Four Stone Hearth Volume 24

Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but you have indeed come to the 24th Four Stone Hearth anthropology blog carnival. Just lean your club against the wall, grab a hunk of raw flesh and park your hairy arse on the damp ground. And try not to smack anybody.


I first saw “Quest For Fire” as a rather confused 10-year old. I watched it with a group of older male relatives and was curious as to why we were watching a movie where ape-people were running about grunting and waving clubs at each other. Then we came to the part where one of the males gives it to the female doggy-style. And then I realised why my relatives would sit down to a 2-hour film with no speech – because Jimmy down at the pirate video store had mentioned there was some shagging in it.

And that was my first brush with anthropology, with the idea that people a long time ago may not really have seen the world as I saw it, even though their brains were probably similar. My second brush with anthropology was…well, it is this blog carnival, actually. And so, 25 years later, we can see if I have managed to pick up anything on my travels, and if I can present it in a way that does not make me appear like a total Australopithecus.

Look, a hominid reference already – this is going to go just fine!

First up, we head over to Bonobo Handshake and watch as a group of intrepid researchers are dispatched to the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to make life more interesting for a group of bonobos. Bonobos, for those of you who don’t know, are popular with feminists as they live in a female-dominated societies and apparently solve their disputes by shagging. And who says we can’t learn anything from our hairier cousins?

Next, from John Hawks Weblog, we have an article discussing that, after 10,000 years in first position, farming has just slipped to number 2 in the world’s leading industry list. Apparently more people are now working in “services” than are kept busy converting sunlight to useful consumables such as food. brings us 2 articles on the Dmanisi fossil specimens: this one and this other one. Lots of fine images of bones and teeth, if that is your thing. And if you have read this far, then it probably is.

CFeagans over at Hot Cup of Joe walks us through the tangled web of the Italian Antiques Trial. It seems that trafficking in stolen antiques is a crime these days. Tell that to the museums of the world who got their most of their collections together in this ancient and time-honoured fashion.

Science Daily looks at whether the first domesticated pigs in Europe were brought over by Middle Eastern farmers, or if they descended instead from the native wild boar. This is decided by looking at DNA, digging stuff up and thinking quite intensely. Oh just read it. throws a little linguistic anthropology at us. In this article they discuss if pronouns are a linguistic tool designed to stop our brains from accessing the hard-drive too often. A sort of cerebral flash-memory, if you will.

Glen over at Paleoglot gives us a few thoughts on sexuality and history and how it is impossible to separate one from the other, no matter how many flag-waving moralists are camped on your front lawn.

Tim Jones over at Remote Central brings us an exciting account of an excavation near Sydney, which may be the site of an incredibly old aboriginal settlement. And it makes you wonder if the present culture in the region will last quite as long as the previous one…

Primate Diaries brings looks at the current position of primates in our research laboratories (quite often prone and restrained with metal bits sticking into their brains) and asks how necessary this all is. Your busy Primate Diary host also takes a look at Homo floresiensis, and looks at the reasons for the female menopause. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s got very little to do with playing bingo.

My own entry to this blog carnival is not at first glance (or second) recognisable as anthropology. But I don’t care, because it’s my game and if I can’t play then I’m going home.

We head over to Archaeozoology for a couple of articles on the general topic of ‘The Archaeozoology of Luxury and the Exotic.’ Article one deals with The Archaeozoology of Luxury, and article 2, Narwhals or Unicorns?, looks at the general confusion concerning ancient animal body parts and where they sat on the animal in question.

Finally, a little something from Dr. Martin Rundqvist, who serenades us with tales of scanning the ground, digging it up and finding cool stuff.

Thank you for joining me on this random stagger through a diverse range of subjects that I barely understand. The next Four Stone Hearth will be over at Remote Central on October 10. So take your club and get the hell out. You needn’t shut the door as the cave doesn’t have one. And I’m really, really sorry about the pubic lice.

/ paddy

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