Themes for Basics Posts?

Reader “Chez Jake” suggests that I might write a few “basics of archaeology” posts like other Sb bloggers are doing. I’d be happy to! Dear Reader, please tell me something basic you’d like me to explain about archaeology that isn’t answered well by Wikipedia.

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State of the Blog Address

Behold R. Hampton’s excellent masthead banner! Book token goodness and a massive charisma bonus are coming hes way.

The blog-reading public has reacted very favourably to my move to Scienceblogs on 29 December. Statshot: my old Blogger site is still attracting 136 median unique first-time readers a day simply through Google, and the new site has seen a median of 113 uniques a day in the past two weeks. 34 of these are returning Dear Readers. Taken together, these figures show that I have never had as many daily readers before over a period of weeks as I have now. Comments have been abundant, and I am very happy to see both long-time regulars of the old site and new acquaintances making their voices heard.

Technorati took a while to start updating, but Aardvarchaeology is currently ranked 97,000 out of millions there. The median rank among the Sb blogs is about 17,000, and my old site is ranked 19,000. The new site hasn’t got a perceptible Google rank yet.

Looking at the ever-important pageview figures, we’re doing very well, being securely over the threshold where our Seed overlords start to feed their indentured bloggers. For pageviews in the past two weeks, Aardvarchaeology is ranked 28 among the Sb blogs, and that’s without the benefit of any blog carnivals hosted here. But don’t worry, a number of those are lined up for the near future.

Comments, link tips, suggestions and requests are very welcome!

British Metal Detectorists Do a Good Job

Since a 1997 change in UK law, metal detectorists in that insular realm are reporting ever more finds to the authorities.

David Lammy, the minister of culture, said that metal detetectorists who spend days scanning newly ploughed fields in the hope that a beep will lead them to buried treasure, are doing a huge service to Britain’s cultural life.

“Metal detectorists are the unsung heroes of the UK’s heritage. Thanks to the responsible approach they display in reporting finds and the systems we have set up to record them, more archaeological material is available for all to see at museums or to study online,” he said.

But I always sing to the detectorist heroes I work with. Link.

Thanks to Johan Carlström for the tip.

Swedish Archaeological Site Protection

Chris O’Brien at Northstate Science gave a speedy reply to my questions of this morning.

It seems that any evaluation of whether the US has strong or weak site protection depends upon what standards are actually followed when a site is considered for the National Register of Historic Places. I wonder what sort of sites fall through the safety net in practice. (As for the NAGPRA protection of graves, that doesn’t seem to be of much use to archaeology as it largely keeps my American colleagues from studying burial sites — for reasons of political correctness and belated post-colonial guilt.)

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Travel Companion of Linnaeus

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I wrote my PhD thesis about the largest prehistoric cemetery on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. The place is named Barshalder and straddles the boundary between Grötlingbo and Fide parishes. The first graves are from the early 1st century AD and the last from about the year 1100. Some continuity! And the site measures two kilometres from one end to the other. One of Gotland’s two great barrows is near the middle of its extent, now badly damaged by potato cellars. This barrow enters written history when a famous man passes it in the summer of 1741.

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Late Glacial Lithics in Minnesota?

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Something that may be the earliest known settlement site in the Americas has been found — in Minnesota of all places. It’s just a knapped-stone assemblage, no organics, so there can be no radiocarbon dates until they dig some more and get lucky. The find’s position in the geological stratigraphy suggests a late glacial date, 14,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Thanks to Aardvarchaeology regular Mustafa Mond for the heads-up! Link.

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