Why I Blog

Doug’s Archaeology is running a blog carnival prior to the 2013 SAA  Blogging Archaeology (Again) session, a sort-of follow up to my 2011 session in Sacramento, which remains sadly unpublished.

Like Bill, a fellow archaeology blogging dinosaur, I think I may have answered the question, why I blog, before, and I’m also answering late.

I’ve been blogging archaeology for over a decade now; my first blog was during my first field school in 2001, at the Juliette Street Project in Dallas, Texas. I started it because I wanted to keep my friends back in Austin up to date with what I was doing, but I was too lazy to write individual emails. It was public-but-private, more of an experiential blog as I was learning what archaeology was all about. Happily, the blog is long gone, deleted in a moment of self-consciousness when I got into grad school.

Middle Savagery started as a livejournal in 2006, and it is probably telling that it began with this entry:

Screen shot 2013-12-07 at 4.59.47 PM

 

Reading through the old entries, I miss how casual it was, how much more akin to Tumblr-style blogging, with fragments of words, stolen poems, photos. My blogging has gotten overly formal, possibly as a result of too much academic writing. It started as love letters to all the people that I moved away from or couldn’t be with, and has ended up as grist for the academic grind.

Why am I still blogging? Indeed. I frequently ran out of words while I was writing my thesis, leaving none to spare for the blog. Still, I keep updating Middle Savagery. It’s mine, my own thing, and in the morass of academic publishing, I have a platform I can experiment with. I can be as dopey and full of purple prose as I want to be, or call out misdeeds, or summarize academic articles. Through some trick of luck, people read my stuff.

Over the years I probably should have been more strategic, made a Facebook fan page for the blog, optimized my titles, tagging and search results–10 Mysterious Archaeological Artifacts That Will Change Your Child’s Diet and Your Husband’s Sex Drive! But no. I’ll keep wittering on, and Middle Savagery will change and grow in a slightly stilted, awkward fashion, just as I do.

 

Four Stone Hearth #80

If you follow 1-80 for 2,900 miles, you end up in New York.

While much of the world has already woken up, drank their coffee and read the newsp….er, checked out news online, it’s 6am here in California and time for a new Four Stone Hearth! I like the big, round numbers in our honored series, having hosted Four Stone Hearth #60 just a little while ago. So let’s start!

For those of you thinking of hitching your way down FSH80, you might be relieved to know that thumbs are not required for tool use among animals. Michelle over at SpiderMonkeyTales disputes the anatomical linkage to a perceived exclusive use of tools by humans and chimpanzees. Thumbs? Who needs ’em?

A few other pieces from our friends who study our more or less distant cousins, a discussion of the Science article regarding chimpanzee and human amino acids from John Hawks and from Ed Yong. A Primate of Modern Aspect has a post on The third trochanter and gluteus maximus of Ardipithecus and what they tell us about locomotion. Sadly, Eric Michael Johnson comes along to put poor Ardi in her place, with Breaking the Chain: Ardipithecus is not a Missing Link. Finally, Ad Hominin zeros in on the fascination with the forehead and the differences between us, Homo erectus, and Neandertals in Full Frontal Hominins.

Influenza porcina en México by Sarihuella.

Only one submission from our friends in the Socio-Cultural realm this edition: Krystal D’Costa’s Anthropology in Practice takes on issues of authority and knowledge in the modern day in her posts Much Ado About the (Swine) Flu and Minerva Revealed: Questions of Authority in a Digital World.  I hadn’t heard of the Korean financial guru “Minerva,” but I constantly encounter anthropologists who are worried about interpretive authority and authorship online, so it was a good read.

Junction of US 64 and US 160, Teec Nos Pos, Arizona, from Gambler's House

Plenty from the archaeologists, however–we’re a bit talky, I suppose.  Gambler’s House has a long, lovely photo essay and discussion of Pueblo and Navajo identity, past and present. Farther north, Northwest Coast Archaeology tackles a controversial CRM Problem in Cadboro Bay. Apparently a builder had an archaeological assessment performed on land that had a lot of archaeological sites, and then completely ignored the report and built anyway. It will be interesting to see how this case develops.

Martin, the pater familias of FSH, blogs about a curious statue that was found by metal detectorists in Denmark. Is it Odin? No, it’s Freya!

One of my colleagues responded to my call for blog posts on Facebook with this entry about the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq and their changing way of life.

Finally, in what is perhaps a first, a facebook blog post from John Bartram about a British bank who is now investing in the treasure-hunting firm, Odyssey Marine Exploration. Has the financial world come completely unglued?

Oh, hey, it’s already 7:30!  People in England have just started to think about their first beers of the day, and the sun has fully set in Abu Dhabi, so I should get this posted.  I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Four Stone Hearth, look for the carnival next time at Spider Monkey Tales.