Irish Folklore Collected by Schoolchildren in the 1930s

 

“Crom Dubh” Head in Churchyard, Clochán, Cloghane, Co. Kerry. Photo by Caoimhín Ó Danachair. F025.18.00338. www.duchas.ie. CC-BY-NC 4.0

In the 1930s, schoolchildren in Ireland set out to write down local folklore, history, and mythology, like the story of Crom Dubh.  Ireland’s National Folklore Collection has now put a massive collection of these Irish folktales and oral history online.

Approximately 740,000 pages (288,000 pages in the pupils’ original exercise books; 451,000 pages in bound volumes) of folklore and local tradition were compiled by pupils from 5,000 primary schools in the Irish Free State between 1937 and 1939.
This collecting scheme was initiated by the Irish Folklore Commission, under the direction of Séamus Ó Duilearga and Séan Ó Súilleabháin … For the duration of the project, more than 50,000 schoolchildren from 5,000 schools in the 26 counties of the Irish Free State were enlisted to collect folklore in their home districts. This included oral history, topographical information, folktales and legends, riddles and proverbs, games and pastimes, trades and crafts. The children recorded this material from their parents, grandparents, and neighbours.

Read some of the stories (and admire the handwriting) at The Editors’ Picks, or search the entire Schools’ Collection.

Free for All: The Vermont Archaeological Society and the Journal of Vermont Archaeology

The Vermont Archaeological Society is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and they have not only made  pdfs of their journal free to download, they have also made membership in the Society free.

The Journal of Vermont Archaeology has been published since 1994. In it, you can read about the squabble over who discovered Vermont’s first Paleoindian site.

Victor Rolando’s monograph 200 Years of Soot and Sweat: The History and Archeology of Vermont’s Iron, Charcoal, and Lime Industries, originally published in 1992,  is also available for download at their site.

Open Access: Kangaroos and California, Peanut Butter and Jelly

The University of California Press has made all their journal articles freely available for the month of April.

UC Press, which is celebrating their 125th anniversary, publishes California History, where you can read Kangaroos and the California Gold Rush by Cyler Conrad. The first kangaroos arrived in California in 1850 in the form of rugs, or skins; it wasn’t until 1852 that a live kangaroo made the voyage over from Australia.

kangaroo
Source: Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Other journals are Journal of the Society of Architectural HistoriansHistorical Studies in the Natural Sciences, The Public Historian, and Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, which recently published  a history of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Source: Evan-Amos [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
References:

Conrad, Cyler
2017 Kangaroos and the California Gold Rush. California History 94 (3):62-65.  DOI: 10.1525/ch.2017.94.3.62

Estes, Steve
2017 PB&J: The Rise and Fall of an Iconic American Dish. Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 17 (2):5-15.

Archaeology Site Reports from the Charleston Museum, South Carolina

All of the archaeological site reports produced by the Charleston Museum since 1975 are now available for free download. 

Charleston Museum Archaeology Reports 

From the official press release:

The Charleston Museum is pleased to announce that archaeological site reports, produced by its Archaeology Department, are now available online. Comprising 56 reports, the bulk of which were prepared by Curator of Historical Archaeology Martha Zierden, they cover a variety of Lowcountry projects, including urban, plantation and military sites.

The publication of a site report is the final phase of any archaeological project and contains all of the details of a project, from site history and fieldwork discoveries to enumeration of recovered artifacts. Many reports also include detailed assessments from specialists, who analyzed animal bone, examined soil samples for pollen or parasites, or focused on particular artifact types.

The Museum, which has sponsored a program in historical archaeological research in the Lowcountry since the 1970s, is excited to be able to make this information available to the public, thanks to a recent website upgrade and the efforts of several staff members. Curator of Historical Archaeology Martha Zierden notes “because of their limited production and distribution, site reports are often hard to find. Now decades of research from the Museum are available to everyone.” Director Carl Borick added that these reports “are an invaluable window into the Charleston area’s past, and an excellent example of the dedicated research efforts of Martha Zierden, Ron Anthony, and other staff members, who have made a critical contribution to the Museum’s mission.”

3D Printing of Passenger Pigeon “Artifictions”

Just published and open access is a new article that demonstrates the value and potential of 3D scanning and printing for osteological identification of passenger pigeons and other extinct or rare animals.

Some zooarchaeologists have been producing 3D images of animal bones for a while now. This article describes the next step, the creation of actual physical replicas (which they dub “artifictions”, as opposed to artifacts) using 3D printers. The practical goal is to increase the reliable identification of animal species (especially rare or difficult to distinguish ones)  in archaeological faunal assemblages, which now is dependent on the zooarchaeologist having ready access to a large and varied collection of actual animal skeletons.   Why aren’t digital representations of bones enough?

because the scale of digital models is based on the size of the screen upon which they are viewed, making identifications by direct comparison difficult. Artifictions, however, can be scaled accurately and physically placed alongside actual skeletal elements to enable more direct visual comparison and identifica-tion of specimens, comparable to the use of a reference specimen from a comparative skeletal collection. Additionally, the 3D scanned models can be used for species identification based on selected point-to-point morphometric measurements. (p. 16)

For examples, the authors use the passenger pigeon and the harelip sucker, a freshwater fish that, like the passenger pigeon, went extinct near the beginning of the twentieth century.

While there are still some technical (and budgetary) limitations with the 3D printing process, they argue convincingly that “this is the only non-commercial approach that will make available physical representations of skeletal elements from extinct species for quick distribution to a large number of researchers.” (p. 19) Efforts are underway to make these models available for download. Next, somebody needs to buy me a 3D printer.

Reference:

Manzano, Bruce L., Bernard K. Means, Christopher T. Begley, and Mariana Zechini

2015    Using Digital 3D Scanning to Create “Artifictions” of the Passenger Pigeon and Harelip Sucker, Two Extinct Species in Eastern North America: The Future Examines the Past. Ethnobiology Letters 6(2):15-24.

Select Archaeology Books Available for Free Download from Springer

Edit: Or not. Either it was a glitch on Springer’s part, or an extremely short term offer. The books no longer appear to be free. It was nice while it lasted.

Springer has made a big chunk of its catalog of archaeology and other scientific and technical books freely available for download. There are almost 400 archaeology and anthropology books available, including Dent’s Chesapeake Prehistory, Odell’s Lithic Analysis, most/all volumes of the Encyclopedia of Prehistory, and many more. Titles include underwater archaeology, geoarchaeology, historical archaeology, and biological anthropology. See the books at Springer.

Free Access to Recent Geology and Paleontology Articles

Publisher Taylor & Francis is offering free access to all 2013 and 2014 articles from 17 Paleontology and Earth Science journals to celebrate both National Fossil Day and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and the Geological Society of America annual meetings. Articles will be available for free through the end of 2015.

The ten journals are:

Alcheringa
Australian Journal of Earth Sciences
Geodesy and Cartography
GFF (Geological Society of Sweden)
Geodinamica Acta
Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk
Grana
Historical Biology
Ichnos
International Geology Review
Journal of Earthquake Engineering
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
Marine Georesources & Geotechnology
New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics
Palynology
Rocks and Minerals

Access the journals here:

Taylor & Francis