Zooarch Papers Published, and They’re Open Access

The journal Assemblage has just published the Proceedings of the Postgraduate Zooarchaeology Forum held at the University of Sheffield in 2012.  All eight papers can be freely downloaded at the Assemblage website.

All but one of the papers deal with Old World assemblages. The exception is Sofia Tecce’s analysis of animal bones from Estancia Pueyrredón 2 in Argentina. This hunter-gatherer site dates to between 4,900-3,500 BP (yes, roughly the same time period as the Lamoka Lake site). The faunal assemblage is dominated by guanaco (although there are also a lot of unidentified rodents) and Tecce present a pretty comprehensive taphonomic analysis of the guanaco bones.

Publication of these papers is notable for another reason. As the editors, Lizzie Wright and Angela Trentacoste point out, the organizers

…had no funding for this conference, but charged our participants just £10, in the knowledge that many postgraduates are limited by financial constraints. The Sheffield Zooarchaeology team hosted (sometimes multiple) participants in their homes. It is worth mentioning the real lack of opportunities for funding an event such as this – postgraduate conference funding was cut by the Arts and Humanties Research Council in recent years, and The University of Sheffield had no appropriate money that we could apply for. This is a real problem when postgraduates often have little funding themselves.

irregular and uncertain intervals

Their appearance and disappearance is at very irregular and uncertain intervals

James E. DeKay on the “wild pigeon” in Zoology of New-York, or the New-York fauna; comprising detailed descriptions of all the animals hitherto observed within the state of new-york, with brief notices of those occasionally found near its borders, and accompanied by appropriate illustrations. Part II Birds. Carroll and Cook, Albany, NY. 1844, p. 197.

Worked Antler Artifact from Lamoka Lake

Information provided with the permission of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 10th and Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20560-0193. (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/)
Information provided with the permission of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 10th and Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20560-0193. (http://www.nmnh.si.edu/)

 

In 1950, the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences donated several modified bone and antler artifacts from the Lamoka Lake Site to the Smithsonian Institution. One of them was the artifact above (Accession No. A397991), made from a white-tailed deer or possibly elk (wapiti) antler.

William Ritchie, in his 1932 report, considered this and other artifacts like it as possible pendants, amulets, or tally sticks. They may also have had a more practical use. Some antler artifacts from the site were also decorated with red ochre stripes.  To my knowledge, these artifacts have not been studied by anyone else since the original analysis by Ritchie in the 1920s.

Circa 4,500 year old Trackway in Ireland?

Around the same time native Americans were living at the Lamoka Lake site, Celts in Ireland were building a trackway, or wooden road, over the bogs near Galway Bay. That’s based on an estimated date between 3,500 and 4,500 years ago; it appears no radiocarbon dating has been conducted yet.

Discoverer Alan Keogh “had heard about the drowned forest and recognised the significance of what appeared to be a ‘symmetrical structure’ below a line of peat.”

According to Geologist Mike Williams “It could have been built during the late Neolithic or early Bronze age era, and may have been ceremonial or may have been built across wetland which was decaying forest, forming into bog.”

Another wooden artifact, the Bearna canoe, was found in the same part of Ireland several years ago and has been dated to 4,740 years ago.

“The canoe was freshwater, and these people used them for fishing and as a form of transport – like our stand-up paddle-boards.”

The Irish Times

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.

OpenCulture.com 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

Stupendous! The ROM is bringing its Passenger Pigeons out of Storage

New research question: Is it possible to write an article about passenger pigeons without using the adjective “stupendous”? This article in The Star uses it, while talking about the Royal Ontario Museum’s plan to put some of their 153 stuffed Ectopistes back on display, as well as how the DNA from one of their birds is being used in an ambitious plan to recreate the passenger pigeon.

ROM curator Mark Peck with specimens from the museum’s collection of extinct passenger pigeons. Source: Keith Beaty / Toronto Star.