Tag Archives: Four Stone Hearth

Happy midsummer

Tonight we Swede’s celebrate Midsummer’s eve with good food, good wine, lots of beer and aqua vitae/schnaps and some dancing around the midsummer pole.

If you by chance don’t like to dance check out Four stone hearth number 120 at Sorting out Science they’ve been nice enough to include two post from Testimony of the spade – many thanks – and there will be more posts on Öland the ancient monuments, not just rune stones.

Have a happy midsummer!

Magnus Reuterdahl

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? Anthropolgy.net 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.

Anthropolgy.net 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

It is a bit sparse with the posts at the moment

That this is so depends on the archaeological winter excavation I participate in the moment. Somehow the cold sucks out all the strength from ones bones and the soul is left like an empty and tired shell that can not manage to produce enough ideas for posts. Well it’s just one and half weeks left – then a period of unemployment, and hopefully some rest for tired muscles and joints, or in any case indoor jobs and warmth.

Testimony hosts the Four Stone Hearth on December the 22, before that ed # 107 is up at Archive fire from today and # 108 will be up at This is Serious Monkey Business december the 14th.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Four Stone Hearth # 96 the Oscar Montelius edition

Cylindric flint core

Welcome to the 96th ed. of the Four Stone Hearth blog carnival!

I like to have something that goes through the carnival as a red thread, something that connects the dots – and as the first posts are artefact related, then artefacts it is. These illustrations are of artefacts found in Sweden published in Oscar Montelius (1843-1921) book Sveriges forntid. Försök till framställning af den Svenska fornforskningens resultat. Atlas (Sweden’s ancient history. An attempt to an account of the research of Sweden’s ancient history. Atlas.) illustrated by C.F. Lindberg and published in 1872.

Oscar Montelius, Swedish stamp 1943

Oscar Montelius was an important person in the early Swedish and Scandinavian archaeology.  His scientific output includes over 400 works. He is possibly best known for developing a relative chronological dating method, known as Swedish seriation. By setting up development series for main artifact types, i.e. axes, scrapes etc., and examine how these items were combined in closed finds he could create a relative chronology. Artifacts in a feature underneath another feature is older than those found in the upper one etc. He then was able to allocate artifacts into different time periods; Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age etc. His works still is relevant, at least regarding finds from the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, and if nothing else these are beautiful pictures.

oval broach bronze

Let’s start this carnival with three posts on things, objects and gadgets by Gordon Kingston from The Heritage Journal. He writes on metal detecting vs. archaeology in Ireland and Britain. I guess most archaeologist see metal detecting as an important tool whilst excavating or in some cases surveying, in these posts the issue concerns non-archaeologist metal detecting groups and individuals. Some are for it and some against it, some got good motives others are driven by pure greed. I believe these three articles provides a good basis for reflection and discussion in a much larger area than just Britain and Irland. A 4th and final post in this series is on its way. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

arrow head, flint

Dig girl writes about looting in general and in Iraq in particular. She writes Not a week goes by when I don’t run in to someone who would love to “own a piece of history” and display it in their den for friends and family to see.

Today’s garbage tomorrows artifacts, Middle Savagery, pounders on why people litter and of course  started doing a little bit of research realizing that while we research trash exclusively as archaeologists, there isn’t a whole lot about modern attitudes toward trash beyond William Rathje’s Garbology.

fish hook of bone

Martin Rundqvist at Aardvarcaheology calls me a gloating, grave loving, corpse lusting necrophiliac. Well it’s not as bad as its sounds – he calls all archaeologist and especially osteologist this in a more or less humoristic post that really concerning us all. Are we as so many before us becoming zombies in our respectively work places?

As I’m grave lusting and like ghouls I just couldn’t keep Sandbian’s post the ghostly hills of Scania on Bronze Age mounds in the south of Sweden out of the carnival, could I?

Another zombiesq post, The Antiquarian’s Attic report on a ship risen from the grave; the SS ROBIN, the world’s last remaining steam coaster, which is now on its way back to London to become a floating museum in Docklands, after a two-year re-fit in Suffolk.

