Pimp My Book Manuscript

Since late ’09 my main research project has concerned the Bronze Age in the four Swedish provinces surrounding Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren. I've looked at the landscape situation of the era's deposition sites, which is pretty much where you find bronze objects. Yesterday I finished the first draft of the book (except the descriptive gazetteer, into which I still need to stick a few bits). And so here it is (300 kB PDF file)! The title is:

In the Landscape and Between Worlds. Bronze Age Deposition Sites Around Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren in Sweden.

I would be very grateful for comments, corrections and questions from Aard’s readers. Don’t be afraid to ask layman’s questions. There are no illustrations in the file because most of them haven't been made yet, though they are on their way.

The last time I asked my readers to pimp a book manuscript was in June of 2010. Two dear regulars stepped up to the plate and were duly thanked in the preface to my Mead-halls book.

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Wow thank you Martin, makes fascinating late-night reading. One layman's question: are the rivers and narrow lakes you mention in the area large enough to threaten to drown someone trying to swim across them, so that the depositions at inflows, outflows and narrow points might be interpreted that way? If so, the story about the water spirit who was sometimes a fiddle-playing man and sometimes a bäckahäst who would try to drag you in and drown you but could be scared off if you had a bit of steel in your pocket would be only too convenient.

Glad you like it! When I say "long and narrow lakes" I mean ones that are so narrow that you can easily see and shout across them. The streams are even narrower.

As for making an offering for safe crossing, as I take it you're hinting, that would rapidly become extremely expensive. There's more lakes and bogs than land here. Also, the objects are mostly of local make, so it's the local folks who are depositing the stuff, not long-distance travellers.

Thank you, I have just saved the text to read later. I guess you have heard about the findings from Bronze Age around Umeå the summer of 2013? As I understand it there hasn't been any known long houses north of Uppsala earlier.

By Karin Engman (not verified) on 13 Apr 2014 #permalink

Yeah, me and my Umeå freshmen went to Klockaråkern in September and saw the house foundation! Dates from the 6th century BC I believe.

I hope you get good illustrations with plenty of diagrams, think making it accessible for schoolkids from grade 8. I believe New Scientist has found a good balance between accessibility and complexity, and they are generous with illustrations.
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(Grumpy local writes) -The finding in Klockaråkern is the only good thing about building stuff in an extremely beautiful part of countryside that had previously escaped exploitation.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 14 Apr 2014 #permalink

I'm with you there, grumpy Birger, there is a lot of that going on.

By Karin Engman (not verified) on 14 Apr 2014 #permalink

...and the stars say there will be unrest in the Middle East.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 15 Apr 2014 #permalink

Thank you Martin, that makes sense. I love the idea of statistical analysis that actually gets into the heads of these ancient people, so much more satisfying than the usual speculation about ritual. Also love the chatty style, very readable and interesting. And the predictive part is pretty ballsy, if I may say so.

In Santiago, Chile, it was announced today in the Santiago Times that :The discovery of Monte Verde in 1975 confirmed evidence of human settlement in the Americas as early as 14,800 BP (Before Present). The article noted that "...whoever lived there never passed on their genetic material to living populations,” said Dr. Waters, explaining how the genetic history of indigenous peoples links them to the Clovis child found in Montana. “We must think long and hard about these early sites and how they fit into the picture of the peopling of the Americas.”

In addition, a paper I presented on April 5, at the Pennsylvania Society for Archeology confirms earlier premises by Collins, Stanford and Bradley about the Solutrean migration. My paper: "Chasing the Beringia Land Bridge Myth and Finding Solutrean Boats" is available on Amazon as a Kindle Book. It has visual evidence showing Cave Art of Solutrean Boats and the route they took when headed out from Bay of Biscay to the Americas some 20,000 years ago.

By Larry Moniz (not verified) on 16 Apr 2014 #permalink

Around 3,500 years ago, the dingo appeared in Australia, evidently as a semi-domesticate. Around the same time period, there appears to have been something of a technological revolution, with the advent of backed blades that could be resharpened, a population explosion, and evidence of Aboriginal people moving into desert areas for the first time (the suggestion being that they could then survive there as nomadic foragers, having acquired the stone version of the Swiss Army Knife). Pama-Nyungan languages also spread over most of Australia, starting from northern Queensland, except in the Kimberley and Arnhem Land.

It also looks like there might have been some introgression of Indian (I presume Ancestral Southern Indian) genes into Aboriginal people (but this is based on whole genome analysis of only one sample of hair from south-western Australia donated by an Aboriginal man in the 1930s, I think I recall).

What Sue O'Connor and Jane Balme are saying (I assume from that article) is that they have found stone tools in the Kimberley dating to 30,000 years ago that demonstrate that stone tools that could be resharpened by grinding were not a recent introduced technology, or that not all technological innovation had to be 'introduced'. I agree - cultural innovation has to start somewhere, and I don't see any reason why 'parallel cultural evolution' cannot happen, as they seem to be saying with their reference to Japan.

Stone spear heads were not common - I recall something vaguely about special ceremonial stone-headed spears being used for punishment around the Sydney area, but not generally for hunting. Some Australian hardwoods are so hard that you cannot hammer nails through them, the nails just bend. Hardwood spears were made simply by sharpening the end, and then straightening and hardening the spear in a fire. Why bother making stone spearheads, when such a spear flies better/further/truer, and with more than adequate striking power? One on one, an Aboriginal hunter with a few hardwood spears and a woomera had as much fire power as a British trooper with a muzzle-loading musket. If barbs were required, wooden barbs could simply be attached with resin and bound on with string (maybe made from human hair) or kangaroo sinew. A very functional fish spear could similarly be made by attaching several tines to a spear shaft in the same manner.

I would bet on the stone axes being used to make spears, at least.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on who took the dingo to Australia, and whether they just called in to say 'hi', or whether they stayed. If they did conjure some kind of technological and linguistic revolution that resulted in a population explosion, evidently it did not manage to penetrate the Kimberley region.

The existence of rock art in Australia dating to more than 30,000 years ago, some of it apparently illustrating extinct Pleistocene fauna, should be sufficient to persuade anyone that the original colonists were not lacking in creativity, even if they are not persuaded by their impressive feat of getting there in the first place about 50,000 years ago.

Sorry, Birger, that's my crude layman's distilled account of my understanding of the state of play, but it's about the best I can do.

Meanwhile I am hoping that the Easter holiday will afford me the time to get past page 5 of Martin's excellent new book.

By John Massey (not verified) on 16 Apr 2014 #permalink

Thanks for posting the manuscript. Interesting and a more enjoyable read than Bradley's anecdotal musings, for instance. I have a few questions and thoughts, though, which could fill a few pages. I've learned from experience that I should ask this first: contact me if you're really interested in my musings on your manuscript.

I vote for having a glossy black and white photograph of the author as the frontespiece.

By John Massey (not verified) on 20 Apr 2014 #permalink

I'm hoping to have the same format and cover layout as the Mead-halls book, only a deep bottle green instead of Burgundy.


By John Massey (not verified) on 20 Apr 2014 #permalink

May I suggest you borrow a few relevant illustrations by Ulf Lundkvist? He is already famous for illustrating the alchohol-information booklet "Sanningen om allt och lite till" not to mention drawing "Assar"

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 22 Apr 2014 #permalink