About Paleotool

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee fiddler...mostly

Why are there so few Archaeologists in such a large country? America’s Archaeology Employment Problems

Originally posted on Doug's Archaeology:

When I posted that it is estimated that there were only 11,000 archaeologists working in the USA, pre-crash, several people made the comment that it seems like so few for such a big country.

“….it is pretty astounding to think that there are only 11k archaeologists pre-crash in that huuuuuge country.” - Rachel on BAJR facebook group.

The UK had roughly 7,000 archaeologists in that same time frame (pre-crash) with only a population of roughly 64 million people (2014) covering 242,900 sq. km. (land). America by comparison has 318 million people (2014) and covers 9,826,675 sq. km. (land) (sources: populations here and size here).

Why?

The reason is simple, laws. In the UK heritage protection laws cover almost everywhere, now even marine as well. Effectively, the UK government owns everything six inches below the ground ( a simplification but it works). In Scotland, it owns all lost objects, except…

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Chilling Out With “Mammoths: Ice Age Giants”

Originally posted on What's In John's Freezer?:

Mammoths and I go way back, not quite to the Ice Age but at least to the late 1970s with my family’s visits to the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum, and Milwaukee Public Museum, to name two prominent places that inspired me. And one of my favourite science books had a colourful mammoth painting on the cover (I’m trying to find and post it here; stay tuned), an image that has stayed with me as awesomely evocative.

Stomach-Churning Rating: 3/10. But there’s a butt below, but that’s too late for you now. And there’s poo and other scatological (attempts at) humour. Otherwise, bones and a baby mammothsicle.

Fast forward to the 2000′s and I’m studying mammoths, along with their other kin amongst the Proboscidea (elephants and relatives). I even bumped into a frozen mammoth in Sapporo, Japan, nine years ago–

Yep. That's what it looks like. Nope, not the front end. That orifice is not the mouth. This is the XXXXX mammoth. Yep. That’s what it looks like. Nope, not the front…

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4 Unwritten Rules of Professional Archaeology

Originally posted on Doug's Archaeology:

The Archaeology in Tennessee Blog has put out a call to collect the unwritten rules of professional archaeology. Here is a brief blurb on it-

“It occurred to us that similar sets of unwritten rules are probably operative on a conscious or unconscious level in the world of professional archaeology.  These are rules that no one has written down on paper and said, “See this!!!  It’s a rule!!!  You must abide by it stringently at all times.”  Nonetheless, just from working in the discipline of professional archaeology for many decades, archaeologists have picked upon or sensed that such unwritten rules are nonetheless there, and many archaeologists expect other archaeologists to know what those unwritten rules are and to abide by them.  While these unwritten rules may exist, some archaeologists might not be aware of them, some might not subscribe to all of them, and their application may vary…

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Lenna – Beautiful Daughter Of Geronimo c.1900

Originally posted on Retrorambling:

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Lenna Geronimo was born in 1886 in Fort Marion, St. Augustine, FL, while her father was a prisoner there. The medical staff gave her the name Marion, after the fort, but she took the name Lenna upon returning to the Southwest. Lenna Geronimo, the daughter of Geronimo and wife Ih-tedda, a Mescalero Apache, was the full sister of Robert Geronimo, Geronimo’s only living son. Lenna was Bedonkohe-Mescalero.

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After Decades of Frozen Stagnation

It’s not often profitable to point out the negative but conversely, it doesn’t do us good to hide our problems and pretend they don’t exist.

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A little cleaning to start things off.

We have been making small improvements over the past year in the Blackwater Draw Museum and I certainly hope they continue.  We began by removing decades of accumulated junk, hoarded telephone books, outdated flyers, broken appliances, broken electronics, food containers, etc. that accumulated in the backrooms of the museum.  Now we begin a new phase.  We are still extremely limited by budget but a little enthusiasm from students and a little guidance can go a long way toward making things better.  Many thanks to those who began helping last year and who are moving us forward into a new era.

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Brightening and creating a clean look.

Much to everyone’s consternation, Some displays have lingered, unfinished, for 20 years.  This level of apathy brings me actual physical pain but enthusiastic volunteers were found to kickstart a new look.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph this before we began but this is a couple hours into work.  Tattered labels are removed, and a base layer of blue was put into the oceans.

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Coastlines were repaired, poorly-placed elements removed, and color is layered on.

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The artist not only repaired Cuba, Florida, the Canadian islands and lakes, but was so bold she added Iceland as well.

More to come as we move forward.

Eight mummies, eight lives, eight stories

Originally posted on British Museum blog:

John H Taylor and Daniel Antoine, curators, British Museum

We may think that we know the ancient Egyptians on account of the abundance of carved and painted images and the many texts on stone and papyrus that have survived, but these sources convey a formal, partial and sanitised view; to a large degree they tell us only what the Egyptians wanted posterity to know.

The first mummy entered the Museum’s collection in 1756, and for the past 200 years none of the mummies have been unwrapped. But modern technology, in the form of the CT (computed tomography) scanner, has transformed the way that we can study them, allowing us to see within the wrappings and the mummified bodies, in a non-invasive and non-destructive manner.

We can now look behind the mask of material culture and encounter the actual people of the ancient Nile Valley through a forensic study of their…

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Co-rex-ions (a thoughtful read)

Originally posted on What's In John's Freezer?:

This post is solely my opinion; not reflecting any views of my coauthors, my university, etc, and was written in my free time at home. I am just putting my current thoughts in writing, with the hope of stimulating some discussion. My post is based on some ruminations I’ve had over recent years, in which I’ve seen a lot of change happening in how science’s self-correcting process works, and the levels of openness in science, which are trends that seem likely to only get more intense.

That’s what this post ponders- where are we headed and what does it mean for scientists and science? Please stay to the end. It’s a long read, but I hope it is worth it. I raise some points at the end that I feel strongly about, and many people (not just scientists) might also agree with or be stimulated to think about more.

I’ve…

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The Early Holocene Survival of Late Pleistocene Megafauna in the Americas

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

Most Pleistocene species of North American megafauna stopped occurring in the fossil record about 12,000 calender years ago.  It is remarkable how consistently the latest terminal radiocarbon dates of Pleistocene megafauna cluster around this time boundary.  Specimens that date to younger than this boundary are always questioned and resubmitted for another round of radiocarbon dating till a more believable result is attained, or they are dismissed as “contaminated” samples.  One notable exception to this rule was the discovery that mammoths survived on the Pribiloff Islands located between Siberia and Alaska until about 4000 calender years ago.  (See:http://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/the-late-extinction-of-the-pribiloff-island-mammoths/).  Another accepted exception are some of the fossils of dwarf ground sloths found on Carribean islands.  They also date to just a few thousand years ago.  However, these late survival sites are considered special cases explained by the isolation of islands.  The consistent terminal radiocarbon dates on the mainland suggested to scientists…

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