(no subject)

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:21 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] dsgood and [personal profile] elekdragon!

What Are You Reading Wednesday

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:20 am
highlyeccentric: Book on a shelf, entitled "Oh God: What the Fuck (and other stories)" (Oh god what the fuck (and other tails))
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading:
Fiction: Yelena Moscovitch, Virtuoso, which has taken another turn for the Weird. It's *good*, but every time I get engrossed in a plot arc there's a massive switch, and currently I think there's two contradictory plots going on?
Lit Mag: Lifted Brow 'Blak Brow' edition, although I haven't picked it up for a while
Academic: Nothing
Other non-fiction: A. Revathi, The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story. It's proving to be a really ... readable read? The prose style is clear and accessible, like you're sitting down to take tea with Revathi. Although she's describing some pretty brutal stuff, there's a sense of warmth and hope suffusing the narrative.

Recently Finished:

My hard-copy finished reads this week were both academic: finally finished 'Contemporary Chaucer Across Centuries', and today read key articles out of the first issue of Emotions: History, Culture, Society. Have yet to annotate either.

Online fiction:
  • Aurelie Sheehan (Guernica Mag), The Suit. A bit of a Weird Fiction short piece, from her forthcoming collection.
    I wore a particular ’50s-style suit for almost a year when I was in graduate school. I realized what was going on one afternoon when I was standing in the English Department’s mailroom. I was a graduate assistant at the time. A man who had the name of another man was in the room with me, getting his mail. Soon he would die.

  • I also started listening to Under Pressure, one of Starship Iris' sister podcasts. I believe the series summary will suffice to explain why I, in particular, am delighted with its premise:
    In the wake of personal tragedy, Dr Jamie MacMillan-Barrie forgoes a future in academia is favor of an uncertain future in the form of an humanities residency aboard the Amphitrite, a deep-sea stationary research facility. On the Amphitrite, Dr MacMillan-Barrie tries to come to terms with her circumstance while facing her antipathetic hard-sciences colleagues, an unending series of minor crises both the personal and professional realm, and an increasingly hostile ocean above.


Up Next: I need to annotate the two academic reads I've finished, and then hopefully read the several more back issues of E:HCS I have on my shelf.




Music Notes:

The way you can tell I'm not actually a lesbian is I never got into Tegan and Sara. But I did recently find their cover of Dancing In The Dark:



I found it while I was looking for *this* cover,



Someone named Trevor Horn has done a whole album of these covers of 80s classics, and I'm in love with them.

I have also, late to the party, discovered Despacito, and Louis Fonsi in general.
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Posted by Nicola Griffith

In 2017 Charlotte Hedenstierna‐Jonson, Anna Kjellström, Torun Zachrisson et al wrote “A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics” for the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Now the authors have written a thoughtful followup piece, Viking warrior women? Reassessing Birka chamber grave Bj.581, for Antiquity:

Abstract

The warrior woman has long been part of the Viking image, with a pedigree that extends from the Valkyries of Old Norse prose and poetry to modern media entertainment. Until recently, however, actual Viking Age evidence for such individuals has been sparse. This article addresses research showing that the individual buried at Birka in an ‘archetypal’ high-status warrior grave—always assumed to be male since its excavation in 1878—is, in fact, biologically female. Publication, in 2017, of the genomic data led to unprecedented public debate about this individual. Here, the authors address in detail the interpretation of the burial, discussing source-critical issues and parallels.

I agree with their conclusion:

In our opinion, Bj.581 was the grave of a woman who lived as a professional warrior and was buried in a martial environment as an individual of rank (Figure 8).* In our 2017 article—as its title indicates—we strongly followed the same military reading as has been proposed for Bj.581 by a long series of archaeological authorities, and for the same sensible reasons that are far from arbitrary. In doing so, we find no problem in adjusting for the new sex determination. To those who do take issue, however, we suggest that it is not supportable to react only now, when the individual has been shown to be female, without explaining why neither the warrior interpretations nor any supposed source-critical factors were a problem when the person in Bj.581 was believed to be male.