Leaving the ghoulishness behind Archaeolog reports that about the exhibition Unearthed at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, University of East Anglia, Norwich. The exhibit featuring prehistoric figurines from Japan, Romania, Macedonia, Albania, and the UK. It opens on Tuesday 22 June and runs through the summer. The ideas expressed via the exhibition are done so in order to move beyond text and thereby create new opportunities for thought and consideration. Prehistoric clay figurines from Jōmon from the Japanese archipelago (c.16,000-2,000 years ago) and the Eneolithic from the Balkans (c.8,500-4,500 years ago) are for the first time brought togetherand being displayed alongside contemporary artworks. For me this is interesting as it comes somewhat close to what MAP (Museo Arti Primarie aka. the Museum of Primary Arts) is currently working on; an exhibit on neolithic painted pottery from different parts of the world, among them the Yangshao traditions in China and the Naqada culture in Egypt, in a project called Neolitico Futuro 2, where the Yangshao project (a project I and a colleague runs) are involved.

From the dead, the departed and the unearthed to the living, we move from the past to the present: Barbara Arisi of Material world writes about the Matis Indians, their cultural heritage and the development of their world since they established contact with the Brazilian government in 1978, before that, they had had just sporadic relations with outsiders, mainly rubber tappers and other Indians.

Moving on to Puerto Rico, as the blog Time Travelling really doesn’t move all that much in time but stays contempary – showing us some pictures of graffiti on the walls and buildings of Rio Piedras, the university district of Puerto Rico.

From Somatosphere Stephanie Lloyd reports on two conferences; the biennial meeting of the Society for Cultural Anthropology and the annual meeting of the Association Francophone Pour le Savoir. Besides reporting on the lectures, this post has a substory about a gruesome murder of which no one appears to be bothered with, except the author: “THWAP!!” followed by “Bang! Bang! Bang!” …  …where culture obliterate nature and no one appeared bothered by it.

Sometime some science really blows me away (literally), A Hot Cup of Joe, shares a piece that on the one hand is a great spectacle but on the other hand is scientific insanity (I had to use the external link!)

bronze bull roman import

From one unnatural explosion to a natural one – Greg Laden writes about the 79 AD Vesuvius eruption over Pompeii – and thus returning to the Rundkvistian zombie ghoulish theme – the people at Pompeii, who’s remains were found trapped and partly preserved within ghostly body-shaped tombs within that pyroclastic flow, how did they die? –  Did they suffocate? Did they die of gas poisoning? Dis they die of falling brimestone? – No!- Greg’s got the gruesome answer; they…

Ceramic vessal

From one kind of cooking to another, Eldrimner blogs about Viking Age and medieval food and in this post about grinding, do you know how many times you need to grind flour in a handquern before baking bread? Eldrimner have experimented on this.

To your bread you might want something to drink and at A Very Remote Period Indeed you’ll get a tip; Tut’s royal gold an unfiltered imperial Egyptian Ale.

More contemporary but never the less a foodish kind of cultural heritage – you ever lusted for that fast food menu that’s no longer available  or do you know what a McGangbang is? Cavalcade of awesome has the answer!

ornate bronzes

The ghoulishness set aside this edition came partly to be about artifacts, illustrated with Swedish prehistoric artifacts unearthed in the 19th century and opening with posts on metal detecting and looting – the two are linked but not synonymous with each other. Metal detection is a useful archaeological tool and regulated properly, it can also be a fun hobby, and thus a possible complementary source for archaeologists and museums. How to regulate metal detection is one question, another regards trade with ancient artifacts. I don’t have anything against recreational metal detecting if this is done in a controlled environment (for example in collaboration with museums, local historic associations etc), if the finds are properly recorded and taken care of by the museums etc. and it is done in environments that don’t threaten known historic or ancient remains (for example in fields or areas disturbed by development). When discussing this issue it is important to remember that this creates other problems such as financing the care and preservation of the finds, legislation and control, education/licensing etc.

Trade with ancient and historic artifacts and remains are something that I generally am against. However there might be exceptions – what do you do with mass materials that museums are not interested in, finds without contexts and artifacts already in old collections etc? The cultural heritage is a common heritage, and valuable to one and all, it should not be own man’s property but accessible to researchers and the general public for the common good.

