A hundred and one (roughly) moving pieces

Out of Ice and Time

There are a lot of things that go into a successful project.  We’ve been inventorying field gear and project supplies, getting emergency contact forms filled out, finalizing safety protocols and on and on.  Kaare Erickson is up from Anchorage for a week or so to help get the gear organized for the Walakpa season, plus another project we’re doing right after that.  He’s heading back down next weekend and will do some serious shopping (& screen building) before he comes back up for the field season.

Today we decided to try to get down to Walakpa to see how the site was.  Some folks have made it down (including someone in a truck, supposedly.  Sean Gunnells, who worked at Walakpa in 2013 came along, and we headed down on ATVs.  Alas, yesterday’s snow was not helpful, and the Honda kept bogging down, since it had less ground clearance than the Polarises…

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Walking with the Ancestors Part 4-A

The Thought Forge

In the last chapter of this series I discussed some of the finds around in the Altai Mountains in modern day Siberia, dated between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago. The oldest of these two finds was a neanderthal woman, who lived some 50 kya. The other find was a little girl, a Denisovan, who had lived sometime around 30 kya. Between the two of them, we see a continuity among my ancestors, who were in the area for at least twenty thousand years. As I pointed out in the comments of Chapter 3C, there was also the remains of a dog found in a nearby cave.

For this chapter I want to continue our journey, but before I do I think it is important to recap a little bit about how the world looked around 50 kya. First off, as was evident from the last chapter in this series, our

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Fieldwork: Numero Dos

Hall or Nothing

It’s round 2.

I am finally all set up for my second bout of fieldwork as part of my degree! This time round we’re hitting up Monte Bernorio near Santander in Spain.


The site is home to an Iron Age oppidum and was an epicentre to the Cabtabri people until their defeat by the Roman Army under Emperor Augustus’ rule. As a likely result of this defeat, down the hill (literally) from the Monte Bernorio fort is a Roman military camp. With so many different past cultures present at the site, it is bound to be a both educational and exciting dig!

Like many excavations abroad, it’s an expensive trip (don’t worry, cheaper and free digs can be found closer to home here in the UK) but it will definitely be worth it. As well as excavating these rich past cultures, we’ll also be immersed in the modern local Spanish…

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Archaeology Unearthed: Top of the World – Zhokhov, a Mesolithic Site in Polar Siberia by Professor Bruce Bradley

Dorset County Museum

SiberiaOn Friday 4th March at the Dorset County Museum, Professor of Prehistory, Bruce Bradley, University of Exeter talks about the month he spent excavating on the island of Zhokov, several miles north of Siberia and well inside the Arctic Circle, investigating a unique frozen Mesolithic site.

The site had been discovered by accident several years earlier by the military and was identified as Mesolithic when pieces of timber, which is not naturally present on the island, were radio-carbon dated to 8000 years old.

This talk is about the challenges of excavating in permafrost and the wide range of objects and flint/bone tools discovered.

The lecture will take place in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or…

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Miniature Clay Pot: An Ancient Toy

new jersey archaeology

By: Kayla Kraft

AE98089_11 Miniature vessel recovered from Abbott Farm excavations. The center scar is from a twig impression in the clay.  NJSM # AE98089.

This vessel is from Abbott Farm, a significant archaeological site near Trenton, New Jersey, which is part of the Abbott Farm National Historical Landmark. Dorothy Cross, and her team of excavators, discovered it on Tuesday, January 17, 1939. It is dated to be from the Abbott Phase of the Middle Woodland Period (300 CE – 600 CE). The pot was made using the pinch-pot method, which is done by forming a ball of clay, pressing inward with your thumbs and pinching the walls to create a bowl or cup-like vessel. This is evident from the fingerprint / fingernail markings and the smooth exterior. It has no decoration and no slip (meaning there is no paint covering). By looking under a microscope, it was determined…

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Is Modern Civilization too complex for the Human Brain? (VIDEO)

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

Is Modern Civilization too complex for the Human Brain?

Yes, says psychiatrist Peter Whybrow in a C-SPAN discussion of his provocative book titled The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience & the Life Well Lived. Whybrow asserts that human brains are not wired for modern society in which long-term thinking is crucial for survival. His examination of this existential incongruity explores the physiology and biologic evolution of human cognition which progress much slower than does human culture (i.e. technology). He cites that, in his lifetime, population has doubled while economic output has increased eightfold; yet, humankind’s myriad destructive scourges persist. Lifestyles based on excessive consumption have triggered gross inequalities, conflict, and health crises such as obesity.

Whybrow posits that because the advent of modern civilization is so recent (agrarian societies began about 10,000 years ago, but Homo sapiens are 200,000-300,000 years old), our hunter-gatherer brains have lagged behind…

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