That’s a much nicer way of saying, as I did in autumn 2017:

 …either we say: It was a woman warrior, or we say: We should go back and delete all attributions to warrior status based on grave goods. Because we either follow one standard/set of assumptions or we discard them.

As always, I look forward to future developments about the past.


*You should go look at that illustration, it’s wonderful!

[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Scientists know the Stonehenge early phase standing stones (the so-called bluestones rather than the later more famous and much larger sarsen stones) come from this and other Pembrokeshire prehistoric quarries – because of chemical identification tests they have carried out on the rocks.
So far, only two quarries have been identified – both on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales - but geologists, who have studied the Stonehenge bluestones, think it is likely there were at least three or four other quarries that have yet to be found.
The discovery of the tools is likely to rekindle one of archaeology’s biggest debates – how did the builders of Stonehenge transport the bluestones (an estimated 79 of them, each weighing approximately 2 tonnes) from southwest Wales to Salisbury Plain.
Read the rest of this article...

And about time, some of us say...

Feb. 19th, 2019 03:08 pm
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

Apparently solo dining is becoming A Thing? (scroll down, it's the last thing)

In New York, there’s a rising trend for eating alone and some restaurants have amended their menus and tables to cater for this. The restaurant booking site OpenTable has also reported a rise in solo dining.
That thing that that is that I have been doing, lo, these many years. And I am sure I am by no means the only one, because I still remember with great affection the great Katharine Whitehorn's suggestion of a restaurant, or maybe an entire chain, set up entirely for solo diners, with reading lights and bookstands on the tables. Sign me up with a loyalty card! (and I am so not a loyalty card person.)

Perhaps I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope who has had one or two too many group meals which have involved going, finally, to some place that is nobody's first choice but will fit everybody in and accommodate everybody's dietary requirements/a person turning up late and keeping everyone else from ordering/that person who either takes for ever deciding what to order or is too busy chatting to address the matter/person who takes an inordinate time longer than everybody else to finish a course/ - yes, I am a grumpy ol' misanthrope.

Also, I have my book/e-reader/phone/laptop for company: I do not want a giant teddy-bear vis-a-vis. I should not have to come over all Greta Garbo 'Vant to be alone' at a teddy-bear. At least, one may hope, the bear will not attempt to engage one in lively conversation ('What are you reading/is that a good book?').

(no subject)

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:22 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lilliburlero!
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Gjellestad, Norway: The site of the discovery
ERICH NAU, NIKU


Almost one thousand years after the end of the Viking Age, Norwegian archaeologists have made a sensational find near Halden in the south-east of Norway. The burial mound and adjacent field harbour several longhouses and at least one ship burial.

Digital data visualizations reveal the well-defined 20-meter-long ship-shaped structure, with indications that the lower part is well preserved. Incredibly, the ship lies just below the topsoil, with just 50cm separating it from the fresh air.

The discovery was made quite by accident when a local farmer wanted to dig ditches to solve an ongoing drainage problem in a boggy field. In previous years trenches in the area had turned up items of interest, so archaeologists from Østfold county decided to try a non-intrusive method of analysis before giving the work the go-ahead.

Read the rest of this article...
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Aerial view of the Greenland ice sheet from a helicopter.
Credit G. Everett Lasher / Northwestern

Greenland was balmy when the Vikings invaded, a new study based on isotopes in flies has proven, and they left as the glaciers bore down

Vikings evoke many associations, none of which involve relaxing on the seaside and smelling flowers on a balmy evening. The Scandinavian warriors are more usually perceived as being roughnecks in horned helmets who laughed off subzero temperatures. And maybe they did, but a new study by Northwestern University, published this week in Geology, has proven the theory that when the Vikings braved the violent northern seas and conquered Greenland from auks in the 10th century, the island’s climate was less merciless and more Mediterranean.

