The art and artifacts from Pompeii have been much on my mind since the major new excavations have been published the past couple years. I was looking at this wall mural and noticed the very Roman workbench in the lower left, complete with bench dogs while the young carpenter whacks away with hammer and chisel. … Continue reading A Workbench from Pompeii
Sewing I do quite a bit of sewing and I feel it is an essential skill for nearly everyone. My sewing includes new buckskin trousers, cotton shirts, shoes, a few leather bags, backpacks, and repairs to clothes to name just a few projects. All this has caused me to think about sewing without manufactured goods. … Continue reading Primitive (but useful) Sewing Kit
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
Today I'm prepping to present some primitive skills on Saturday, from raw materials to finished goods. I'm also getting some kid's activities together to draw in the latest generation. An assortment of stone-age technology laid out to take to the public.
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
A quick follow-up on yesterday's post in the wee hours of the morning. Based on a question that came in yesterday it seems appropriate to show the thrower in use. This is my favorite dart but I'm a little embarrassed by the sloppy fletching. The base (proximal end) of the dart is carved out … Continue reading Spear Thrower Follow Up
Finding “handedness” in archaeology… using the fletching of arrows as an example. As a professional archaeologist AND primitive technologist I am very skeptical when someone claims they can determine which hand of a maker is dominant on an ancient tool or weapon. One reason for the distrust is that the archaeologist may not have experienced creating the object in the same way the original maker did. I think the Leatherworking Reverend has a valid point in the following article (and not just because it affirms my own experiences).
At most find-sites that have arrows there will be a non-equal mix of S- and Z-wrap on the bindings. The dig report will assert that left-handed fletchers were responsible for those that aren’t the majority direction arrow binding, probably without mentioning whether it’s the Z- or S- that they are talking about. I can’t find where it was written down the first time, but it has been repeated until it became lore. Consider the Ötze website:
According to technical archaeologist Harm Paulsen, the two arrows could not have been fashioned by the same person. The fletching shows that one was wound by a left-hander and the other by a right-hander.
and the Mary Rose Trust:
Hopkins (1998) studied 408 shafts from chest 81A2582 (O9) and recorded that, in every case, the binding thread had been wound in a clockwise direction from the tip end of the shaftment (ie, the portion of the arrow…
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"A good meal ought to begin with hunger." French Proverb. All animals need to eat. All the time. As humans, we eat every day if we are lucky. An average Westerner will have about 275,000 meals in a lifetime, not including snacks, munchies, and other nibbles. Once upon a time, we all caught, gathered, and … Continue reading Ancient Dutch Ovens and the Ceramic Hibachi
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
Using archaeology to find out hows things "should be" done? A response to a common question, by George Thomas Crawford I am regularly asked about my connection to archaeology and my interest in primitive technology. I've also been chided by some people in the primitive tech community on behalf of other archaeologists because they (archaeologists) … Continue reading Learning from Masters (not me, just what I seek)
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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A tardy post.
Several weeks back I, along with David Kilby, was fortunate to be asked to come help with an excavation in central New Mexico. The project was the brainchild of Robert Dello-Russo from the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies. Since funding is always an issue with this type of research, this was very much a volunteer-based project, bringing in archaeological professionals and skilled avocationals from around the state.
The project area is west of Socorro, New Mexico between two mountain ranges. There is a surprising amount of energetic water that comes from the mountains to the west, moving enormous amounts of sediment, and sometimes very large cobbles and pebbles. This has created a sort of fan that covers the very old Paleoindian and paleontological deposits and is overlaid with several meters of fine silt.
Evidence of a much wetter environment abounds in the arroyo cuts where
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Recent travels allowed for a quick visit to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Now in their one hundredth year of excavation, the site has yielded over 600 species to date with a NISP of over 3.5 million (not counting over 200 bacteria). It’s a remarkable place and I feel privileged to to have been given an excellent tour by Dr John Harris and Curator Gary Takeuchi. Tar still bubbles and oozes and excavations continue, thanks in part to continuing growth of this highly urbanized area.
Although most of the tar seeps are closed off for safety, a couple can be accessed with a guide. The surface is just as deceptive as it is described and is often covered with leaves and dirt. The tar can also be deceptively solid feeling until the incredible stickiness locks your feet to the tar. Dr Harris provided a great…
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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.
Some shoe solutions from the Bronze Age, North Africa. Sandal maker - New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty from Thebes ca. 1504–1425 B.C. Like a Diderot illustration this gives a good look at the workshop of an artisan with the essentials of his trade. There's the stool, which is useful in leatherwork as it gives a good lap … Continue reading Sandals of the New Kingdom, Egypt
Despite what many of us were taught while learning the trades of the cultural resource management world, archaeological imaging does not have to be dull, drab, or black-and-white.
Ken Williams’ photography, as seen on ShadowsandStone.com, highlights some amazing stoneworks of prehistoric western Europe with an eye for emphasizing the beauty, alignments, and surroundings of these structures in brilliant colors and contrast. He also highlights some photos of actual archaeological work in progress and this interest my cartographic side greatly.
Also, check out his blog here: http://blog.shadowsandstone.com/
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/