Saturday, April 10, 2021

Well - Duuuuuhhhhhhhh! Female Hunters - of Course, But We Women Already Knew That, Thank You

 Still digging through my emails to myself of research and interesting articles I find here and there when I do my daily dive into the internet.  This is from January 2021 (not as bad as July 2020 - see post below, yikes!)  

What New Science Techniques Tell Us About Ancient Women Warriors
Recent studies show that man was not always the hunter.

By Annalee Newitz
January 1, 2021

Though it’s remarkable that the United States finally is about to have a female vice president, let’s stop calling it an unprecedented achievement. As some recent archaeological studies suggest, women have been leaders, warriors and hunters for thousands of years. This new scholarship is challenging long-held beliefs about so-called natural gender roles in ancient history, inviting us to reconsider how we think about women’s work today.

In November a group of anthropologists and other researchers published a paper in the academic journal Science Advances about the remains of a 9,000-year-old big-game hunter buried in the Andes. Like other hunters of the period, this person was buried with a specialized tool kit associated with stalking large game, including projectile points, scrapers for tanning hides and a tool that looked like a knife. There was nothing particularly unusual about the body — though the leg bones seemed a little slim for an adult male hunter. But when scientists analyzed the tooth enamel using a method borrowed from forensics that reveals whether a person carries the male or female version of a protein called amelogenin, the hunter turned out to be female.

With that information in hand, the researchers re-examined evidence from 107 other graves in the Americas from roughly the same period. They were startled to discover that out of 26 graves with hunter tools, 10 belonged to women. Bonnie Pitblado, an archaeologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, told Science magazine that the findings indicate that “women have always been able to hunt and have in fact hunted.” The new data calls into question an influential dogma in the field of archaeology. Nicknamed “man the hunter,” this is the notion that men and women in ancient societies had strictly defined roles: Men hunted, and women gathered. Now, this theory may be crumbling.

While the Andean finding was noteworthy, this was not the first female hunter or warrior to be found by re-examining old archaeological evidence using fresh scientific techniques. Nor was this sort of discovery confined to one group, or one part of the world.

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I love The New York Times.  It has everything.  

And so, evidently, does my scholarly (ahem) personal library - well, most of the good stuff, anyway.  If you want to get some good reads, check out these books:

Warrior Women, An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines, by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Ph.D. with Mona Behan, First Printing: February 2002

Women Warriors, a History, by David E. Jones, (c) 1997; first paperback edition 2000 

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, (c) 2007, First Edition

Uppity Women of Ancient Times, by Vicki Leon, (c) 1995; edition published by MJF Books by arrangement with Conari Press

And no chess historian/researcher's library would be complete without Marilyn Yalom's incredible Birth of the Chess Queen, a History, (c) 2004, First Edition

Darlings, I've never 100% bought into the theory that chess is a "war game."  I always thought it had more to do with love and romance than anything else.  But upon reflection, and since I seem to be on a "lyrics kick" today of songs popular during my time on planet Earth, I have to admit that there are lots of examples of comparison of Love to War.  So if chess is a war game, its the battle of love that is being fought, not a battle for territory, or political principles, or the new code words for "let's go back to 21,000 BCE" - Republican "culture wars," or worst of all, over religious beliefs, dogma and domination.  A brief sample of songs comparing love to war below:

Love Is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar, released September 12, 1983

Soldier of Love, Sade, released February 5, 2010

Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms), Arthur Anderson (a pioneer in mixing Black Soul and Country music), released in 1962 as the "B" side of Where Have You Been (All My Life), which reached #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1962

White Flag, Dido, released September 1, 2003 (reached 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards (U.S.), lost out to Christina Aguilara's "Beautiful"

She Was Buried with a Silver Crown - in the Bronze Age in Spain

Queen?  Queen consort?  Just a rich woman with a yearning to be a "royal?"  Or a female leader of her clan, buried with honors and her mate buried with her?  What's your guess?

From The New York Times (online)

Bronze Age Tomb in Spain Hints Women Helped Govern 
By Jennifer Pinkowski
March 11, 2021

Arqueoecologia Social Mediterrània Research Group,
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

About 3,700 years ago, a man and a woman were buried together in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula. Their tomb was an ovoid jar beneath the floor of a grand hall in an expansive hilltop complex known as La Almoloya, in what is now Murcia, Spain. It’s one of many archaeological sites associated with the El Argar culture of the Early Bronze Age that controlled an area about the size of Belgium from 2200 B.C. to 1500 B.C.

Judging by the 29 high-value objects in the tomb, described Thursday in the journal Antiquity, the couple appear to have been members of the Argaric upper class. And the woman may have been the more important of the two, raising questions for archaeologists about who wielded power among the Argarics, and adding more evidence to a debate about the role of women in prehistoric Europe.

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What All Women Know - Men Have "Itchy" Feet

 Oh yeah, men seem to have been created to want to ramble around and explore everything and anything, while (most) women want to make homes and stay put!  It's been that way since the very beginning of humanity, evidently.  Men get a case of itchy feet and the women sigh, pack up, and are hauled along for the "adventure."

