This has been reblogged from the Trinity site. Having gone to so many the book shall be interesting reading!
Tag Archives: studying
Firstly I know that this post would be more popular if it had pictures in it. I post using my own photographs because it’s easier to use them and put them into a post as they are usually a direct feature. There may be better (ego prevents me from stating that of course there are better) pictures to put across a message available but I have no right to them. As bloggers we have all come across a picture that has grabbed us in a way we would like to express here but I am something of a black and white person in certain respects. Things get a wee bit grey on occasion and one such was where I say two photographs in a 1940 copy of a National Geographic magazine. They are of the Venus and Winged Victory being manhandled into underground storage in case the German army made it as far as shelling Paris (the April issue of that year). Finding them chimed so well with me looking forward to the upcoming film Monument Men so I decided to contact National Geographic and ask if it was ok to post them here – with proper credit of course. The reply to me was quick and to the point. $200 for each picture. So it’s going to be homegrown, ok, but in context photographs on an ongoing basis here. If you do come across an April 1940 copy of National Geographic it is worth a look though.
Its the winter solstice coming up on the morning of the 21st. Solstice – sun stands still. Good way of putting it as it pauses before swinging back along the horizon towards its other point in summer. People are looking to sit in passage tombs (the properly aligned ones to be fair to them) and have the sun enter at sunrise. Cant do it. Don’t have the yearning for that mystic experience. If I want to be in a bunch of people huddled together waiting for the light to come in I can take a lift. I am interested in the people who built them though. I intend to get a compass point for sunrise on the horizon and use sticks and string to trace its shadow track. Plotting orthostats, galleries, etc. will be easy to visualise after that. Walking through it may give me some insights into the building of these truly interesting megalithic monuments. Did they possibly get construction quotes or permission perhaps? Were they built with a predetermined time in mind? How many people and how long? What did it look like as it progressed? Did they include parking? How would it be built? Fun aside it is interesting and may lead somewhere.
Memory or the lack of it gives us the requirement for books. I have what might be called a relatively poor memory. When it comes to reading fiction books it really gives me value for money. I have a feeling for the tone of a book – I can almost always feel what a book is like by looking at the spine, without remembering any of its particulars. A handy combination and a good reason for keeping books (on timberbookshelves). I need a specific filing/sorting system when it comes to factual books. No good having an idea that the book I am looking at might help me with a question on travel, geography, history, archaeology, astronomy, cooking, carpentry, etc. This would leave me with the situation of needing to read the book again to find out if I need to, well…….read the book to help me with my question. Does that make sense to you? So I am partway towards sorting this out. Not a huge issue till there are deadlines for completed work, but now that I have deadlines and a mounting compilation of books on various helpful core and periphery subjects. Pretty soon I will need something more comprehensive. Anyone have a Dewey Decimal System cabinet I could use? I do love using them and no offence to OCLC but computerised referencing is just not the same.
Should have mentioned it sooner so I might have got one for Christmas.
It occurs to me that given my prize memory I should read back over my old posts to see how I am doing. Does anyone else do that? Or perhaps even read over their posts before publishing? As I have seen elsewhere, spellcheck is my worst enema.
Magnumladys’ blog pointed out there was a flea market yesterday so I ventured in to see if there was anything (books) I could buy (cheap books). Thank you Magnumlady. It was full of something for almost everyone. None of it has ever steered me away from looking for books apart for that one time I became a child for five minutes and badly wanted a working steam train. It ran on steam. Anyway, there was a light frosting of books among the stalls so looking took a while, but buying a secondhand book is like diamond mining. You may have to dig through a lot before you find a gem.
And there it was. A pile of National Geographic magazines. From 1940. Beautiful – a whole world apart from where we are now. They contain adds quoting doctors for this and that. Car ads. Articles from a time when the USA had not yet joined WWII. Articles on the silk road, South America – all from that time. A real delight. There was also a small section on artefacts being wrapped up in the Louvre to be sent to the basement. The photographs were not of the treasures, but of the rude hands forcing them into storage. I will scan them and post once I get the scanner working. Anyone looking forward to Monument Men coming out?
I haven’t had a chance to go through them properly yet as I had to be up at 4am to travel and am just back. If anyone is interested in any of the articles that might be in them – please let me know and I will have a look and perhaps post a list of what’s in there.
Good night all.
Archaeology 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.
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.