Also, the Vikings suddenly disappeared from Greenland in the middle of the 15th century, just as the warm snap was ending and the glaciers were sweeping down. A combination of factors seems to have crushed the formerly prosperous settlement, but cold seems to have been key. They could either go native and become horn-helmeted Inuits, or leave. They left.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Conservator Luisa Duarte working on the 12th-century toilet seat. 
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Archaeologists know the names of the owners of the building where plank of oak sat
A rare 12th-century toilet seat built to accommodate three users at once is to go on display for the first time at the Museum of London Docklands.

Nine hundred years after the roughly carved plank of oak was first placed over a cesspit near a tributary of the Thames, it will form the centrepiece of an exhibition about the capital’s “secret” rivers.

The strikingly well preserved seat, still showing the axe marks where its three rough holes were cut, once sat behind a mixed commercial and residential tenement building on what is now Ludgate Hill, near St Paul’s Cathedral, on land that in the mid-1100s would have been a small island in the river Fleet.

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Stunning Narcissus fresco at Pompeii

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:43 am
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


(ANSA) - Rome, February 14 - A stunning fresco depicting Narcissus gazing at his own reflection has been uncovered during new excavations at Pompeii, the interim director of the archaeological site, Alfonsina Russo, announced on Thursday.

    Pompeii Superintendent Massimo Osanna said the myth of Narcissus was a "very commonly found artistic topos in the ancient city".


    He said "the whole ambience is pervaded by the theme of 'joie de vivre', beauty and vanity, underscored also by the figures of maenads and satyrs who, in a sort of Dionysian courtship dance, accompanied the visitors inside the public part of the ancient house.


    "It is a deliberately luxurious, and probably dating back to the last years of the colony, as is testified by the extraordinary state of conservation of the colours".


Read the rest of this article...
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


A footprint which could belong to one of the last Neanderthals to walk the Earth has been found in Gibraltar.
Although most Neanderthals died out by around 40,000 years ago, some did survive at the edge of the Iberian peninsular, where stone tools prove they were still alive around 28,000 years ago.
Now researchers at The Gibraltar National Museum, who have spent the last decade studying ancient paths in the sand dunes above Catalan Bay, believe they have discovered the footprint of a teenage Neanderthal who lived around 29,000 years ago.
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The remains of the largest Neolithic hall found in Britain, which was were discovered in Carnoustie, Angus. 
PIC: GUARD Archaeology.

The largest Neolithic house in Britain was built in Scotland around 6,000 years ago, archaeologists have confirmed

Two halls which were used as houses and likely home to large numbers of people have been discovered in Carnoustie, Angus.

The site is far larger and older than previously thought with archaeological work shedding new light on some of Scotland’s earliest communities.

Analysis shows food was processed and consumed in the halls with pottery made and used there.

It is possible that animals were also kept in part of the building.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Modern Icelandic horses are likely descended from the horses that Vikings were buried with, 
more than 1,000 years ago.
Credit: Albína Hulda Pálsdóttir

Vikings who settled in Iceland more than 1,000 years ago valued their horses so much that the men were buried with their trusty steeds. And DNA analysis of these treasured animals recently proved that the horses consigned to the grave with their manly owners were males, too.
For decades, archaeologists have studied the contents of hundreds of Viking graves in Iceland. Many of these graves also contained the remains of horses that appeared to have been healthy adults when they died.
Because the horses seemed well cared for in life — before they were killed and buried, that is — they were considered to be important to the men whose remains lay nearby. Recently, scientists conducted the first ancient DNA analysis of bones from 19 horses in Viking graves, and found that nearly all of the animals were male, a tantalizing clue about vanished Viking culture
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The team found a number of decapitated Roman burials
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

Archaeologists excavating a Roman burial ground said the discovery of a series of decapitated bodies was a "rare find".

A dig has been taking place on a site in Great Whelnetham, Suffolk, ahead of a planned housing development.

