April 01, 2015

12:20 PM | March Pieces Of My Mind #2
I broke the rice cooker’s handle. Then I fixed it. Jrette smiled and called this macho display. I replied that I wasn’t actually using my willie for the work and that breasts wouldn’t get in the way. Me: Can I put the manual for your thermos flask in the recycling? Wife: No, I want to…
7:13 AM | Prehistoric rock crystal extraction in the Alps
I have written about the most famous rock crystal find from the Swiss Alps, the Planggenstock Treasure and the use of rock crystal through the millennia before. We know where the Planggenstock Treasure and other recent finds were originally found. … Continue reading →
6:00 AM | Microfossil of the Month: Jigsaw phytoliths
This month's microfossil is a 'jigsaw' phytolith, or rather phytoliths, as it is actually a tissue fragment consisting of multiple conjoined silicified cells. These jigsaw types are associated with the epidermis of woody dicotyledonous plants, though they are also found in herbaceous plants. The two images show the same phytolith in two different focal planes. The uppermost image being the upper epidermis, and the lowermost image showing the underlying layer of 'regular' shaped cells, or the […]

March 31, 2015

2:32 AM | Bones - Season 10, Episode 11 (Review)
Welcome back, everyone, to the second half of this season's Bones.  The premiere happened while I was hanging out with real biological anthropologists at this year's American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference, so I didn't have time for my favorite fake anthropologist last Thursday.  I hope to get to the rest of the season's episodes in a timely manner, but I also have a real job so things might slide a little bit.  Without further ado, let's see if I remember how […]

March 27, 2015

5:30 PM | King Richard III's Monumental Tomb Unveiled
Richard III's tombstone was lowered into place overnight, marking the king's final resting place in Leicester cathedral. Continue reading →

March 26, 2015

1:20 PM | My Bronze Age Book Is Out
Dear Reader, it is with great pleasure that I announce the PDF publication of my fifth monograph,* In the Landscape and Between Worlds. The paper version will appear in April or May. Here’s the back-cover blurb. Bronze Age settlements and burials in the Swedish provinces around Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren yield few bronze objects and…
12:53 PM | Archaeology versus History
I was alerted to a blog post a few weeks ago with the (deliberately I'm sure) provocative title Archaeology is just an expensive way of finding out what historians already know... Of course I immediately felt the need to...actually I didn't. The post does have a point. Archaeology is indeed usually more expensive than historical research. I don't think the central criticism of the article is specific to archaeology. What is actually being complained about here is poorly designed research, […]
2:23 AM | Twerking, limericks, and 3D printing: PbO at the 2015 AAPAs
This Saturday, from 9:15-10am, I'll be presenting (with my grad student, Andrea Acosta) a poster about teaching Human Osteology.  It's in a session called "Triumphs and Tribulations in Teaching," and it's sure to be a fun session and discussion (that part starts at 10:15).  I'm looking forward to visiting St. Louis for the first time, seeing lots of old friends, and making new ones.Here's an image of the poster we're presenting (click to embiggen). If you're desperate for a PDF, just […]

March 25, 2015

3:50 PM | Richard III Reburial: Is England Honoring a Murderer?
England is bestowing honors upon Richard III during his reburial, but historians reveal the man as a brutal leader with blood on his hands. Continue reading →

March 24, 2015

3:32 PM | Going down the Danube – Meso2015
Last week we received confirmation our abstract for a paper at the 9th International Conference on the Mesolithic in Europe (Belgrade, sept 2015) has been excepted. The program is now online as well. See you in Belgrade! Late Mesolithic artefact … Continue reading →
1:26 PM | Can We Interpret Smoking Habits in Historic Skeletal Remains?
This semester I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach an introductory archaeology course that I designed from scratch. This week of teaching is definitely my favorite […]

Walker, D. & Henderson, M. (2010). Smoking and health in London's East End in the first half of the 19th century, Post-Medieval Archaeology, 44 (1) 209-222. DOI: 10.1179/174581310X12662382629373


March 23, 2015

8:12 PM | Bidding Farewell to Richard III: Photos
Follow the procession of one of the most unusual royal funerals in Britain's history.
1:25 PM | 500,000-Year-Old Tools Show Humans Butchered Elephants
Stone tools that are half a million years old have been unearthed in Israel — and they still have traces of elephant fat clinging to them.

