April Pieces Of My Mind #1

Guess what this is for. Don’t answer if you’ve used one.
  • Idea for ordering the graves of an inhumation cemetery chronologically. Check all the skeletons’ genealogy with DNA and build chains of ancestry.
  • The incoming books department at the British Library is named “Content Development Implementation”. Word salad!
  • I’ve got the flu. It’s scary when the ibuprofen goes out and the shivering starts.
  • Almost everything archaeologists do — at universities, excavation units and museums — aims at least indirectly at research and public outreach. It’s a constant source of surprise and disappointment to me that a strong record in research and public outreach isn’t worth much on the archaeological job market. For a job in archaeology, don’t try to do any of the stuff that the whole field is for. Just acquire some basic clerical skills, shut up and keep your head down.
  • Some guy on a forum for fossil collectors writes “Did you know there is a living fossil called a Coelacanth. It’s the only kind of fish that hasn’t changed and it’s only 1 of 2 species to survive the Great Extinction.” YES WE KNOW EVEN PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT FOSSIL COLLECTORS LEARNED THAT IN PRESCHOOL GO AWAY NITWIT
  • Academia.edu has a completely broken algorithm to suggest related works that you might want to read. I once published a large Iron Age cemetery that had been excavated piecemeal for 150 years. Academia now suggests that some guy’s “translation of the article VIOLON from Diderot’s Encyclopédie” is quite similar to my book.
  • My dad called and congratulated me on my birthday. “Feels strange though when your kids are pushing 50!” I told him it just means he did well: if your kids survive to 50, are able to support themselves and have kids of their own, then you did an OK parenting job.
  • Feasible: capable of being done or carried out. From Lat. facere, to do. It does not mean “likely” unless you’re willing to accept very recent usages from the hoi polloi.
  • I used to hear and read about stomach pumping all the time as a kid around 1980. Never any more. Doctors I know explain that research has shown the procedure to do more harm than good in most cases.
  • Remember dedicated strap bags for laptops?
  • How often does everybody use their Bullworkers these days?

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

18 thoughts on “April Pieces Of My Mind #1”

  1. Google says your phantom device looks like a Windsor chair. My own guess is that it is for keeping your shovels and other digging implements handy whilst out on a dig.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bullworker’s Mission: Make fitness simple and improve quality of life.

    I’ve never had one. That could explain a lot.

    Phantom device – for fireworks? Must be wrong – it wouldn’t still look that pretty if that is what it was used for. For keeping one’s gardening implements tidy? (Sort of a variant on Felix’s answer.) The two hinged bits obviously swivel out to provide lateral stability, so it’s for holding something substantial without toppling over. And folding for convenient storage, or traveling. I suspect Felix might be onto something. I said onto something, not on something.


  3. Definitely not for the sort of shovel I am used to. Those shovels, whether for moving dirt or moving snow, tend to have an attachment opposite the business end which makes it easier to hang them on hooks in your shed or garage but would prevent them from being stored in such a device as shown in the photo. But my rakes and brooms probably would fit in those cylinders. Which would make it more convenient for storing gardening tools, as John suggested, than the method I currently use, which is to lean them against one wall of the garage.


  4. No affirmative response yet from the Boss, so the mystery deepens.

    I have another quiz question to add – what is a “pull off”?

    Anyone can answer, even those who engage in this activity on a regular basis. Whether you admit to doing it or not is up to you.


    1. Pulling the finger off of a fretted guitar string such that a sound is heard. Compare “hammer on”.

      Yes, I realize that some readers might have other images in their heads when hearing about hammering on and pulling off.


      1. Specifically, one needs to pull the finger sideways and down towards the fingerboard, in effect plucking the string with the callous on one’s fingertip, to get a good strong sound.

        Just lifting the finger off a string that is already sounding produces a sound that is too ‘anaemic’.


  5. “Academia now suggests that some guy’s “translation of the article VIOLON from Diderot’s Encyclopédie” is quite similar to my book”
    Possibly conflating your excellent thoroughness in the field with “un violon d’Ingres”?
    Frog bastards (/major richard sharpe)


  6. Oh and the pipe-thing? Well it don’t want to fall over this-a-way (side to side), yet there’s shores that fold out to stop it falling that-a-way (hither and off)
    I say; to hold the poles of the 5 flags of the remaining nations of the European Union after … AD 2059
    Either that, or you have a problem with bicycles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dustbubble is right: the phantom contraption is a banner holder used at Social Democrat events such as 1 May. Traditionally, European labour movements will wander about in long protest parades with banners for local clubs, and then plant them in banner holders while someone gives a rousing speech.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “living fossil called a Coelacanth”.
    It’s nonsense anyway. The coelacanth is physically similar to the fossil version, but it hasn’t avoided genetic evolution for all these years. It just hasn’t needed to change shape, like horseshoe crabs and heaps of other organisms. The whole “living fossil” thing is a bit of a furphy anyway. Animals that haven’t needed to adapt look very similar to their forebears, but everything else including mammals, reptiles, extant theropods, insects… everything has changed as much as is needed to survive. Or gone extinct, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “For a job in archaeology, don’t try to do any of the stuff that the whole field is for.”
    When I was managing the local museum I was in contact with a gentleman whose job it was to research and record shipwrecks. New South Wales has about 1000km of coastline, and about 1000 known wrecks, although there are many more on inland waterways. Despite his dedication and enthusiasm, he was restricted to visiting some sites, photographing and taking GPS readings, and trying to get enough money to do more. The cash simply wasn’t there to do a thorough job, because governments and universities admitted his work was important, but not important enough to pay for. Is that the problem in Sweden, where only the paper pushers get the funding and the workers don’t?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Almost all the money in Swedish archaeology is linked to highway and railway projects. The excavations there are intended to produce data for research and public outreach. But I’m learning that it’s not very highly valued in that business if a job seeker has done a lot of research and public outreach. What they want you to have done is just dug a lot on highway projects.


    1. Ah yes. A lot of recent archaeology in Australia has involved searching for Aboriginal sites where new roads are planned, and rescue archaeology where old building foundations have been found on redeveloping building sites. Both are essential as far as they go, but I suspect pickings would be pretty slim outside those areas. Most local people know of old buildings, aboriginal sites etc around the country, but I don’t think there is any budget for actually researching them. Even the Aboriginal sites that are checked near roadways have only been spared because the Aboriginal people started complaining mightily about the destruction of their heritage. Personally, I’d like to see government sponsored investigative archaeological teams with the specific job of seeing what’s out there, excavating and recording, just for the public good. I can’t see it happening though.


  10. Worth going to this Canadian lady’s blog to see what she has to say about pseudoarchaeology.

    Elsewhere on her blog she gave some background on where the myth of Atlantis came from – it was invented by Plato for allegorical purposes, as a kind of thought experiment. But he made it clear that he was just making it up.

    Having read some of her writing, my idea of Hell is now coming back in my next life as an archaeologist in Canada – even worse, coming back as a female archaeologist in Canada (peeing in the forest surrounded by stinging nettles, fire ants, voracious hordes of mosquitoes, horse flies and wasps, grizzly bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes in temperatures as low as -30 C).

    Liked by 1 person

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