ossamenta: Weasel skull (Flygödlefossil)
I'm not very impressed with March so far. Especially when compared to the unusually warm March of 2012: A year ago I went to Canterbury and walked along the river eating ice cream. I certainly wouldn't do it now. Quite frankly I'm more in the mood for curling up on the sofa with a hot drink and a good book. Thankfully yesterday's snow is mostly gone now, but the temperature is hovering around 0°C, mostly on the wrong side.

 photo Canterburymarch-12_zps0632a870.jpg
Pretty, sunny Canterbury...

But I might at least pass on a few links and close the tabs:

- On my wish list: the unconventional paleoart book All yesterdays, rejecting the standard view of these extinct animals, and by comparison showing us what future paleontonlogists might have thought cats, monkeys and birds would have looked like if they only had the skeletons to go by. The talks from the book launch are well worth watching, even if you have no budget to buy the book itself. Reviews by What's in Johns freezer? (a cool* anatomy blog) and Tor.com, with several illustrations.

*: no pun intended....

- I was linked to a piece in Science Nordic about how fish corrupt carbon dating of pots, which unfortunately lacked several details from the original Danish source (not the Danish version of the Science Nordic page, that's the same as the English one). For starters, it's not the pots that are radio carbon dated, as most people interested in archaeology would realise, as pottery itself doesn't contain carbon (if it has been tempered by organic material, this would likely burn away in the firing), but burnt food crusts on the inside. Due to the reservoir effect of marine life, if the burnt food contained fish, shellfish or other marine creatures, the radiocarbon dating could be off by several hundred or thousand years. And since it is hard to tell what any carbonised crust originally contained, it would be problematic to use radio carbon dating of food crusts alone as a way to, for example, date the introduction of pottery.

- The Book of Kells, a 9th century illuminated Irish gospel manuscript, is now online!

- and from the hilarious site WTF evolution? (go home evolution, you're drunk!), scientists are trying to resurrect a frog species that used its stomach as a womb. It's a recent extinction (and discovery, too: it was discovered in 1972, and extinct in 1983) so they have plenty of genetic material to work with. And considering the world wide threat to frogs due to habitat loss, it may be a good thing to have experience in - we certainly will need it again.
ossamenta: Weasel skull (Flygödlefossil)
Blogposts with links are often called linkspam, but personally, I think that's the wrong word. Spam is something I don't want, whereas interesting links will brighten up my day. Therefore, I will call these posts linksoup, since soup is delicious! :-)

I found an interesting blog today: Powered by osteons, written by a human bone specialist in Italy. Lots of Roman posts, but also a great variety of interesting stuff, such as the use of sulphur isotope analysis to research fish consumption and the age of weaning.

Contagions is a more specialised blog, about historic infectious disease. I had only time to poke around a bit, but found posts on trench fever and the black death. As some of you probably already have heard, dna from Yersinia pestis has been extracted from several skeletons from a plague pit in London, thus confirming that Yersinia was (at least one of) the bacteria that wrecked havoc in Europe in the mid-14th century. (More info, and some background to the debate)

Yersinia pestis: Isn't she cute!

On a Mesolithic site in Sweden, archaeologists have found human skulls on stakes, placed in a shallow lake near the settlement. For once, the use of "ritual" doesn't seem far-fetched. I can't wait to read the report on this site. The Mesolithic has a special place in my heart, ever since I studied prehistoric archaeology in Lund. So many rich sites in Scania and Denmark, with not only bone and antler but also wood. On the other hand, Mesolithic sites that only yield flint scatters, as is the case in most of Britain, is rather boring.
(More detailed information on the site and ceremonial deposit in the site blog - only in Swedish, though)

Going even further back in time, dinosaur feathers have been found in amber! Unfortunately I didn't see any when I was on the lookout for nice amber in Gdansk.

For those of you who are based near London, or a planning a winter visit, the new exhibition
Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination will be at the British Library from 11 November-13 March.

And don't forget to put a note in the calendar for 2013: a big Viking exhibition at the National Museum in Denmark (Copenhagen), the Museum für Vor- und Frügeschichte (Berlin) and the British Museum (London). The National Museum in Denmark has a blog on the ongoing work with creating the exhibition (Danish only).

Keeping on the historical side, I must recommend Reel history: a blog series on the accuracy on various historical movies. On a related note, the fabulous Isis* wrote a post on how the present fashion is reflected in historical movies.

*: I adore 18th century fashion (the movie Dangerous Liasons, anyone?) and someday I will get around to make a 18th century outfit.

Various useful sources I found online:
- Abstracts from the 15th meeting of the ICAZ fish remains working group in 2009 (pdf)
- London lives 1690-1800: crime, poverty and social policy in the metropolis. Digitised and searchable primary sources focussing on middle and lower class Londoners. The sources include over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects.
- A ph.d. thesis which is right in my interest sphere: Marianne Erath, Studien zum mitelalterlichen Knochenschnitzerhandwerk : die Entwicklung eines spezialiserten Handwerks in Konstanz (Studies on Medieval craft of bone-turners: development of a specialised handcraft in Konstanz) (pdf)
- My colleague Jessica Grimm's thesis Animal keeping and the use of animal products in medieval Emden (Lower Saxony, Germany).
- Another interesting ph.d. - on medieval textiles and fashion rather than bone: Eva I. Andersson (2006) Kläderna och människan i medeltidens Sverige och Norge (Clothing and the individual in Medieval Sweden and Norway) (pdf)


ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)

January 2019

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