drinking a cup of eggnog and feel the true Christmas spirit chasing the images of Santa Claws away while getting yet another few last minute Christmas present tips.

Many thanks to all who sent in proposals or wrote posts for this the last edition of 2010.

Finally congratulations are due to Neuroanthropology that has just broke through the 1,000,000 visits mark! To celebrate this, they present a bunch of oldies but goldies.

The next ed. of 4SH (number 110) is planned for January 5th and has currently no host. If you are interested to host please mail Afarensis!

The Fourth Stone Hearth is a blog carnival that specializes in anthropology in the widest (American) sense of that word. Here, anthropology is the study of humankind, throughout all times and places, focussing primarily on four lines of research:

  • archaeology
  • socio-cultural anthropology
  • bio-physical anthropology
  • linguistic anthropology

Each one of these subfields is a stone in our hearth.

Four Stone Hearth is published bi-weekly, Wednesdays in odd-number weeks. If you would like to host the carnival, please write to Afarensis.

If you would like to submit content to the next issue of the carnival, please write to the keeper of the blog in question or to Afarensis. You are encouraged to submit other bloggers’ work as well as your own.

Seasonal greetings from Testimony of spade and to all bloggers present and otherwise in progress keep up the good work!

Magnus Reuterdahl

About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

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