Browsing All Posts filed under »archaeology«

Liz Brumfiel will always be remembered

January 3, 2012

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I had a hard time teaching our graduate introduction to theory in archaeology this fall. One of those things that just happens sometimes: the students and I were on different wave-lengths, and one student in particular deeply resented being asked to think theoretically: “why can’t we just let things speak for themselves”, she said at […]

Honoring Janus, looking backward and forward

January 2, 2012

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Happy New Year! Ever wonder why January 1 is observed as New Year’s Day in the Gregorian calendar? I went on a journey to find a rationale for this unusual choice; biased by years of studying ancient Mesoamerica, I found it odd that with the winter solstice so close, the year began at an apparently […]

“Witch Cottage”? No. Cat Burial? Maybe.

December 11, 2011

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She was a very old woman, about the age of four-score years, and had been a witch for fifty years. She dwelt in the Forest of Pendle, a vast place, fit for her profession: What she committed in her time, no man knows. She was a general agent for the Devil in all these parts: […]

Where the Girls Are, Roman Edition

November 12, 2011

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Once upon a time, the kinds of things we could know about ancient populations were highly generalized. Now, through the work of people like Kristina Killgrove, that is changing– and you can be part of making it happen. I couldn’t be more happy. A while ago (a loong while ago) I started writing a blog […]

Separated at Birth

October 19, 2011

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The story in ArtDaily caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, there was the headline: Researchers at SMU-led Etruscan dig in Italy discover ancient depiction of childbirth – first of its kind ever found. Yet another  “first of its kind ever found”, I thought, sighing about the media (again). But then I took […]

Dead babies still are bad evidence for a Roman brothel

August 9, 2011

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Last year I asked the rhetorical question “Are dead babies good evidence for a Roman brothel?” My post rehearsed a number of reasons to be skeptical of the widely reported story about a Roman British site being described as a brothel. Centrally, I objected to the claim that Roman women had “little or no access […]

Neanderthal/sapiens: a stormy love affair?

August 7, 2011

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I have spent a lot of time reading about new findings about Neanderthals over the past year. Recently, I wrote about the coincidence of two studies published in July: one demonstrating genetic overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals (resulting from sexual relationships), the other proposing that Neanderthals were pushed out of their territory by an […]

“I want a caveman, I want a brave man”

June 2, 2011

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Oh. My. God. Wild Men? The First Fred Flintstones Were Left Holding the Baby yells the Daily Express. Not much better, when you discount the popular culture reference, is the US News & World Report: Even Ancient Men Seemed to Like their Man Caves. Urk. I cannot believe I just typed the words “man cave”. […]

Evolution as Fight Club

May 21, 2011

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This just in: ancestral humans adopted bipedal posture so that males could fight with the strength of their forelimbs, making their punches more dangerous. OK. I actually thought I knew the range of arguments for bipedalism. I guess I appreciate having something novel to think about? The research described in news reports I read was […]

Making a Mark: From Graffiti by Coptic Nuns to Blogging

April 23, 2011

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Every scholar knows that professional conferences are where new research is first reported. By the time most research makes it into print, it is old news to us. Stories in the media can sometimes cut the time lag, either because a project circulates a press release, or there is a press center for the organization […]