Thursday, January 21, 2010

It Came in the Mail

More maily goodness.

For one thing I got my Skin Horse: Volume 1 compilation book, with free original art thrown in and an irradiated operatic Italian silverfish sketch on the envelope! Skin Horse is a daily webcomic about the underfunded secret government department in charge of the welfare of nonhuman sapients - monsters who have escaped from/eaten their mad scientist creators, classified bioweapons who turn out to be pacifists or uncontrollable or both, irradiated silverfish who escape from their terrerium and create Italian-renaissance civilizations in basements full of classified documents, that sort of thing. I'm making my husband read it, too.

Also, and more to the point of this blog, I got a Mammoth Trumpet, the quarterly educational outreach publication for the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M in College Station. Less comprehensive but also a lot more readable than the annual journal, Current Research in the Pleistocene, the Mammoth Trumpet contains nonscholarly articles about what is going on in the study of Pleistocene America.

First up, "Paleo Woman: Lost to History." I only skimmed this, because they're preaching to the choir with me and it's basically a distillation of stuff I've already read. The article talks primarily to Elizabeth Chilton and James Adovasio on the reasons why women are so absent from traditional views of prehistory when obviously they were present and doing important stuff throughout.

"Finding Traces of Early Hunters Beneath the Great Lakes" is cool - all about a team using sonar to identify potential archeological sites on drowned terraces of Lake Huron. They've spotted a number of features that resemble historical caribou drive lines. Of course now they need to go down and test the hypothesis, which has its problematical elements. But the great thing is, if sites survive down there, materials that are perishable when buried on dry land are often preserved when buried in freshwater lakes, so there might be ropes, or basketry, or fabric, or all kinds of stuff we don't normally see from so long ago.

"Decoding the Woolly Mammoth: Part II" talks about DNA analysis of frozen mammoth remains, and how they show that mammoths in Alaska and Siberia related, with Alaskan mammoths spreading back into Siberia after a period of depopulation. Plus a sidebar on mammoths.

"Early Human Occupation in the NW Plains of Uruguay" - this is all new to me, and some of it is new to the field generally. Uurguay is virtually untapped as far as Pleistocene archeology goes and they've got a good site at Pay Paso, the earliest occupations of which are about as old as the oldest known Clovis occupations in North America.

"Use Wear, Up Close" is all about the process of putting a tool under a microscope and figuring out what it was used for. This is not a specialty for those of either short attention spans or lax work ethics, as it involves both hours of hunching over a microscope and inventive experimentation on modern rocks to find out what kind of traces different tasks leave. So you might have to butcher a bison with a number of different kinds of stone in order to understand what you see under the microscope.

And that's it except for the book sale on the back cover. Wonderful geeky goodness, and a nice break from Civil War Texas for me. If you want to get some, too, you have to get a membership to the CSFA, but it's only $30 for a year at the base level, so what are you waiting for?

If you want to know more in-depth stuff about what women were doing in the Ice Age, you can read The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory.

No comments:

Post a Comment