We even have it "codified" in popular music:

Ramblin' Man, Allman Brothers (recorded 1972, released 1973)

      Lord, I was born a ramblin' man
     Tryin' to make a livin' and doin' the best I can
     And when it's time for leavin'
     I hope you'll understand,
     That I was born a ramblin' man

Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, Bob Seeger (1969 - geez, the year I graduated from high school and most of my readers weren't even a gleam in their daddy's eye yet. Love me some Bob Seeger.)

But I got to ramble (chorus: Ramblin' man)
     Gamble (chorus: Gamblin' man)
     Got to got to ramble (chorus: Ramblin' man)
     I was born a ramblin' (chorus: Gamblin' man)

My Elusive Dreams and Schemes, Curly Putnam (recorded by Curly Putnam March 1967, released June 1967, made popular by David Huston and Tammy Wynette in October 1967, recorded by multiple artists, including a second version by Tammy Wynette and George Jones, lyrics below)

T: I followed you to Texas
T: I followed you to Utah
G: We didn't find it there, so we moved on
T: I went with you to Alabam'
T: Things looked good in Birmingham
G: We didn't find it there, so we moved on
Chorus: (Both)
I know you're tired of followin'
My elusive dreams and schemes
For they're only fleeting things
My elusive dreams

So, darlings, it comes as no surprise to me that research from an article I came across in my emails as I was cleaning them out from July 2020 (bad Jan, yes - I'm behind) showed up, and here it is. It's not like we (women, that is), didn't already figure this out, and we're not surprised, LOL!

From The New York Times (online)

By Carl Zimmer
July 8, 2020

About 3,000 years ago, people on the eastern edge of Asia began sailing east, crossing thousands of miles of ocean to reach uninhabited islands. Their descendants, some 2,000 years later, invented the double-hulled canoe to travel even farther east, reaching places like Hawaii and Rapa Nui.

Archaeologists and anthropologists have long debated: Just how far did the Polynesians’ canoes take them? Did they make it all the way to the Americas?

The results of a new study suggest that they did. Today, people on Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, and four other Polynesian islands carry small amounts of DNA inherited from people who lived in Colombia about 800 years ago...

Ritual Art?

 I have a bone to pick when it comes to classifying this item of art - or any art - as "ritual" unless there is substantial evidence to back up such a conclusion.  How do we know when something as old as the Shigor Idol is "ritual art" or not?  Just because it's old?  Just because it was evidently "portable" - at least, it could be taken down and moved if the assumptions archaeologists and anthropologists, etc. have made over the years about "hunter-gatherer societies" are all true.  Was the Venus of Willendorf "ritual art?"  It was carved of stone, small, and could be moved easily from place to place. What about the cave paintings at Lascaux?  Ritual?  

The truth is - WE DON'T KNOW. In the articles I read, I did not see any convincing evidence discussed to suggest that the Shigor sculpture was intended to be ritual in nature.  If you spent tons of hours carving a nine foot tall totem pole on a piece of wood, wouldn't you move it with you when you moved your camp too? We should hesitate before applying 20th century assumptions to ancient items.  We often have zero clues (or are just outright wrong - but people usually don't talk about that when that happens - oops).  Just admire it for what it is - a thing of interest (not what I'd call a thing of beauty) and extreme rarity, having survived thousands of years.  End of rant.

Additional articles on the Shigir Idol for your reading pleasure (if you want to learn more):

From The Smithsonian Magazine (online):

From Science Magazine (online):

By Andrew Curry
April 25, 2018
(Sounds like somebody may have read "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown, written in 2000)

From Archaeology (Magazine, online):

By - not credited
April 5, 2021

Are Recurring Cycles of Violence Something We in the U.S. Have to Live With?

 Hola!  Spring has sprung here and when weather has permitted I've been working hours outside daily doing the massive spring yard and garden clean-up.  I swear there is more to clean up every year - or else I'm just getting older and slower.  When I haven't been working outdoors I've been working on the house - there is always new decor to bring in and changes to make with the change of the seasons, along with thorough indoors cleaning from attic to basement.  Whew!

Today I'm posting several items I've piled up over the past week or two or three.  Enjoy!  First up:

Have any of you heard of Dr. Peter Turchin?  I can't recall ever hearing or reading about him until just this past week, and the article that I read made the hairs on the back of my neck tickle and stand up, wowsers!  Like Dr. Allan Lichtman, co-creator with Dr. Vladimir Keilis-Borok of the incredibly predictive "Thirteen Keys to the White House" in 1981, Dr. Turchin's predictive model of recurring cycles of violence in the United States approximately every 50 years (other than in 1820) has thus far proven remarkably accurate.

Check out this article from Live Science and note the date:  IT WAS WRITTEN ON AUGUST 12, 2012.

Will the US Really Experience a Violent Upheaval in 2020?
By Natalie Wolchover, August 3,  2012

Circa 1870, the North fought the South in the Civil War. Half a century later, around 1920, worker unrest, racial tensions and anti-Communist sentiment caused another nationwide upsurge of violence. Then, 50 years later, the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement triggered a third peak in violent political, social and racial conflict. Fifty years after that will be 2020. If history continues to repeat itself, we can expect a violent upheaval in the United States in a few years.

It sounds like pseudoscience, but it's a published theory. "My model suggests that the next [peak in violence] will be worse than the one in 1970 because demographic variables such as wages, standards of living and a number of measures of intra-elite confrontation are all much worse this time," said Peter Turchin, an ecologist, evolutionary biologist and mathematician at the University of Connecticut.

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