Rantin' and Rovin'

Digging Deeper

Got Swag? Investigating 1st Millennium Scottish Beads at SAA2015

Got Swag? Investigating 1st Millennium Scottish Beads at SAA2015

I gave a talk about Scottish beads at the Annual Meeting for the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) in San Francisco roughly a week ago. In the spirit of open access, I’m going to reproduce that talk here for you…

Why Should You Care about Archaeology?

Why Should You Care about Archaeology?

We tend to look at the past and think, “People back then didn’t know that much. We’re so much smarter now.” We look at the past with a sort of superiority complex, acting like we’re somehow more capable, smarter, and…

How to Find Truth in Ancient Art

How to Find Truth in Ancient Art

A few days ago, my friend wrote a post about art in archaeology and whether it is artistic expression or an accurate representation of how things were at that time. This is a question that has plagued archaeologists and art…

Whaling and the Industrial Revolution Part 1: Why Whales?

Whaling and the Industrial Revolution Part 1: Why Whales?

Whaling was one of the largest industries in New England during the 20th century, and it fueled the Industrial Revolution. At Mystic Seaport, we often say that the economy of the Industrial Revolution was built on the backs of whales.…

Theoretical Building Blocks

Theoretical Building Blocks

Theories in archaeology are tools. Different theories work better in different situations, just as different tools work better for different jobs. Academics will use these theoretical tools in different ways, because they are trying to figure out what their data mean. They’re going to use the tools they think best to solve the problem.

Archaeology Isn’t About Stuff

Archaeology Isn’t About Stuff

There are a lot of popular conceptions about archaeology and archaeologists. Some of these are more truthful than others, but most of them all emphasize archaeologists’ obsession with objects. But archaeology isn’t really about stuff, it’s about people.

Starbucks and the Archaeology of an Archaeologist

Starbucks and the Archaeology of an Archaeologist

About two weeks ago, Robert Chapple made a somewhat unusual archaeology post. He contacted a number of colleagues from around the world and asked them to send him a photo of their desk, right then and there, no tidying allowed. Here’s the problem: I don’t actually have my own desk.

Branching Out from Archaeology

Archaeologists often pride themselves in being interdisciplinary. We study objects, landscape, geology, environmental science, biological science, chemistry, art, history, craft production, literature, physics, philosophy, agriculture, husbandry, and the list can honestly go on and on and on. One thing we don’t do so well with is admitting that a non-archaeologist may have valuable insight into our problem.

Questioning Theories of Violent Invasion

Last week, Past Horizons posted about a recent study that questioned the notion that Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain and violently displaced any contemporary local population. The study looked at burials from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Oxfordshire. The cemetery was in use over roughly 150 years, from the mid-5th through early 7th centuries, making it ideal for a study on population origins.

Who Should Be in Charge of Archaeological Sites?

Who Should Be in Charge of Archaeological Sites?

On Monday, Can You Dig It? posted a piece about the management of World Heritage Sites that asked one of the big Tough Questions of archaeology: once we find a site, who gets to use it and how?

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