Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hot Links

If you are in the Fresno area, you still might be able to see the falcated duck.

Interesting review of a new book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun. My favorite quote: "He made prototypes and test-fired them with his left hand; if he was maimed by an explosion, he could still draw blueprints with his right".

Researchers study evidence of a two thousand year-old curse found etched into a lead tablet in Antioch. The curse calls on the gods to tie up the greengrocer Babylas, then “drown and chill” his soul. But it appears this was a cut and paste curse.

Forest clearances in Amazonia are yielding more evidence of prehistoric earthworks. When I took South American archaeology back in the 70s, the consensus was the area was barely populated during prehistoric times. In reality, the jungle made it so difficult to do research hardly anyone went to the trouble of looking for the numerous ruins and earthworks hidden there. Clearance of the jungle and modern remote sensing technologies have shown how wrong we were.

On another South American archaeology/culture history topic, this short piece surveys the strange economics of the Inca empire (or Inka, if you prefer). The Inca empire may have been the most authoritarian state society of which we have record. It was a complete command economy with no currency. The Spanish even seem to have been astonished by it.

The largest, most significant archaeological site in North America that no one knows about is arguably Cahokia, a prehistoric Eleventh and Twelfth century city located across the Mississippi from present-day St. Louis. If this article piques your interest I would recommend you read Tim Pauketat's wonderful book, Cahokia, Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi. I started doing archaeology as a high school kid digging contemporaneous sites downriver from Cahokia. We all knew it was a big, important site, but research over the last 40 years has shown Cahokia was the nexus of a complex sophisticated society.

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