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October 16, 2014


If you like this kind of thing, you want to be reading The History Blog
which is mostly about exactly this kind of thing.

Current front-page:
"Largest Viking hoard since 1891 found in Scotland"

I love old stuff. Joel, thanks for the link, which I've book marked. Here is another that is on my Daily Read List: http://www.archaeologica.org/NewsPage.htm

Here is a Wikipedia link to a site in France that is really, really cool:


I will send you a picture of an Achulean hand ax and an Olduwan scraper that I have. I won't be able to do that until this evening or tomorrow morning.

This Christmas will be the centennial of the Christmas Truce, a faint glimmer of hope at the dawn of the Hell Century (people did not, alas, take the hint).
I'm hoping the occasion will be observed at least here and there.
And not solely because it would be good for sales of my own book, "The Christmas Mutiny", which takes an alternate-history turn (hence the title): http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Mutiny-John-Burt-ebook/dp/B007DMX0C8
Oh, and speaking of alternative versions of the First World War, there's this: http://vimeo.com/107454954


Bookmarked, thanks.

I've always wanted to learn to flintknap (take a look at that early Bronze Age flint dagger about five days ago on The History Blog. Gorgeous) but when I started to investigate, I found that even professionals frequently cut their hands, and that beginning in the hobby presents a bloody prospect. Still might change my mind after I retire.

The Christmas truce (and WW1 in general) had one lasting (if less well-known) positive effect. It brought Christmas back to Scotland where it had been verboten for several centuries by the kirk. The Scottish soldiers returning home had enough clout to bring that to an end. Unbelievably a lot of them had never even heard of the idea of Christmas before, so successful the Puritans had been in their effort to suppress it.

I found that even professionals frequently cut their hands,

can you do it while wearing butcher's gloves?

"The tomb of Phillip II, father of Alexander the Great, has been confirmed. "

I'm afraid that's not the case, and I'm sorry to see this further sensationalized.

There was a major panel on the royal tomb at Vergina at the Archaeological Institute of America annual meeting a few years ago, to discuss the date of the tomb. All of the strands of evidence point to the tomb being that of Philip III, NOT Philip II. Nearly all scholars in the field consider the matter settled. I don't see anything in that report that would change that opinion.

My understanding is that a reexamination of the bones in the tomb found that there was facial damage, which would correspond to Phillip's losing his right eye to an arrow as well as indications of chest damage, possibly related to when he was struck by a lance and his collarbone was shattered by a lance. He was buried with a mask that he had to hide the damage and the reanalysis found traces of that mask, and additionally, the woman buried in the tomb had a short left leg, so the mismatched greaves and probably the weapons were actually hers which identify her as Scythian and it is recorded that Phillip II, but not III, had a Scythian wife (though I didn't know this, I just knew about the face injury)

This 2008 pdf talks about why the previous consensus was Phillip III, but I think the forensic reexamination is new information. If you have any links that take issue with that, please feel free to share them.

You need to get a tumblr account, just to follow these each day:


I had never heard of the term "antikythera" until now. Fascinating stuff.

Any other neat old stuff?

I have started reading "The Swerve".

Surprised you didn't mention the Indonesian cave art -
- along with the rather less impressive "Neandertal abstract art" found in Gibraltar:

Blogger John McKay has a serious fixation on mammoths and mastodons, and the scholarly research skills of a historian. He has deeply investigated all the known frozen corpse finds, and many of the skeletal finds, and is writing a book.

And while he does so, he blogs at Mammoth Tales.

"And the reason it's worth that kind of effort is that, in our society, men are the default value of "people": only (white, straight) men automatically have the status of "full human being"."

This is ridiculous on the face of it. There are some men who are sensitive to their masculinity being seemingly threatened, this broad assertion is foolish. To who? Our whole society? Other white males? White females? Have some cheese with that whine. Blame the bad guys, not society.

Sorry wrong thread

Blombos cave, in far south africa, is an interesting site, because it was occupied throughout both the middle and later stone ages. Human habitation there apparently goes back 70,000 or 80,000 years, maybe to 100,000 years.

There is, apparently, evidence of art-making (and therefore symbol-making) dating back into the earlier parts of that period. Which is pretty freaking amazing.

My wife and I were just in the south of France, and I was hoping to visit Chauvet, but it doesn't open to the public until fall of 2015.

LJ, Just got The Discovery of Middle Earth from my local library. Thanks . . . I think -- I see a lost weekend in my future.

book reviews cleverly disguised as guest posts are always welcome!

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