Archaeology

Category archives for Archaeology

This is a site in the vicinity of Meroe in the Sudan, and seem to date to a period of transition between foraging and farming. From The Telegraph: In a graveyard in Al-Kadada, north of Khartoum, the archaeologists have dug up the tomb of a man and a woman facing each other in a ditch,…

Apparently, the women have jugs.

Finally, the Mayan Apocalypse Explained

In a moment of what may have been trance induced ague, my friend John McKay uttered a few words about Twinkies and the Maya that made a certain amount of sense, but something was still missing. But then it hit me like a loaf of bread. Wonderbread. Which, in Afrikaans, means “Miracle Bread” (you probably…

Across Atlantic Ice: Clovis Origins

I want to talk about the book Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America’s Clovis Culture. It was written by Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley, both highly respected archaeologists. The point they make in the book is very simple: An important archaeological culture known as the “Clovis” is actually a European culture that traveled east…

Pastoralism is the practice of keeping and herding animals such as cattle, goats and sheep, and using the products they produce, including meat, hide, bone, horn and of course, dairy. In the old days, armchair archaeologists thought that pastoralism would have been a phase of cultural adaptation following hunting and gathering and preceding horticulture (the…

In discussing the relevance of archeology to anything, there is an easy answer provided by my friend Peter Wells, a specialist in Culture Contact and the Central European Iron Age. Peter tells his students on the first day of class that “Archaeology is the study of everything that happened anywhere, any time, with any human…

Over the last few weeks I’ve run into a few misconceptions about tobacco, as well as some interesting news, so I thought I’d share. If you already know some of this, forgive me, not everyone else does. First, tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, is a member of the Solanaceae family of plants, which from a human perspective…

Tradition!!!!

Tradition. Not just a song from Fiddler on the Roof. You know the refrain: “The Papa, the Papa! Tradition.” It’s a great play but it is firmly rooted in the patriarchy, as “tradition” often is. There are many ways to define “tradition” and we can look it up somewhere and have a flameware over dictionary…

The Origin of Wine

With Julia spending the summer and most of the fall in The Republic of Georgia, I’ve been thinking about various political and historical aspects of that country, and one of the things that is claimed to be true is that wine was first invented there. Recently, someone asked me (always ask the archaeologist esoteric stuff…

My interest is in developing a plausible evidence-based story of how modern humans emerged from ancestral species. This means guessing at what features of humans make us “human” and attempting to see the emergence of each of these features in the fossilized record of our bodies (bones) and behaviors (artifacts and archaeological sites). This question…