How to Make Battleship Curves

…the old-school way, with paperclips. David Hurst Thomas illustrates:

“Seriation diagrams were once constructed by hand (literally). Frequencies of temporal types were converted to percentages, then drawn on individual strips, which were then moved up or down until they approximated a series of battleship-shaped curves (Ford, 1962: fig.8). This tedious and subjective procedure has since been replaced by computer programs.”

David Hurst Thomas 2008, Addressing Variability in the Pooled Radiocarbon Record of St. Catherines Island, in Native American Landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. II The Data. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History No. 88. Figure 16.9.

previously posted on Adequacy.

“Dish Camp” for Historic Ceramics Aficionados-Scholarship Available

Rookwood Pottery Bowl
Rookwood Pottery Bowl, Cincinnati, Ohio. Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art CC0 1.0.

Note that the deadline for applying is coming soon!

Historic Eastfield Foundation is pleased to announce that it will offer two scholarships for emerging ceramics scholars to attend the Historic Ceramics Symposium, better known as “Dish Camp”, June 23-24, 2017 at Historic Eastfield Village in East Nassau, New York. Scholarship recipients will receive a tuition waiver for the two day program, lunch both days, and a period dinner on Saturday night. Recipients will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging. Primitive lodging at Brigg’s Tavern is available on site for no cost.
Those interested in applying should provide a one page written essay that discusses their personal interest in historic ceramics and why they believe that attending Dish Camp would benefit their education. Please send your essay and contact information via email to Debbie Miller, Program Chair, at<>. Continue reading ““Dish Camp” for Historic Ceramics Aficionados-Scholarship Available”

Ignore the Horns: Physicists Explore Viking Social Networks

Real social networks (like, um, Facebook) are different from fictional social networks (like Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings). So what kind of social networks are present in the Icelandic Sagas? that’s what Statistical physicists Ralph Kenna and Pádraig Mac Carron wanted to know.

Veronique Greenwood at writes about what they found. The power and the potential of there approach is summed up by her here:

Tim Tangherlini, a folklorist and professor at UCLA who hosted a 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities meeting on network analysis, sees potential. “There are a lot of latent patterns in this material that you can’t discern overtly. You can do it very well as a trained reader — by developing ways of thinking about the material that let us see latent patterns — but we have a very hard time articulating it.” Algorithms could help make those patterns visible. In the case of social networks, they can reveal which people are the most connected or powerful, as well as how densely connected the network is and the average distance between any two people, qualities that vary depending on the type of group.

For more details, and the horns, see Viking Sagas: Six Degrees of Icelandic Separation.

Open Access Maps

The New York Public Library has scanned and released 20,000 historical maps under a Creative Commons license, including this 1874 map of Tyrone Township showing Lamoka Lake.

you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. We’ve scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people.

That’s a low resolution map below, go to the NYPL Map Warper to see this in high resolution. The library is crowdsourcing the georectification of these maps, which you can also do at the Map Warper. actually explains the georeferencing part better than the NYPL does. Essentially, you can can overlay the historic maps on modern maps, like in Google Earth. Yes, you can download them as .KML files.

Tyrone Township 1874. Low resolution copy. From The Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library