Robyn Hode – An hundred shefe of arowes gode, The hedys burneshed full bryght; And every arowe an elle longe, With pecok wel idyght, Inocked all with whyte silver [or silk]; It was a semely syght. A Gest of Robyn Hode, lines 523-8 in English Popular Ballads, 1922 edition England, ca. 1450 A.D.
SINEW Sinew is the term used to describe tendon or ligament in more formal English. It is the cord that connects muscle to bone or bone to bone in skeletal animals. Like rope, it is made up of bundles of bundles of bundles as shown in this anatomical illustration. For our purposes, sinew is a … Continue reading The Magic of Sinew
Gourds have played an important role in human history in both the Old World and New. The origin, domestication, and spread of this and other plants was a topic of much conversation when I was in graduate school. It seems now that its antiquity and introduction to the Americas is becoming much clearer. This humble … Continue reading On the Antiquity of Gourds
I don't normally share my professional work on this blog but thought it might be of interest. We were out re-recording a rock shelter yesterday known for some rather mysterious pictographs. Mysterious in that they are vague and probably mostly wiped out due to weathering. Only the protected portions of the shelter contain clear images … Continue reading Archaeological Work in Progress
I still remember when one of my professors, in a lecture about culture-changing innovations, discussed the eyed needle as both a major technological innovation and a proxy for much more. Eyed needles imply sewing and it is not a major leap to conjecture some level of tailored clothing and bags. Leather was abundant in hunter-gatherer … Continue reading Bone Sewing Needles (a brief history of…)
Back to the beginnings. Larry Kinsella is a great flint knapper and an all-around talented guy who, amongst other things, recreates stone-age technologies from his home near Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site (one of the great cities of the prehistoric world) in Illinois. Back in 2008, Larry, prompted by Tim Baumann, created a great lithic … Continue reading Making Tools
On 7 September 2011, an advanced constructed and complete bow was found at the edge of the Åndfonne glacier in Breheimen mountain range. The C14 dating shows that Norway’s oldest and best preserved bow is 3300 years old.
The 131 centimeters long bow was discovered by archaeologists in connection with the last check before summer fieldwork was completed. The bow was found at the ice edge about 1700 meters above sea level. This shows how important it is that archaeologists are present just when the ice is melting.
Findings of complete bows are very rare, and it turned out even rarer after the results of the C14 dating returned from the laboratory in the U.S.: The bow turned out to be 3300 years old – dating back to about 1300 BC – in other words from the early Bronze Age.
It is the oldest bow ever found in…
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Down a narrow track off a minor country road, the pillar at King’s Mountain sits upright in a field like a beautifully decorated standing stone. This stone however is quite special, being the solitary remaining roofstone or lintel of a long destroyed passage tomb type monument which had been built around 5,500 years ago. Just five kilometers away is one of Ireland’s greatest passage tomb cemeteries from the Neolithic or Late Stone Age, the Loughcrew complex of decorated chambered tombs. These are also visible against the sky from this spot. Meath is a relatively low lying county so even though the hills at Loughcrew are not particularly high, they do dominate the lowlands for many miles around.
Though they had been noted by a Miss Beaufort in 1828, the passage tombs at Loughcrew were first formally described by Eugene Conwell in 1864 and presented as ‘The Tomb of Ollamh Fodhla’ in…
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Imagine how different heritage preservation would be in America if our feeling of kinship and stewardship were more like those in Europe. If, instead of viewing the prehistoric heritage of the New World as something to exploit and profit from in a very short-sighted manner, we, as landowners were to view ourselves as caretakers of these treasures for future generations. Heritage management can be a very different model in other parts of the world.
A guest post by Philip I. Powell. First published at
http://www.facebook.com/megalithicmonuments.ireland, reproduced with permission.
TOORMORE WEDGE TOMB
RMP No. CO148-001
A colleague, on a recent visit to a wedge tomb in west Cork, was shocked to find it being used as an out-house, containing trash bins, old rubbish and strewn with litter. I find this totally unacceptable, to see such callous disregard for a national monument and deeply concerned about what we really think about our national heritage. Is it that, unless it is given national attention via the state & independent media networks, we actually don’t care! Or are we saying that certain monuments deserve protection and others are perhaps not worthy of such protection.
All recorded archaeological monuments are protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and this applies to every single one of them and not just the high profile monuments such as Newgrange, Poulnabrone, the Hill of…
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I'm a sucker for ancient monuments.
I am very interested in the European Upper Paleolithic. There are many amazing artifacts of antler and bone known from good archaeological contexts. Having lugged a load of antler and bones around over the last several years, it seemed to be time to make some new goodies. I went through a phase 15-20 years ago … Continue reading Antler Points
Summer before last, the girl decided to branch out from just turning our yuccas into cordage. After being inspired to make natural clothes by constructing a cattail hat, she decided to make a yucca skirt roughly modeled on the elderberry skirt example in Paul Campbell's book Survival Skills of Native California. The completed skirt. The … Continue reading Yucca Fiber Skirt
National Geographic reports a remarkable find of Roman shoes in Camelon, Scotland. I hope to see the report. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/111010-roman-empire-shoes-fort-britain-archaeology-science/
Bone fish hooks made in the last week. I have made a few in the past but NEVER fished with them. They are plentiful in Village contexts along the Missouri River, all over Europe, and many other contexts. It seems to have taken several millennia in some areas to add barbs or drilled ends. … Continue reading Hooked
Photos from the October 2010 Atlatl Competition are up. Windy weather added a new level of difficulty to the target throws. The turnout was excellent with participants traveling from as far as Roswell, northern New Mexico, and Austin to take part in our event. Thanks to everyone who came.
For those with an interest in preindustrial technology from Europe, check out Haandkraft. They focus on Medieval crafts mainly but have some excellent information there. Everything from metalsmithing, cooking, leatherwork, and wool dyeing. http://haandkraft.blogspot.com/
Some new Winter Count photos available here: https://paleotool.wordpress.com/primitive-gatherings/winter-count-2010/
I am double posting this from my professional blog because I think it is really remarkable. A cave find from southeast New Mexico. From time to time, we receive donations from private individuals. After a few phone calls back and forth, I arranged to meet with someone who wanted to show me a dart she … Continue reading Wooden Spear
These are sandals constructed from the narrow-leaf yucca. These designs are based on specimens preserved in caves. These might not be much to look at but they are remarkably impervious to the many sines, spikes, and other poky things found in the deserts of the west. These are two and four warp designs and the … Continue reading Basketmaker-Anasazi sandals
My new Basketmaker-style atlatl. I used it without a weight for a few weeks and it was adequate but the addition of this small weight seems to make a real difference in power, especially with a larger dart. The weight is a hard argilite from Arizona. Attached with pine-pitch glue and lashed with sinew coated … Continue reading Finished Atlatl (a.k.a. spearthrower)
These pictures capture the enormous flex that a dart undergoes during the throw. Not quite as evident is the flex in the atlatl itself. This one takes on a shallow "S" curve. This was an unfinished river cane shaft. It had been somewhat straightened but no forshaft or point were attached. If they were, there … Continue reading Dart and atlatl flex