The Four Stone Hearth Blog Carnival: October 22nd edition.

Welcome to the 22 October Edition of the Four Stone Hearth Anthropology Blog Carnival. The previous edition of this carnival was on Clashing Culture. The Home Page of Four Stone Hearth is here, and the next edition will be at Archaeoporn.

And now, on with the show!


What is "The relevance of archaeology?" According to A very remote period indeed...

archaeology is the only discipline that can provide us with a relatively objective measure of how things were in the past, even following the advent of writing.

"But don't archaeologists, being academics, often eat their own young?" one student asked ... Well, yes, of course, but Julien quickly changed the subject to Cannibalism at Krapina - or not!

Two sites are usually invoked to make the case for Neanderthal cannibalism, Moula-Guercy in France (Defleur et al. 1999), and Krapina, in Croatia. ..... Krapina is especially important because of the large number of highly fragmented Neanderthal remains (800+) that have been found there

Mmmm.. Neanderthal.....

Meanwhile, later in time, Viking Archaeology Blog announces a New dig to 'discover' St Edmund. And in more archaeology news, Archeology News Report reports Indiana: oldest such artifact ever documented

A prehistoric bone tool discovered by University of Indianapolis archeologists is the oldest such artifact ever documented in Indiana, the researchers say.

Radiocarbon dating shows that the tool - an awl fashioned from the leg bone of a white tail deer, with one end ground to a point - is 10,400 years old.

The find supports the growing notion that, in the wake of the most recent Ice Age, the first Hoosiers migrated northward earlier than previously thought. Sites from the Paleoindian and Early Archaic eras are more common in surrounding states such as Illinois and Ohio, which were not as heavily glaciated as Indiana....

Not really archaeology, but UCDCP reviews James Clifford's "The Predicament of Culture in the blog post Archaeology of the contemporary

Also not really archaeology but cool, from Testimony of the spade, "The Nature Reserve Storforsen" complete with pretty pictures.

The great rivers of the north are not just spectacular sceneries it is also part of the cultural heritage, along the watercourses people have lived and worked. They've been used for fishing and for transportation. Along the courses there are several traces of human activities; rock art, settlements, hearths, remains from log-driving etc.

Moore Groups Blog presents "19th Century Burial in Ireland - Part II", which appears to be a very nice piece of original research. Have a look.

You all know that when people adopted agriculture in a particular region, the state of health generally declined in most areas. What you may not realize is that It Gets Worse After the Middle Ages: Bone Disease and the Medieval Period (Part I)

In the discipline of medieval archaeology, particularly with respect to the understanding of the daily lives of the people, rather than the castles, cathedrals and monasteries which they have built, very little is as important as the detrimental biological forces they face. Although, certainly, life is not defined entirely by its hardships, comprehension of a discipline which focuses on a specifically detrimental variable in the lives of these people, such as the diseases they encounter most often, particularly those which can be analyzed through the work of an archaeologist, is invaluable to an accurate reconstruction of the lives of the people being studied.

Don't forget to Think Before You Radiocarbon

This dating method works on anything organic, that is, anything with carbon in it. Running one sample costs about $500, so you have multiple reasons to be smart about which samples you send to the lab. I thought my thinking about this might interest you, Dear Reader.

A living archaeology birthday celebration: Happy 90th Erik Nylén

Professor Erik Nylén is huge in Swedish archaeology. His name is associated with any number of important fieldwork and publication projects, and also with a strongly pro-science movement during the 60s and 70s where fieldwork and labwork methods were greatly improved. One of Erik's big ideas was wholesale photographic documentation using turrets for vertical photography.

Other anthropology

Neanderthals in Okladnikov cave Siberia

DNA extracted from skeletal remains has shown that Neanderthals roamed some 2000 kilometres further east than previously thought.

Researchers say the genetic sequence of an adolescent Neanderthal found in southern Siberia closely matches that of Neanderthals found in western Europe, suggesting that this close relative of modern humans migrated very long distances.

The Encultured Brain at the AAAs is a pre-conference writup that should get people's brain juices flowing.

Searching for Intelligence in Our Genes...

In Robert Plomin's line of work, patience is essential. Plomin, a behavioral geneticist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, wants to understand the nature of intelligence. As part of his research, he has been watching thousands of children grow up. Plomin asks the children questions such as "What do water and milk have in common?" and "In what direction does the sun set?" At first he and his colleagues quizzed the children in person or over the telephone. Today many of those children are in their early teens, and they take their tests on the Internet.

And finally, a little linguistic culture history: When Do Immigrants Learn English? Likely, not when you think.

...This is 1981, and everybody in this neighborhood speaks Italian, because they are Italian. Second and third generation, yes, but Italian is the language of the home and the workplace. This is a neighborhood with zero unemployment, zero unorganized crime, and that serves the city in which it is ensconced as a major international tourist destination. And it is pretty much true that the Italian immigrants that moved to this neighborhood starting more than a century ago are still working on the English Only thing....


More like this

Erik Nylén in 1987, holding a ship's vane inspired by 11th century ones, standing in front of Krampmacken, a replica of a 12th century sailing boat. "Krampmacken" means "the brine shrimp". Photograph by Rune Edberg. Thanks Rune! One of my archaeological heroes turned 90 last Saturday. Professor…
The Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Cova Gran (Catalunya, Spain) and the extinction of Neanderthals in the Iberian Peninsula: The excavations carried out in Cova Gran de Santa Linya (Southeastern PrePyrenees, Catalunya, Spain) have unearthed a new archaeological sequence attributable to…
We finished digging today. Tomorrow I'll take a few more charcoal samples and return the tools to the units that lent them to me. The dig closes eight days earlier than planned. A week and a half of digging has identified the following phases on site, none of which were known to us beforehand:…
I read something annoying; always a good impetus for a blog entry. The offender this time is Nick Saunders of the University of Bristol, writing in Current World Archaeology #62 (Dec/Jan, available on And the theme is what he calls ”the birth of Modern Conflict Archaeology”. This…