This week has piled up into the weekend rather and I can’t put the time into a blogpost that I managed with the previous two. But the last post arose out of a random thing I found on the Internet, and I remember when this used to be the primary matter of the blogosphere (back when we still called it that). You could have not just whole posts, but entire blogs, whose sole purpose was to communicate the locations of things elsewhere on the Internet to your readers. (And to be fair, the two I used to rely on most, Anglo-Saxon Archaeology and Archaeology in Europe are still out there and posting and looking useful.) So let’s this week go back to those halcyon days: I’ve been piling up random links against such a moment since December 2019, it seems, so I’m ready!
Next, this seems to be what, in 2009, we would still have been calling a macro generator, but it has been sourced with quite a lot of medieval manuscript images. Now, given how some archives protect their image rights, it’s surprising that any have contributed to this, but it’s interesting, isn’t it? Is this a good way to publicise the Middle Ages and your archive, or a bad one?
Then, this news story almost got a post of its own, because it made me quite cross at the time I saw it: it seemed to me to ignore some basic requirements of the form of land transactions and the fact that Latin is an Indo-European language and so, yes, shares some root words with Sanskrit. Moreover, I was pretty sure the researchers in question knew these things and were therefore selling old rope to the national newspapers to drum up press for their project. But, on the other hand, I personally would love to do a project comparing European and Indian charters, and they put a book of essays resulting from the project out for free download here, so an alternative view is that I should shut my trap and admire the scholarship and the salesmanship…
This story caught me personally in a different way, because only a year earlier I’d been to the relevant place (as the blog will soon enough record) and of course hadn’t seen the amazing prehistoric deer carving. No-one modern had at that point, indeed, and that turns out from the article to be because to find it you have to be the kind of person who slides into subterranean Neolithic tombs at night with a torch just to have a look. But give him his due, he found and reported it…
I would have had even less chance of making this discovery, given it was fairly deep in a German river-bed, but still, it’s always pretty cool to find a medieval ship.
This one, on the other hand, when it came up in September this year, I almost wished they hadn’t discovered, as when I found the story I’d just written the Ardnamurchan boat burial that we discussed here ages ago into a lecture I was giving that week as the only mainland British viking boat burial. Still technically true, I guess, but now it looks as if it wasn’t a one-off, and I am agog to see more when they actually are able to dig the others.
Then lastly, one always loves a story that looks bats enough that even the reporters want to stress scholarly disagreement, doesn’t one? And bats turns out to be an operative word, because we’re talking Maya rulers playing their equivalent of lawn tennis with the cremated remains of their predecessors. This struck me as being far enough off the map of the humanly probable that I went looking and wasn’t at all surprised to find that the webpage had already been taken down. But that turned out to be a mean suspicion, as it had just moved on its host website as it came off the front page. You need to read Spanish to see what the actual proponents think; but as the original news story has as its subtitle, “Not all scholars are convinced by the claims”…
That must do you for today but I hope at least one of them is entertainment enough!