Monthly Archives: October 2013

Weekend

image 2 image 3 image 6 image 15 image 17 image 18 image 38 image 49 image Photo0656 Photo0661 Photo0671Archaeology conference on Saturday last. Amazing stuff as the speakers were interdisciplinary. There were sociologists, geophysists (with results from Stonehenge), archaeologists, anthropologists and a football supporter. They came from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, the US and Norway (and perhaps other places as well. The conference was about gatherings with an obvious archaeological slant. These people watch people so well it was amazing, from football to protests, from current patriotism to past rituals, from rock concerts to railways. I missed the medieval music and the Sunday talks due to a funeral (Michael Parker Pearson from timeteam was talking on the Sunday), but enjoyed what I did see and hear. Wordwell was also there and I got a few books from him – one was a book introducing the architectural inventory of the area, which I found very interesting indeed.

Monday I went to the northerly shore of the Island. Giants Causeway and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge. The weather was “dramatic” with the storm towards the south – so several seasons in one day. The bridge was open and worth a visit. There was a lady who couldn’t make it across but the guide there was amazing and helped her across with her partner. It was only a problem for me in that there were a few ladies behind me and one of them thought it would be funny to jump up and down. No issue with heights and the visual drama was appreciated, but I was slightly seasick upon arrival at the other end. The Giants causeway was great to see (go at low tide and wear appropriate gear, especially shoes) and I had a good chat with one of the guides out on the rocks. As I said to him – he has a tougher job than a shepherd, as sheep have more sense than some people. The site is wild and in no way softened for visitors who in any way wish to behave recklessly. Wet basalt rocks are no place for high heels, climbing with children who can not walk, or wearing a papoose with a baby in it and brogue shoes. People watching again I suppose, it may be catching. The northern shore is also home to the main supply of flint for the island (and was used very effectively in the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages. Where it couldn’t be found Chert was used. Good week so far.

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Should I do this as a business?

Asking the question probably answers it to a certain extent. Its either do it or don’t. Making shelves for people in return for money is in theory easy. The issues are demand and supply. Firstly there needs to be the connection between people tripping across piles of books and getting shelves to solve this problem. Secondly there is the idea of the shelf. Primarily it should be furniture. My reasoning for this is it is the best return on investment. Anything stuck to the wall can not be rearranged and if removed leaves holes. Holes in any wall are not viewed as a positive feature and doubly so if the property is rented or you are thinking of moving on in the future. Shelves as furniture are an asset. They look well and if made well, they last well. They can be rearranged, moved, sold or given to someone who will appreciate good quality. On the supply side there are numerous sets of shelves and bookcases out there. The issues there are value for money too. You shouldn’t need a mortgage, nor should you be forced to buy low cost kits that after the slightest damage turn out to be temporary.

Reading Pratchett I find I agree with the character Vimes when he looks at the price and quality of boots. The rich pay 150 for a pair of boots that are waterproof and last for 4 – 5 years. The poor buy boots that cost 40 and leak almost straight away and buy a pair each year. So the poor pay more and still have wet feet. Good quality shelves or bookcases are in the same category. They look well and keep the books well. They last well and tag along with you through life. They are worth something if you want to sell them. I like value for money – either getting it or giving it, but I am living in a society where a company pays more for advertising than manufacture. Needs more thought.

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Buying petrol without having cars

I looked about on the net recently.

There seems a distinct disconnect between selling books and selling bookshelves. We have book supermarkets, bookshops and online traders. The online traders seem to have the closest relationship and have sections to sell shelves, yet there is seems quite poor uptake – ebay had no bids on any of their shelves listings that I looked at.

People do seem to get as far as books and leave it at that. I find it amazing. Why not pile the shopping in one corner and clothes in another?

It occurs to me that a closer link, done correctly might work, but the sellers and others may have to help people to see that books are more like food than shoes.

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Its been nearly a year.

image 168 image 163 image 141 Photo0350 Photo0376 Photo0612 image 88 image 116I have spent it well but have not blogged in all that time.

Books still play a large part in my life, and still need shelves, bless them. Archaeology is amazing too. The course I am on is a real eye opener. So books on archaeology do move more to the front. The course is with a good and well run institution, but they have a media officer and insist on vetting any material made public using their name. I am in no position to disagree with their request so choose to avoid the issue altogether as I dislike censorship (specially when it comes to my opinions). Aside from the course (wonderful, truly) I have visited and become interested in Archaeology in general. Have I bought a hat and a whip? I did hear jokes last year on hat wearing class and advanced swinging over pits…. but no, no Indiana Jones stuff. The real stuff is better in the long run.

In my own personal readings I have become amazed with the amount of opinions and the number of people who seem to make a living from developing popular/saleable ideas. I like the idea that it is a science and thus should be based on evidence. It should include all evidence on any subject broached and not just the convenient stuff that fits the theory. The grey area is something of a lack of standards in work. There is little regulation or supervision. Its up to people to do their best and then tough it out with their findings against any who for whatever reason, disagree with them.

Grouching over. So what is it all worth. Quoting the late Mike Aston, from the program Time Team, “people like to find things”. It can’t be helped or avoided, nor should it. It is the easier of two halves of Archaeology. Figuring out what happened in the past through tests and analyses (and then bashing theories together) is quite a bit more difficult sometimes. Take the Staffordshire Hoard, figuratively speaking. Its a mass of beautifully made golden, jewel encrusted sword hilts, pommels, armour cheek pieces, etc., recently found in, well, Staffordshire in 2009. A large sum was paid by Museums, and now people want to look at all of it. It has in part been bee put on display. when I say part, it covers more than one museum at a time, given all of the contents. That’s not the good bit though. Imagine being part of a group of people who get to change/correct/enhance history by finding out its story. Jones isn’t Jones as a likeable character because he steals cool stuff, its because he knows about it. The soil the hoard was in will be examined. The hoard will be dated. The area will be looked at to see what the landscape was like at that time and after (after because the hoard may have been in use for some time before it was disposed of) . The items will be examined to see if it all came from the same place and time. Makers or owner marks will be looked for. Bright people will be gathered to make their own cluedo board with scraps of evidence to piece together. Scientists, anthropologists and archaeologists (archaeology is still mainly taught as an Art) will be gathered to think of new ways of wrestling some more clues from the finds. Some of this has already been done.

Being part of a group of people who can add to history and say something like –

“Its part of the legendary King Johns crown jewels”, or “Its a hoard of Viking plunder from as far as Samarkand and Kiev”, or “Robin Hood really did exist but he kept some for himself”, or ……… Imagine getting paid every day to do that.

What have I found? Part of a hengiform post and ditch structure in a high status trivalate circular enclosure. A chance to dig this week on a possible Neolithic house (approx. 4000 BC to 2600 BC). Shiny stuff is ok, but being part of figuring out the past (and getting paid for it) is great.

I will be looking more at books and their home again in the near future.

 

Thank you for reading.

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