Of the 52 skeletons found, about 40% had their skulls detached from their bodies, many placed by their legs.

Archaeologist Andrew Peachey said it gave a "fascinating insight" into Roman burial practice.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

he urns contained cremated human bone and had been placed into small pits 
[Credit: New Forest National Park Authority via BBC]

Archaeologists and volunteers have found an important prehistoric burial site near Beaulieu dating back thousands of years.
A community dig in a field at East End set out to investigate what they thought was a Bronze Age barrow which had been ploughed over and they were thrilled to find four cremation burial urns dating from that period around 3,000 years ago.

But as the excavation progressed further, the evidence began suggesting that the site might have been an important place for even older human activity which Bronze Age settlers then adapted.

New Forest National Park Authority Community Archaeologist James Brown said: ‘We were elated to find the urns – they were inverted in what we originally thought was the ditch around the barrow and one has a decorative band pattern on it that will help us to date them. These urns were domestic pots and contain cremated human bone placed into small pits. So we know this site was a place of memorial for people in the New Forest around 3,000 years ago.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


The "witches' marks" are scribed into walls and ceilings of the caves, 
over dark holes and large crevices 
[Credit: © Creswell Heritage Trust]

They were discovered at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, and are believed to be the biggest concentration of protective marks found in British caves.

The "apotropaic" marks were scribed into the cave surface as they were thought to keep evil spirits coming from the underworld.

Originally thought to be graffiti, they have now been reclassified.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

his terret ring would have guided the chariot reins
Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner.
Mike Smith made the discovery in February 2018 on farmland in the south of the county.
The court at Milford Haven heard on Thursday the finds were part of the ritual burial of an entire chariot and that the site is now legally protected.
Mr Smith says the 2,000-year-old finds could be worth a "life-changing" six to seven figure sum.
The nine artefacts are now Crown property and a independent valuation committee will decide on the payment to Mr Smith.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

This sheela-na-gig at Oaksey in Wiltshire boasts "pendulous breasts" and a vulva
"extended almost to her ankles"
For hundreds of years carvings of naked women have sat provocatively on churches across Britain. But who created them - and why?
Look at these, my child-bearing hips
Look at these, my ruby red ruby lips...
Sheela-na-gig, Sheela-na-gig
You exhibitionist
The year is 1992 and the singer-songwriter PJ Harvey is performing Sheela-Na-Gig, the most successful single from her critically acclaimed album Dry.
But unless you're a fan of late 20th Century indie music, or an expert in Norman church architecture, there's every chance you've not been exposed to the sheela-na-gig - or have sauntered past one without even realising it.
Hidden in plain sight, these sculptures of squatting women pulling back the lips of their vaginas have for nearly a millennium aroused feelings of intrigue, shame and even anger.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


À Harfleur (Normandie), les équipes de l’Inrap ont mis au jour des éléments de fortification remarquables, dont une tour creuse et un ouvrage défensif avancé (casemate), ainsi que des vestiges d’habitation des XIIIe et XIVe siècles. Ces découvertes viennent enrichir l’histoire de ce port stratégique de l’estuaire de la Seine, supplanté seulement au début du XVIe siècle par le Havre.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Dynamische Interaktionszone am Nordrand des Kaukasus
Ein internationales Forschungsteam koordiniert von der Eurasien-Abteilung des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (DAI) in Berlin und dem Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena (MPI-SHH) konnte erstmals systematische paläogenetische Untersuchungen im Kaukasus durchführen. Die kürzlich erschienene Studie fußt auf den Analysen genomweiter Daten von 45 Individuen aus der Steppen- und der Gebirgszone des Nordkaukasus. Die zwischen 6500 und 3500 Jahre alten Skelette zeigen, dass die genetische Signatur in den nördlichen Bergflanken den Gruppen südlich des Kaukasus ähnelt und dort eine scharfe genetische Grenze zu den Steppengebieten im Norden verläuft. 

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