Four Stone Hearth #104

Welcome to the 104th edition of Four Stone Hearth — the best darned Archaeology / Anthropology blog carnival in existence! Lots of good archaeo/anthro reading material has popped up in the past fortnight, so I’ve organized things topically for your reading pleasure. Let’s get moving then, shall we?

Anthropology and museums

Magnus Reuterdahl over at Testimony of the spade contributes three related posts to the carnival — all with good images from das Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna. It’s an art museum, but has some impressive cultural artifacts from the ancients — check out Magnus’ images of goodies from Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, and the Roman Empire.

Meanwhile, Museum Anthropology provides a quick post on the upcoming 20th anniversary of NAGPRA (the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act).

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Levant

News broke that (at least some) of the Dead Sea Scrolls are going online courtesy of Google, and the interwebs are a buzzing (I’m happy for the news, but will get really excited once Google Steet View has a time travel feature…). Mirabilis gives the release a quick mention, while Ferrell Jenkins notes that this will include a complete re-imaging of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s collection of scroll fragments. Dick Eastman points out that once the scans are online, preservation of the scrolls will be helped since there will be much less need to handle the scrolls themselves.

In educational but less-cheerful news, Yo and Mo point out an al-Jazeera English program on looting in the Holy Land.

Putting the Chin in China

Moving much further East, there’s been plenty of excitement stirred up by a jawbone from China. In particular, this fragment of a mandible brought forward by Erik Trinkhaus and others appears to be a piece of the oldest anatomically modern human found outside of Africa — some 60,000 years older, in fact. Razib at Gene Expression describes some of what this does to the evolutionary story of our species, while John Hawks (along with providing the title for this section) talks about implications of the morphology of the fragment. Dienekes’ Anthropology blog and provide some context and interesting threads of commentary. The Southeast Asian Archaeology Newsblog points to a well-timed article on some research in China supporting a coastal migration route from Africa to China.

In a more-modern context, Ancient Bodies, Ancient Lives points out that famous terracotta warriors included female figures along with the male ones that seem to get all the press.

Water, water, nowhere?

On October 17, the surface elevation of Lake Mead hit a new low — lower than it’s seen since the reservoir was first filled in the 1930’s. John Fleck points out the historical significance of the event, while Teofilo at Gambler’s House discusses it in the context of the American Southwest’s constant struggles over water, and follows up with a post on water control at Mesa Verde.

Things modern

Ciarán Brewster of Ad Hominim discusses a modern news report on a study professing that cancer is a modern phenomenon — and finds it’s much ado about little. Anthropology in Practice discusses a rich variety of Trinidadian superstitions about involuntary eye spasms, while Sociological Images talks about other modern irrational behavior in the form of racialized fears in campaign ads and Neuroanthropology discusses the culture of poverty debate. The Distant Mirror does everybody one better by combining two good things — archaeology and beer, while Raymond Ho of The Prancing Papio investigates whether slow lorises are really as venomous as they are sometimes alleged to be (I’m wondering if they’re as slow as their name suggests).


Two too many farewells to report in this carnival — first, Paul S. Martin (prominent advocate of the Pleistocene “overkill” hypothesis) as reported by John Hawks. Second, possibly, of the Anthropology Program at Howard University, as relayed by Savage Minds.

Oh, well. At least we get to say good bye to rinderpest too.

Meta blogging

If this isn’t enough reading material for you, you might want to check out some Archaeo / Anthro reading collections on individual blogs. Maybe Anthropology in Practice’s The Anthro Reader would suit your fancy. Or else, try Savage Mind’s Around the Web.

That brings me to the end of this edition of Four Stone Hearth — hopefully you found some reading material of interest. Tune in again on 10 November for the 105th edition of FSH at Abnormal Interests. Meanwhile, do send Afarensis a note if you’d like to host in the future.

Thanks for swinging by!

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