Passenger Pigeons on New Hampshire Public Radio

How many is a lot? When you’re talking passenger pigeons, that question is more controversial than you might think.

I was fortunate to be able to participate in a discussion of passenger pigeon population numbers for the Outside/In podcast, which is a production of New Hampshire Public Radio. Author Charles Mann was also interviewed because his book, 1491, repeated an earlier claim that passenger pigeon remains are rarely found on archaeological sites and questioned whether passenger pigeons were truly abundant before the 1800s.

Listen to the episode, Tempest in a Teacup, at the Outside/In website, or wherever you normally get your podcasts.

“Doctorates are so weird”

That’s No Dog

Another example of why you should always hire a professional zooarchaeologist when you find animal bones on your site (in this case, the professional zooarchaeologist was Renee Walker):

via GIPHY

The Dog That Wasn’t: An Historical Pig Burial on the Sixteenth-Century AD Klock Site, Fulton County, New York

Hart, John P., and Robert S. Feranec. 2019. The Dog That Wasn’t: An Historical Pig Burial on the Sixteenth-Century AD Klock Site, Fulton County, New York.  Archaeology of Eastern North America 47:1-6.

Abstract. An articulated animal skeleton was found in a pit feature at the cal. sixteenth-century AD Klock site in Fulton County, New York during New York State Museum excavations in 1970. The skeleton was reported as a dog burial associated with the Native American occupation in Funk and Kuhn’s 2003 report on the site. Recent analysis indicates that the animal was a six-month-old domesticated pig. A radiocarbon date on the skeleton indicates the animal was most likely buried in the cal. nineteenth century AD, well after the Native American occupation of the site.

A Point from the Ellison Site

Haven’t had too much archaeology on the Ledger recently, so a here’s a projectile point from the Ellison Site, which is just uphill from the Lamoka Lake site. A brief surface survey of part of the site was undertaken with the permission of the landowner. Known as a Brewerton point, this likely dates to the Middle Archaic, or earlier than the occupation of the Lamoka Lake site.

Side-Notched Projectile Point
Brewerton Side-Notched point (PP#3) from the Ellison Site. Source: TCM
Tip of projectile point
Tip of Brewerton Side-Notched Point (PP#3). Source: TCM

Visiting Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Source: TCM

There’s some cool geology on display at Paint Mines Interpretive Park, operated by El Paso County on the plains of Colorado, about 35 miles northeast of Colorado Springs. Colored bands of clay, about 55 million years old, are sandwiched between white sandstone layers. Erosion has shaped the landscape into a badlands of hoodoos and spires. The different colors of clay are striking, but many photos on the internet appear to have been aggressively photoshopped to accentuate the effect.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Source: TCM
Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Source: TCM
Continue reading “Visiting Paint Mines Interpretive Park”

A Career in Classics and Anthropology, in and out of Academia

One person’s experience in and advice on combining classics, anthropology, and human osteology in a career: The Skeleton in My Closet by Kristina Killgrove. There’s some weird-sounding situations, like the quote below, that make me wonder what else was going on, but the advice is pretty solid.

While there was interest among the students in a Roman archaeology offering, my archaeology division head didn’t allow it: a regular semester course would take away from the “real archaeology classes,” and that would be unfair to other faculty’s enrollment, I was told

Early Images of the Classical World: Daguerreotypes of the Monumental Journey


Olympieion, Athens, Viewed from the East, 1842. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Qatar Museum Collections (IM.314)

In the 1840s, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, a French photographer and architectural historian, took thousands of photographic images of monuments of Greece, Italy, Egypt, and other countries during a three-year long trip around the Mediterranean. The daguerrotypes he produced are the oldest known surviving photos of these locations.

Continue reading “Early Images of the Classical World: Daguerreotypes of the Monumental Journey”

Free Books from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

Several archaeology books from the backlist at the Cotsen Institute at UCLA are available for free download:

An Archaeologist’s Guide to Chert and Flint – Luedtke 1992

The South American Camelids: An Expanded and Corrected Edition – Bonavio 2009

Maya Zooarchaeology: New Directions in Method and Theory – Emery 2004

A Conservation Manual for the Field Archaeologist – Sease 1994

About 20 more titles on Greek, Mesoamerican, and California archaeology are available from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

Archaeology at Petra 1929

The site of Petra in Jordan had been a tourist destination for almost a century when two British archaeologists, George Horsfield and Agnes Conway, arrived in what was then called the British Mandate Transjordan. Petra 1929 transcribes the field journal of their excavations in and around the Nabataean city.

The Treasury at Petra from Al Siq. Source: David Bjorgen [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]