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Posts Tagged ‘prehistoric’

Sindya N. Bhanoo writes at the NY Times about a surprising discovery under the waters of Lake Huron.

“A 9,000-year-old stone structure used to capture caribou has been discovered 120 feet beneath the surface of Lake Huron. Researchers say it is the most complex structure of its kind in the Great Lakes region. …

“The remarkable structure consists of a lane with two parallel lines of stones leading to a cul-de-sac. Within the lines are three circular hunting blinds where prehistoric hunters hid while taking aim at caribou. …

“The site was discovered using sonar technology on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, 35 miles southeast of Alpena, Mich., which was once a dry land corridor connecting northeastern Michigan to southern Ontario.

“In their paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers suggest that the hunting structure was used in the spring, when large groups of hunter-gatherers assembled.”

Hard to imagine life 9,000 years ago. Anthropological archaeologists have the best fun. More here.

Photo: University of Michigan via Associated Press

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There is always so much to share from Andrew Sullivan’s site.  In a recent entry he pointed to a book called The Art Instinct, by Denis Dutton.

“Micah Mattix reviews

“The first feature of our inclination toward art is that we seem to have a universal love of landscape paintings — and not just any landscape, but landscapes similar to those our ancestors would have encountered on the African savanna. A central pillar of evidence for his argument is a 1993 study commissioned by Russian painters Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid that surveyed people from ten diverse countries and found a surprising number of consistent aesthetic preferences. …

“Dutton suggests that this seemingly universal preference for paintings depicting open spaces, trees, water, and animals is related to our ancestors’ search for food and safety. Such landscapes would have presented opportunities for cultivation; and the presence of water and climbable clusters of trees — which could have served as lodgings for game and provided safety from predators — would have been preferred by hunter-gatherers to either a dark forest or desolate plains.” More.

Evolutionary psychology often seems like a stretch, but it’s fun to think about. I do like landscapes.  I also like abstraction. In any case, I’m sure my ancient Picts and Celts ancestors, if such they were, would have liked the 19th century painting Andrew picked to go with his entry.

Who can resist a Turner?

Image: Petworth Park: Tillington Church in the Distance, J. M. W. Turner, c. 1830, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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On Wednesday, according to Todd Feathers in the Boston Globe, a New Hampshire scallop fisherman found something unusual in his catch.

“As Mike and Padi Anderson sold their catch of scallops on the dock Wednesday night in Rye Harbor, N.H., it was not just their shellfish that drew people’s interest. It was an ­object that looks like a 6-inch-long tooth that Mike had dredged up from the ocean earlier that day. …

“A crew member e-mailed a picture to a geologist from the University of New Hampshire, and a short while later the verdict came back: The tooth almost certainly belonged to a woolly mammoth. …

“The tooth weighs about 5 pounds and still has remnants of the root that connected it to the mammoth’s gums, Mike Anderson said in a phone interview from the deck of his boat, the F/V Rimrack. …

“The Andersons, who are married, will have to wait until William Clyde, the geologist, ­returns from a trip to South America before they can confirm that the tooth once belonged to a mammoth, but for them, the preliminary ruling is enough.”

Anderson seems excited to head back out for more archaeology. More.

Reminds me of John Hanson Mitchell and his book Ceremonial Time, which describes his attempts to sense and experience 15,000 years of life around his home in Massachusetts.

Finding a woolly mammoth tooth must really make one pause and think about big things.

Photograph of scallop fisherman Mike Anderson: Ionna Raptis/ Portsmouth Herald via AP

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