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 theverge.com 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.

More Free Archaeology Articles from Taylor and Francis

The Day of Archaeology is, yes, just one day long, but, as part of the celebration, Taylor and Francis is making 100 archaeology articles free to download for the next month and a half.

The free haul includes a wide assortment of papers from the Norwegian Archaeological Review (Theory! And Vikings!), World Archaeology (Is there a happier way to start your abstract than “Unusual funerary behavior is now an exciting area of research”?), Azania (the bananas in Africa debate, and more), Danish Journal of Archaeology (Including Mesolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age research. And more Vikings),  and Time & Mind (Rock art, archaeoacoustics, and a little more unusual funerary behavior).

Check out the actual titles at Taylor & Francis’s 100 free archaeology articles.

To Do: View Rock Art in Aruba

I have to go here someday:

Rock art from Fountein Cave, Aruba. CC. Source: wikipedia.org Photo by Nvvchar, Creative Commons BY 2.0.

The rock art of the Caquetío people, according to archaeologist Harold Kelly of the National Archaeological Museum Aruba, includes geometric, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic motifs in red, white, brown, and black. The art at one site, Cunucu Arikok, stands out for its complexity, variety, and quantity. “The combination of white and red colors in a single depiction is something that is not only unique for rock art of Aruba,” says Kelly, “but also the rest of the Caribbean, as far as we know.”

Malin Grunberg Banyasz  www.archaeology.org

 

Economics and Adjunct Teaching

A building in Academia.

Pretty much nailed it:

Just say no. Don’t be an adjunct. Or rather, be an adjunct only if you have a day job, or you’re retired, or if you have a family to raise and a breadwinning spouse. If you love to teach, teach high school. Or get some other kind of real job. Let the law of supply and demand do its work, because drastically reducing the supply of academic victims is the only way colleges will stop victimizing them.

Charlotte Allen in the Los Angeles Times

World War I Archaeology and More: Open Access Articles

For the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, Maney Publishing has made available for free download 100 scholarly articles dealing with World War I, including several on battlefield archaeology. The articles will be available to download, with no sign in necessary, through August 2014 at their website:

www.maneyonline.com/ww1
A sample of the articles available:
The Spanish Lady Comes to London: the Influenza Pandemic 1918-1919
Andrea Tanner, The London Journal
Academic Freedom Versus Loyalty at Columbia University During World War I: A Case Study
Charles F Howlett, War & Society
‘An Infinity of Personal Sacrifice’: The Scale and Nature of Charitable Work in Britain during the First World War
Peter Grant, War & Society
They don’t like it up ’em!: Bayonet fetishization in the British Army during the First World War
Paul Hodges, Journal of War & Culture Studies
Naming the unknown of Fromelles: DNA profiling, ethics and the identification of First World War bodies
J L Scully and R Woodward, Journal of War & Culture Studies
‘Those Who Survived the Battlefields’ Archaeological Investigations in a Prisoner of War Camp Near Quedlinburg (Harz / Germany) from the First World War
Volker Demuth, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Not so Quiet on the Western Front: Progress and Prospect in the Archaeology of the First World War
Tony Pollard and Iain Banks, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Archaeology of a Great War Dugout: Beecham Farm, Passchendaele, Belgium
P Doyle, P Barton and J Vandewalle, Journal of Conflict Archaeology
Excavating Under Gunfire: Archaeologists in the Aegean During the First World War
David W J Gill, Public Archaeology
Remembering War, Resisting Myth: Veteran Autobiographies and the Great War in the Twenty-first Century
Vincent Andrew Trott, Journal of War & Culture Studies

“quite a famously extinct species”

A female passenger pigeon in the collection of the Whanganui Regional Museum in New Zealand
A female passenger pigeon in the collection of the Whanganui Regional Museum in New Zealand

The Whanganui Regional Museum in New Zealand has three passenger pigeons in their collections, including this somewhat pale female donated to the museum in the nineteenth century by German ornithologist Otto Finsch.

Dr. Erich Dorfman, author of the quote above, described their specimens in this blog post.

Seneca Subsistence and Trade in the Eighteenth Century

A recent study of bones from an early historic Iroquois site includes a comparison with the much earlier animal bones from the Lamoka Lake site as well as some interesting passenger pigeon finds.

Adam Watson and Stephen Cox Thomas studied animal bones from the early 18th century Townley-Read site in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The Seneca who lived at the site may have hunted deer year-round. Deer hides, as well as furs from other animals, would have been traded with European colonists. The detailed taphonomic analysis also indicates that deer bones were likely processed to extract the fat-rich grease from the spongy portions of the bones. This is usually considered to be evidence of nutritional stress, but they make the case that processing for bone grease was “a planned accumulation of resources rather than an ad hoc response to seasonal food shortfalls.” (p. 115)

Also of interest is the identification of passenger pigeon bones from one feature at the site. Passenger pigeon, of course, tends to be present at prehistoric archaeological sites in the region with good bone preservation, but in this case, four of the bones are from immature pigeons, providing good evidence specifically for the procurement of squabs in the springtime.

A small number of American eel bones, in contrast, are more likely to indicate fishing in the fall, when eels are heading downstream to spawn.

As a whole, the assemblage has some interesting differences from both earlier and later archaeological sites in New York.  The authors provide a detailed and well-researched analysis of the animal bones from this Iroquois site to make the point that “the evidence for economic resilience and stability at Townley-Read contradicts a narrative of pervasive and unimpeded decline, and reinforces the importance of continuing to build and test empirical models grounded in both local and regional archaeological and historical data.” (p. 115)

Watson, Adam S. and Stephen Cox Thomas

2013The Lower Great Lakes Fur Trade, Local Economic Sustainability and the Bone Grease Buffer: Vertebrate Faunal Remains from the Eighteenth Century Seneca Iroquois Townley-Read Site. Northeast Anthropology 79-80: 81–123.