Tag Archives: Science

A view into the future

In November I’ll head for Turkey and the upcoming European wine bloggers conference (EWBC). Besides archaeology wine is my other other mistress – and sometimes the two twine together so it shall be in November.

The theme for the EWBC 2012, that will be held in Izmir, is source. Now source can be interpret in different ways but of those are source as in the source of wine and winemaking. If today’s Turkey is the original source of domestic vine cultivation and possibly winemaking is of less importance than the fact that it’s one of the first places where wine making was done. For this purpose I’m really looking forward to hearing one of this years speakers Dr. Patrick E. McGovern, the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. The laboratory discovered the earliest chemically attested alcoholic beverage in the world (ca. 7000 B.C. from China), the earliest grape wine (ca. 5400 B.C.) and barley beer (ca. 3500 B.C.) from the Middle East etc etc.

But it won’t stop there during the conference I’ll also visit the ancient city of Ephesus, the House of Virgin Mary and the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. In Ephesus several excavations from the late has Roman period been made over the last decades.

But I’m not pleased with only visiting one country with traces of very early wine making – after Turkey I’ll continue on to Georgia. We’re will be able to taste the food, see the country and drink Qvevri wine. Qvevri wine or Amphora wine making is a tradition that has been preserved over thousands of years producing wines of unique character and style sometimes called orange wines. So besides the archaeology of wine and winemaking along side the great sites I’ll also get the chance that in some small way taste the taste of Wines Past.

Don’t you wish you were an archeological-wine-nerd like me?

And of course we’ll taste a lot of modern wines from Turkey as well as Georgia as well… but more about that on another blog 🙂 and later on!

Magnus Reuterdahl


Drawin frozen in time?

This is a memorial post on Darwin; He would have been 200 years old if evolution allowed it, as it didn’t this post is in remembrance of him as a scientist and person. The theory of evolution was perhaps not a work of a single mind but it was presented by one man who had the guts to stand up for his beliefs though ridiculed by some of his pears. Ridiculous as it sounds he still is by some!

Caricature of Charles Darwins theory of evolution, 18th cent.
Caricature of Charles Darwins theory of evolution, 18th cent.

I’ve never understood the fear of being related to apes or other animals, I rather look at it as George Eliot (1819-1880); “If Darwin’s theory should be true, it will not degrade man; it will simply raise the whole animal world into dignity, leaving man as far in advance as he is at present” . This said I don’t doubt Darwin’s theory, though it can be and has been evolving since it was first told/printed.

darwin_1st_ed

In spirit of this, this post is more about theories and ideas in general than on Darwin per se. A theory flourish, evolve and is criticized and this is the very soul of a theory, it thrives as long as it’s being questioned, used and tested. Thereafter it becomes a footnote or a parenthesis in science history. This led me to think of a few articles I’ve read the last few months on UNESCO’s decision that traditions and customs are to be classified as world heritages. The aim is to find representative traditions and customs that we want to protect and preserve.

What would happen if theories and ideas were to become classified as world heritages? It isn’t all that farfetched; the idea of making an immaterial or intangible world heritage isn’t new. A few years back the idea of making Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) into a world heritage was set in play, or rather the heritage of Linnaeus. Besides protecting and preserving buildings, parks etc the aim is also the environment where one can find traces of Linnaeus’ research. It might include plants and animals that are still present in the countryside, in gardens and in places where Linnaeus’ disciples made their collections. In other words a world heritage concerning Science and Technology.

Linneaus Rashult
Linneaus Rashult

What would happen if this is applied on ideas or theories? To protect and preserve!

Would an idea or a theory suddenly be untouchable/unchangeable if it became a world heritage? Would it be submitted to committees regarding what or how the theory should be interpret or used?

I don’t much like the idea of making traditions and customs into world heritages. It is the protect and preserve part I am questioning; I feel this is the something that rather belongs in an ethnographic/anthropological museum.

For example;

In Sweden there is talk about making the process of fermented herring a world heritage; I ask how? There are more than one way to produce this, such as diffrent local customs. Who will decide what the proper way? There is a risk of freezing the tradition or stopping it from evolving and in so making it stagnate and in the end perish. Evan worse if say a tradition as Midsummer’s eve would become a world heritage. The customs are changing, the people celebrating it are changing and probably the reason for celebrating is changing over time?  If this became a world heritage what would to protect and preserve mean?

I see traditions and customs as evolutionary phenomenons. It is the task of museums, journalists, authors and researchers to record how, why and when we do things so that the knowledge isn’t lost. I don’t see any gain in petrify these with the risk of making them stagnate or become obsolete and foreign to those living with them. If they do not change with time and with the users they will wither and fade. I belive that this is as true concerning ideas and theories as well, they need to be used and misused, to go where no man (or ape) has gone before.

Happy Birthday Mr Darwin, where ever you are, and may your memory be used, misused and evolving.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Congratulation winners of SAU’s science award 2008

I would like to congratulate Sven Isaksson, archaeologist at the Archaeological research laboratory (AFL) Stockholm University, to SAU science award 2008 (In Swedish). Sven Isaksson is a bimolecular archaeologist who specialising in organic residues, for example lipid analysis on prehistoric ceramics. Sven is great teacher, scientist and fore most someone I call friend and it is always good see that good things comes to those who are good.

He wasn’t the only winner he shared the price with Uppsala scientist Anne Ingvarsson-Sundström, I don’t know her personally, though I believe I’ve met her on occasion, but I’ve read some articles and know of her as she do osteology (as well as archaeology). Congratulation it is good to see that bones are appreciated.

SAU or Societas Archaeologica Upsaliensis (in Swedish) is Uppsala based foundation that does contract as well as research based archaeology.

Read more about Sven and his work in this presentation/article (in English).

Bw

Magnus Reuterdahl

 


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