Welcome, one and all, to the 67th installment of Four Stone Hearth — the best darned anthropology blog carnival you’ll find in cyberspace. As luck (and some pleading by Martin) would have it, the past fortnight has seen a healthy crop of anthronews and post submissions, so let’s get right to work…
Shine on you crazy Diamond
StinkyJournalism.org and SavageMinds.org are cross-publishing a series of essays on the controversy surrounding Jared Diamond’s New Yorker article, “Annals of Anthropology: Vengeance is Ours.” The essay series titled The Pig in a Garden: Jared Diamond and The New Yorker, is written by ethics scholars in the fields of anthropology and communications, as well as journalists, environmental scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists and linguists and the like. So far, they’ve published four pieces in the series, all fine and thought-provoking essays:
- Jared Diamond’s ‘Light Elephants’ and Dark Revenge In The New Yorker: The Problems of Amateur Anthropology
- Melanesian vengeance, Western vengeance, and natural vengeance
- Big Conservation In Papua New Guinea: Jared Diamond’s New Yorker article reflects a larger problem
- The New Yorker’s Second Crisis of Conscience: Why Jared Diamond is Neither the Fish of the Anthropologist Nor the Fowl of a Journalist
Would you take a look at those ivories!
If you want a bit of science news to actually see light in the mainstream media, I guess you almost have to expect the MSM to sex it up. Literally. And so the discovery of a very early (35 KYA) female carving with exaggerated features becomes a story on early pornography — although, of course, there’s no real way of knowing who made the figurine, or what the thing was made for.
The Register provides a type specimen of this sort of “reporting” with an article titled Archaeologists unearth oldest known 3D pornography
Remote Central summarizes the whole media approach with They’re Big, They’re Boobs, They’re Featured In The News – Hohle Fels Aurignacian Figurine Dated to 35 kya
Zenobia provides a bit of historical perspective on venus figures with The Newest Uppity Stone-Age Venus
Neanderthal — it’s what’s for dinner
Meanwhile, if it’s not sex in the context of anthropology, two other subjects are almost guaranteed to gather media interest — Neanderthals, and cannibalism. Extra points if you can write an article combining the two. And so, much ink has been spilled in the pursuit of an Observer article titled How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans.
The ever-reliable Knight Science Journalism Tracker cries fowl in The Observer: Humans ate the Neanderthals. That’s why there are no Neanderthals anymore. Says so right here.
John Hawks piles on with Victims of cannibalism — Neandertals or science writers? and Another Aurignacian Neandertal, or just dinner?
…Like I need a hole in my head
If you’re not particularly prone to psychosomatic ailments, A Hot Cup of Joe provides a pair of interesting posts on things people have done to their heads (or, to be precise, Artificial Cranial Modification). Go check out Joe’s posts on Trephination and Head Shaping.
Also on the subject of things cranial, Hominin Dental Anthropology (how’s that for a tightly-focused blog?) provides a post on Using Hair and Teeth to Infer Biological Rhythms
Odds and ends
Michael E. Smith of Publishing Archaeology points out the human tendency to see what you expect to see with The Maya collapse: When theoretical preconceptions get in the way of understanding
The Ohio Archaeology Blog provides an example of a similar phenomena, while admittedly in a less exotic location, with FOCUS ON RESEARCH: THE SEIP MOUND HOUSES
Neuroanthropology gives a quick rundown on medical anthropologist Ron Barrett, and his take on the fear of Swine Flu (a.k.a., H1N1) as contagious in Ron Barrett and the Contagion of Swine Flu.
Even closer to home (at least for those in academia), Evolution Beach revisits the old “Two Cultures” issue with 50 Years of Two Cultures and a Question
Wanna be an Anthropologist asks Were australopithecines obligate bipeds?
Martin at Aardvarchaeology reviews Inga Clendinnen’s book Dancing with Strangers, about the first years of British colonization of Australia, and the mutually-incomprehensible interactions that characterized them.
Well, that’s it for this edition of of Four Stone Hearth — thanks for dropping by, hopefully you found some reading material that interested you. The next FSH will be hosted on June 3 by Remote Central — make sure you check it out!