March 22, 2015

2:13 PM | King Richard III's Reburial: Live at the Scene
King Richard III will finally be given a proper burial, 530 years after his death in battle. Continue reading →

March 21, 2015

4:11 PM | Childhood Horrors
Ken & Robin have an interesting discussion in the most recent episode of their podcast, on childhood fears. Specifically, they talk about childhood responses to horror stories and movies. I was inspired to write about my own childhood horrors. Luckily there were no actual horrors in my childhood. Nobody around me was violent or insane…

March 20, 2015

12:28 PM | Week 42 Volunteering At the Royal College of Surgeons
This week at the College I started photographing and recording the deciduous teeth in the current collection. This is an extremely delicate task as the teeth are so small and fragile. I had to carefully line the teeth up, arranged by tooth type, and take a photograph using a 1cm scale bar for reference.  It has […]

March 19, 2015

4:38 PM | Hominin Iron Chef
The way I've set up this semester's upper-level Human Origins class includes an in-class lecture on Tuesdays and then an in-class lab period on Thursdays.  For most of the semester, we've been poring over hominin skull casts, but that's gotten a bit repetitive and the students and I are all fatigued by the varying sagittal crests, supraorbital ridges, and foramina magna positions.  To shake things up, this week I asked the students to create dishes to bring to a pot-luck hominin […]
1:20 PM | March Pieces Of My Mind #1
Oh fuck. I just installed the operating system update/trojan that makes this particular Samsung smartphone model slow. I wonder how classical liberalism views labour unions. On the one hand, the right to form one is clearly a civil liberty. On the other hand, it can be seen as what Smith called a “conspiracy of businessmen”,…

March 17, 2015

9:56 PM | Richard III's Remains Sealed Inside Coffin
King Richard III's twisted skeleton was sealed Sunday inside a lead-lined coffin ahead of the king’s reburial next week. Continue reading →
5:34 PM | 'For Allah' Inscription Found on Viking Era Ring
A ring with a rose-colored stone constitutes evidence for direct interactions between the Vikings and the Islamic world. Continue reading →
1:16 PM | Climate Change and the Chinchorro Mummies
The Chinchorro mummies are quite different from the traditional linen-wrapped mummies of Egypt that we often equate this the term ‘mummy’. Recently, these mummies from Chile and Peru have become […]

March 16, 2015

1:20 PM | Prequel to Pickwick
Stephen Jarvis’s upcoming novel Death and Mr Pickwick is a sprawling book, in terms both of its 800-page girth and of its structure. I’ve read the first third and decided to write about it now before I forget the details. There’s a present-day frame story about the narrator writing the book, commissioned by an old…

March 13, 2015

7:20 PM | Archaeologists Find 250-Year-Old Pretzel: Photos
Carbon dating showed the pastries were made between 1700 and 1800.
7:15 PM | World's Oldest Pretzel Found in Germany
The baked goods were totally carbonized, which is why they have been preserved for some 250 years. Continue reading →
11:36 AM | A Tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett
Yesterday I came back from volunteering from the terribly sad news that Sir Terry Pratchett had died. I am so incredibly sad and I still can’t believe it. He was a wonderful, witty man who created a wonderful world that now exists in the hearts and minds so many people. For me not only did Sir Terry […]

March 10, 2015

2:41 PM | Giant subfossil lemur graveyard discovered, submerged, in Madagascar
Yesterday my friend at work send me this paper because she had heard of my interest in bones. This article features a graveyard – not of humans but of fossil lemurs and other fauna. An expedition of some flooded freshwater caves in Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, Madagascar was undertaken to investigate the paleontological potential of the caves. On […]
1:06 PM | The Transition from Living to Dead in Neolithic Italy
I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels. They are a perfect blend of intellectual references, irreverent creativity and humor that is perfect for breaking down the […]

Robb, J., Elster, E., Isetti, E., Knüsel, C., Tafuri, M. & Traverso, A. (2015). Cleaning the dead: Neolithic ritual processing of human bone at Scaloria Cave, Italy, Antiquity, 89 (343) 39-54. DOI: 10.15184/aqy.2014.35

12:50 PM | 3,000 Skeletons Recovered at London Train Station Site
The ancient skeletons will eventually be re-buried at a cemetery near London.

March 09, 2015

11:00 PM | Alexander the Great-Era Treasure Found in Israeli Cave
Coins and jewelry from the time of Alexander the Great have been found by hikers in a stalactite filled cave in northern Israel. Continue reading →
11:00 PM | Coins, Jewelry From Alexander the Great Era: Photos
The 2,300-year-old cache includes silver coins of Alexander the Great, who conquered the region in the late fourth century B.C.
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