Sunday, March 18, 2007

Iranian Government With Panties in Wads over '300'

The Iranian government is bitching to the United Nations about a movie. I kid you not. They want the U.N., specifically, UNESCO to take action against Warner Brother's and the film. A movie.

Iran Protests to U.N. Over '300'

Apparently, they're upset at being portrayed as warlike and barbaric. The nation that just put a nuclear symbol on the 50,000 rial banknote. They're concerned that Iranian culture is being insulted. Rather than engage in academic discourse on the factual inaccuracies concerning Warner Brother's portrayal of The Battle of Thermopylae, Iran wants the movie to go away. How is it possible to make Iran look any worse than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad already has with his Holocaust denials and even hosting a Holocaust denialist convention!

Iran's biggest circulation newspaper, Hamshahri, said 300 is "serving the policy of the US leadership" and predicted it will "prompt a wave of protest in the world... Iranians living in the U.S. and Europe will not be indifferent about this obvious insult." Javad Shamghadri, cultural adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the movie was a US attempt to "humiliate" Iran in order to "compensate for its wrongdoings in order to provoke American soldiers and warmongers."


Iran has a very rich and proud cultural history. It's in the cradle of civilization for Pete's sake! But if they honestly think that Hollywood is a tool of the U.S. government, they know nothing of capitalism and a free market society. I'm sure every American soldier who sees the film will immediately identify with the 300 Spartans who fought off King Xerxes of Persia at the beginning of the 5th century BCE. As a former soldier, I can say with some authority that many of my former peers wouldn't even realize that Iran is in the land once known as Persia. And, for the ones that do, they're smart enough to realize that battles then have nothing to do with conflicts today!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ArtiFACTs: Recent News in Archaeology and Anthropology

Here's a roundup of some recent news relevant to archaeology and anthropology. Click below the fold for more...

Circular formation found in Indiana
The earthen structure was discovered by GIS workers for Delaware County (Indiana) as they studied topographic information during plans to widen a highway. The description of the formation provided in the link above appears to be a GC-Form, where the central mound or platform is created by digging a ditch around the perimeter. At a diameter of 150 feet, it isn't quite the monument that one might find at the Liberty Earthworks (1700 ft in diameter), but significant enough that the highway project will be carefully scrutinized to ensure it doesn't impact a cultural resource.

Cambodia's Angkor may have been abandoned because of climate change
Not because of being sacked by the Thai army as originally thought. This news comes from Australian archaeologists who note that the Khmers of Angkor had a "meticulously organized water management system" designed to sustain their population of 750,000. The archaeologists believe the system broke down due to obstructions in structures that controlled it. Professor Fletcher, one of the archaeologists, suggests that the city was abandoned after climate changes brought on new monsoon patterns.

Israeli Archaeologists Discover Ancient Neighborhood
The IAA has said that the neighborhood, covering about 100 acres and included a network of streets, houses, and mikvah baths, was discovered as workers were constructing a railway. The site dates to the Second Temple era at around 70 CE. "In the digs, many stone tools and caches of coins were discovered, including a rare gold coin with the image of the Emperor Trajan," Antiquities Authority official Rahel Bar-Natan said.

Looted German Treasure in Russia via Der Spiegel
Priceless cultural treasures looted by Russia from Germany at the end of WWII are on display at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Der Spiegel has a photo gallery set up of ten or so items of jewelry and other items from the Merovingian era. They were stolen from a Nazi bunker in Berlin by Red Army soldiers in 1945. My personal favorite is the sword pictured in thumbnail (in accordance with Fair Use) to the right. Go there and see the full-size version.

Private Lancaster finally gets a funeral -93 years later!

His son was four when Private Lancaster was killed in action on November 10, 1914 when his unit, the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, attacked German troops in the woodland near Ypres in Belgium. Two French amateur archaeologists found the remains and he was identified through his badly corroded dog tag found among his remains and other artifacts including ammo pouches, cap badge and scabbard.

Oldest Member of the Genus Homo: 160,000 years
The mandible of an 8 year old child was found in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco and dates to about 160,000 years ago. By examining the growth patterns of the teeth and the molar eruption, the scientists were able to add to the growing body of knowledge and data regarding early humans and the social, biological, and cultural processes in childhood development. It would seem that children of 160,000 years ago developed at about the same rate as modern children.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy Birthday PZ Myers!



For those that don't know (as if there's anyone on the Internet that doesn't), PZ Myers is the man behind the blog Pharyngula. And he turns 50 years old in a few hours!

Happy Birthday!

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

A New Dating Technique: Water Diffusion in Manufactured Glass

Kambiz at Anthropology.net has invited me to start posting there and my first post is on the topic of water diffusion dating, based on a recent research article published in Archaeometry. I won't bother to go into a lot of detail here, since the full post is found at Anthropology.net.

I'm not abandoning Hot Cup of Joe by any means, just taking an opportunity to proliferate a little bit. I plan to post another Basics post here soon as well as another ArtiFACTS (my irregular roundup of current archaeological news). I'm working on another Stolen & Looted piece that will focus on a historical figure of the Israeli military as well as a couple posts highlighting some historical figures in archaeology and what they've contributed to the field.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Anthro/Archaeo Blogs Added to the Blogroll

Looking through my SiteMeter stats and the blogrolls of other folks, and through the submissions to past/present Four Stone Hearth issues, I've stumbled across a couple new Anthropology/Archaeology weblogs. Click below the fold to see who!

Fort'o Books - written by Robin, a 2nd semester senior at George Washington University, expecting to graduate in May (that makes two of us!). Her blog description is "because archaeology makes me happy and crazy all at once."

She has a couple of posts on the "Jesus Tomb" and some funny/light stuff. Go see. Add her to your blogroll!

Old Dirt - New Thoughts - Brian is a college professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. I think I found his site through the links from others as I was following the Walker Hill debate (the alleged 13,000 year old, pre-clovis stone tools). But Brian also has a very interesting and informative post, The Early Days of Radiocarbon Dating: an Insider's View.

Wanna Be an Anthropologist - Paul is an undergraduate anthropology major at Arizona State University. I found his blog through his 4SH submission (isn't it great how this carnival is bringing anthros together? Kudos, Kambiz!). Paul has some very interesting reading here, one of which is his 4SH submission. But he has a page dedicated to his original writing that's well laid out and has some interesting topics. I've yet to delve into them, but the weekend is young. One of these is titled The Tewa Origin Myth and cites Alfonso Ortiz (as if anyone could write about the Tewa and not). I remember trying to force myself to read that ethnography and completely not liking the process. :)

I think I'll do this for now on -write short reviews of the sites I add to my blogroll. I'll add the label "blogroll" so they can be found easily in the future.

Nice meeting you folks (Robin, Brian, and Paul)!

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