Finds taken from a context without proper documentation or knowledge looses at least some of its potential scientific value. It also diminishes the scientific value of the given context.

arrow head, slate

By the way Heather Pringle at Beyond Stone & Bone Archive, Archaeology magazine’s weekly blog, have issued  a  Top Five Archaeological Bloggers – check it out!

Thanks for contributions and great posts!

I’m currently in Stockholm on vacation so I’ll go back to what I do when I got a few days off, visiting ancient monuments – here’s a post on what I did the other day!

The next carnival is set for July 21st  it currently has no host, if you interested contact Martin Rundkvist at Zenobia: Empress of the East.

Have a nice summer!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Four Stone Hearth #95

The Anthropology Blog Carnival Four Stone Hearths 95th edition is up and running at Afarensis. Number 96 will hosted here by yours truly on Wednesday July 7th if you want to join, write a post and send me the link or recommend something that you recently read to inventerare[delete this][at]hotmail[dot]com.

Magnus Reuterdahl

There’s a carnival in town

Now up and running at Ciarán Brewster of Ad Hominin is the 88th ed of the blog carnival Four Stone Hearth, check it out! I love the blog carnival format; you get presented with a lot of good and interesting reading, some on subjects that you might have found anyways and some on subjects and blogs that you never would have looked up otherwise. As always the topics tends to cover a lot of ground in this edition there are subjects covering brooches of Vendel Period in Scandinavia, Siberian languages, Ida the lemur, Coca Cola’s over-exploitation of water resources in India and lots more.

Another way of finding blogs on the subject of anthropology is sites that make different kinds of listings on blogs concerning anthropology, archaeology or such. Testimony of the spade is included on some such lists such as Online Degrees.net, who have posted a 100 best blogs for anthropology students (se number 60), radiologytechnicianschools.net who posted 50 best blogs for archaeology students and invesp blog ranks Top 25 Anthropology blogs, this is a collection of blogs listed based on their popularity via X number of factors. These sites and others is a good way to find a way to the anthropologic blogosphere and some great blogs on the subject.

Thanks for including me!

Magnus Reuterdahl

Four Stone Hearth # 86 Amazing stories edition

Welcome to the spade where we’ll dig deep into the anthropological part of the blogosphere and find some amazing posts. Besides archaeology I love the pulp fiction magazines so I’ll use some covers to illustrate this edition. Sit back, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the multitudes and amazingness of the following posts;

It’s no wonder that you feel the urge for a snack when you visit the movies or go to the theatre, now it’s proven that we’ve had this urge for hundreds of the years. But back then the rustling of candy rappers wasn’t what made the man in front of you go bananas but rather the cracking noise of oyster shells beeing opened.

At this amazing stories ed. all is not what it seems to be, visit Geobastard (you might know him from Terra Incognita and Antimonite R.I.P.) for an updated La Promenade.

Let us continue with some good honest field work, I’ve been in some odd situations but I would also wonder where in the hell I am if I was berated by a 50 year old woman… naked and wrapped in an American flag… Poorly wrapped.

As we’re on the subject of human anatomy an archaeologist for hire tells a hairy story, I especially love the poster; the Hierarchy of beards.

I would personally love to see the moustache (Flapwings) worn by the top left man on the Hierarchy of beards poster on Martin Rundqvists upper lip and cheeks. Then I believe that no one would dare to not give you a professor post – who could say no toa man in such a fine ornament. Btw Martin been studying tripartite name usage traditions and found a link between Denmark and China.

Continuing in the language department – Steven Till gives us the medieval history term of the week; [huhz-buhn-dree]

It’s said a picture says more than a thousand words – at Visualizing-Neolithic they more or less discarded the use of words and let the pictures tell the story.

I wish I could take photos like Deanna Dent – whilst she struggles on finding an answer to the question “How do you find Sudan? I think the answer might be in her photos.

Staying on the African continent and on the subject of pictures, Judith Weingarten studies dance and trance via rock-art.

From ancient Rock-art to a modern form of rock art, mosaics at a subway station of New York, and a little on the history by them (If you ever come to Stockholm I’m pleased to tell you that you’ll feel safe in the subway, all the underground stations are filled with art, web page in Swedish but translatable with the web tool of your choice  or you can choose to just look at the pictures; se under Konst i tunnelbanan; 1950-tal etc.).

