Cat Does Experimental Archaeology


Bajs-Arne (“Shitty Arnie”) is the family cat. Saturday, in a clumsy attempt to check out the view from the kitchen window, he overturned an hibiscus and created an archaeological pottery assemblage. It consists of a complete Swedish 2000s flower pot, a complete Swedish 1940s glazed China soup plate that the pot had been sitting on, and a large sherd of a Chinese 1990s glazed China soup bowl that had been plugging the drain hole in the pot. Shitty Arnie hopes to publish a note on the assemblage in a near-future issue of the Newsletter of the Department of Pottery Technology, University of Leiden.


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  1. #1 thadd
    March 24, 2008

    Mine tried the same thing with a pot of parsley a week or two ago, maybe they can be coauthors.

  2. #2 Martin R
    March 24, 2008

    Thanks for the tip! It’s clearly a hot field right now. I think I’m gonna scrap my Bronze Age grant proposal and quickly put something together about experimental pot-fracturing studies instead.

  3. #3 Pär
    March 24, 2008

    Our hero enjoying a well-deserved break in operations.

  4. #4 Martin R
    March 24, 2008

    I love the way you’ve captured the satanic gleam in his eyes!

  5. #5 Sávon
    March 24, 2008

    Hur kan du kalla en katt för Skit-Arnie? En katt är en värdig varelse, och man förstår inte hur mycket kärlek och tillgivenhet en katt faktiskt kan ge en förrän man förlorat sin lilla kisse. Min dog i onsdags av Borrellia och Erlichios. Jag hade haft henne i nästan 12 år. Jag är så ledsen så jag nästan bara vill dö.

  6. #6 Martin R
    March 24, 2008

    Very sorry to hear that your cat has passed away. They can be great companions. Shitty Arnie entered our home instead of a third child.

  7. #7 acb
    March 24, 2008

    On a point of order,. bajs-arne is surely better translated “Arnie-poo” or “Poo-arnie”. “Bajs” är inte samma sak som “skit”; åtminstone inte sam sak betraktat på samma sätt. Having had one Swedish and one English baby, I have given this matter some thought.

  8. #8 Martin R
    March 24, 2008

    Yeah, it’s a subtle issue. One thing is which English word maps best onto bajs. Another is if the qualifier to Arnie’s name should be a noun (as in Swedish), an adjective (as I suggested) or a verb, “Shitting Arnie”, “Shat Arnie”, “Beshotten Arnie”.

    My wife, I’m sad to say, skirts the whole issue by calling the beast Mao. It means “cat” in Mandarin.

  9. #9 Lars L
    March 25, 2008

    I prefer Shitty Arnie, sounds much better than Arnie-Pooh, or all other suggestion put forward. What interests me is how your neighbours react when you are calling for the cat?

  10. #10 Martin R
    March 25, 2008

    Bajs-Arne is a prisoner in our fourth-floor apartment. He is also an obese eunuch, so if we let him loose in the neighbourhood, the other cats would probably kick his ass.

  11. #11 Barn Owl
    March 25, 2008

    Funniest cat post evah!!

    I’d like to use the qualifier for my Labrador retriever, so that she will be “Bajs-Txai”…do I need to change the word since she’s a female dog?

    Also, what’s the correct pronunciation (approximation for an essentially monoglot American)?

  12. #12 Martin R
    March 25, 2008

    Thanks! Bajs rhymes with “nice”.

  13. #13 Soren Larsen
    March 25, 2008

    Talk about a ‘false friend’ word.

    ‘Bajs’ in danish means the boss of a workgang.

    I presume the cat in question insist that it was named in danish.

  14. #14 Sávon
    March 26, 2008

    I feel sorry for that cat. He is badly hurt, ashamed of what he has done, look at his eyes. Noone loves that cat, but all living beeings need love. That cat should sit on a lap, have a nice warm hand that comforts him, and listen to a soft voice telling a ‘catstory’ for him.
    Don´t be shure if he gets outdoor that other cats would kick his ass. A lot of cats are castrated, and it is necessary because otherwise the whole area would be full of hungry straycats…

  15. #15 Martin R
    March 26, 2008

    Soren, there’s a similar false Swedish/Norwegian false friend, where bärs means beer in Swedish and bajs in Norwegian.

    Savon, you have a big warm heart!

  16. #16 Left_Wing_Fox
    March 26, 2008

    t consists of a complete Swedish 2000s flower pot, a complete Swedish 1940s glazed China soup plate that the pot had been sitting on…

    Ikean period, perhaps?

  17. #17 Mary E
    March 26, 2008

    That’s some global phenomena there. Either Scooter or Booger knoked a terracotta pot out of my windowsill onto one of my 2 favoritemost Satow Rice-grain ware bowls that appears to have come from the same source as yours. Of course neither of the little shits would own up to it.

  18. #18 Martin R
    March 26, 2008

    Fox, hmmm, that soup plate is pre-Ikean, I believe. It belongs to a set referred to by my folks as Dr. Something’s Dinner Set, commemorating my dad’s aunt’s boss who appears to have handed it down to my family.

    Mary, great to know that others give their cats humiliating names too. Booger!

  19. #19 Henrik
    March 26, 2008

    Why have you filed this under humour?

    It’s not funny.

    Last year my cat did a wonderful (peer-reviewed!) piece on random dung deposits in mid-ninteenth cent. homes. Complete with experimental ethno-(s)catology in the master bedroom…

    Certainly not funny.

  20. #20 ringo
    March 27, 2008

    I would say bajs rhymes with schiesse, not nice.

    //not monolingual

  21. #21 Martin R
    March 27, 2008

    Scheisse is two syllables. But weiss fits the bill.

  22. #22 Ewa L
    March 29, 2008

    Cats are superior!
    ‘Bajs-Arne’ did it to ascertain your skills!

    Ewa L

  23. #23 Sigrid
    March 30, 2008

    your cat’s name isn’t Shitty-Arne, its Poop-Arne.
    hahaha, shit vilken dårlig humor jag har 🙂
    Damn why didn’t I come up with that name for our family cat, his name is Kurre (very original), but we call him Psycho. Because he is psycho.

  24. #24 Steve C
    March 31, 2008

    I suggest “Pooh Cat” for a name, and claim if asked that it is in homage to AA Milne. Unfortunately, I know that, at least in Norwegian, one doesn’t say the equivalent of pooh bear but instead “Ole Brumm” where Ole is a man’s name, which seems to bear no relation to the original 🙂

  25. #25 Martin R
    March 31, 2008

    “Winnie the Poof” would also be a good name for this cat.

  26. #26 Mattias
    April 1, 2008

    Why not ‘Kisse-bajs’, meaning either ‘Kitty-poo’ or both types of excrement (and loosely suggesting ‘to kiss goodbye’)?

    Are you sure that his work is an artefact study and not an act of performance art?

    / Mattias

  27. #27 Martin R
    April 1, 2008

    I am considering whether Shitty Arnie is not in fact best viewed as an ecofact. Perhaps I should have him frozen and thin-sectioned.

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