From stills to moving pictures Seandálaíocht gives us info on online TV about the Hidden heritage in Northern Ireland.

Television moving into to web might be part of yesterdays technique in today’s media landscape, Johan Postill have a post on a digital media landscape in transformation.

Information sometimes takes crooked ways to finds its recipient; Jonathan Jarrett at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe found information of a conference in Bristol on bones found in Germany through an American blog The Heroic Age.

Another way to find and share information is through different networks, Lena Stridh at Ossamenta writes on the network Professional Zooarchaeology Group in Britain or you can find that network in a blog; Archaeolog is a collective weblog dealing in all things archaeological. It is open to the wider archaeological community and cognate fields from academics to field practitioners, from professors to students. The latest post is written by Christopher Witmore who wishes for a new archaeology, a pragmatology that might provide a surrogate umbrella under which archaeologists who are concerned with stakeholder associations, questions of heritage, contemporary archaeology, archaeological ethnography, and reflexive method might operate.

When on the note of artefacts and how we interpret them and their contexts, Johan Normark at Archaeological Haecceities discusses polyagents, time-shelters and causeways – Bachelard vs. Bergson and Deleuze.

From thoughts on artefacts to artefacts Declan Moore tells the tale of a lonely Bronze Age Halberd and its way from the ground to the virtual and to the National Museum.

Still on the subject of artefacts Perica Sardzovski at Arheoblog tells the tale of an artefact that has been creating turmoil; Adam of Macedonia, a clay figurine of a male torso, in a seated position excavated at the turn of the millennium, from the archaeological site of Govrlevo (Skopje, Macedonia), dated to ca 6000 BP.

Another type of “artefacts” can be described as “Y-hap T, along with L…” Does this ring a bell? If so, or if this caught your interest, Terry Toohill of anthropology.net got tale for you.

I started with an invitation to take a glass of wine and let you be drawn into the wonderful world of blogs. We are approaching the end of the attractions of this carnival and after a glass of wine it might be time to find a bite to eat, why not try it an in vogue diets such as Paleo diet, short for Paleolithic diet, a.k.a. caveman diet. Ciarán Brewster wonders if we are better adapted to the Palaeolithic than the Modern era and which aspects of the Palaeolithic the Paleo diet reference to.

Next Four Stone Hearth blog carnival will be hosted by Anthropology in Practice If you would like to submit content to the next issue of the carnival, please write to Ciarán Brewster or to Martin Rundkvist. You are encouraged to submit other bloggers’ work as well as your own and ff you would like to host the carnival, please write to Martin Rundkvist.

A big thanks to all of you who submitted material!

That’s all folks I hope it was as good for you as it was for me!

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Four Stone Hearth: Call for Submissions

Testimony of the Spade will host the Four Stone Hearth blog carnival on Wendsday, February 10th. If you would like to contribute any anthropology-themed posts that you’ve written or you’ve seen please send me a mail; inventerare[at delete_this]hotmail[dot]come.

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Give me some attention, lend me your ear

The anthro blog carnival Four Stone Hearth # 84 is now up and running at A Primate of Modern Aspect. I’ve been lazy when it comes to contributions of late but this time I managed to write something, btw I’ll host come ed # 85 on Feb. 10th. Now I suggest that you hurry up and take part of this great ed. with contributions on subjects such as the 4SH goes ape. Here are several posts on primates; geladas, chimps, baboons, spider monkeys and gorillas from apes we go hominoid; Neanderthals, homo erectus onwards towards more recent times. Lots and lots to read about.

If you want to contribute to the next 4SH by either writing or proposing something you’ve just read contact Julien Riel-Salvatore at A very remote period indeed who’ll host 4SH # 85.

Best wishes

Magnus Reuterdahl

Back at the office

The Christmas vacation is over and done with and I’m back at the office in Östersund. During the Holidays I’ve (finally) managed to set some time off to finish To wake the dead – a renaissance merchant and the birth of archaeology by Marina Belozerskaya (2009). Now I’ll just have to sit down and make sense of the notes I’ve made. Hopefully I’ve got something for you til’ tonight or tomorrow at latest as I would like to submit it to the Four Stone Hearth blog carnival # 84 at A primate of modern Aspect which is due tomorrow.

Magnus Reuterdahl

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