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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Frost and the works of man

 Periglacial rockfall litter, assumed by archaeologists to be quarrying debris.  Time for the archaeologists to read something dating from 1973?

Well well -- an old colleague of mine reminded me that in 1973 Antiquity commissioned Dr Rendel Williams (one of my contemporaries) to write an article designed to warn archaeologists that they should be careful when looking at features that might be periglacial in origin and that they instinctively assumed to be man-made.  Sounds familiar?

Sadly, I have not been able to get at the article in full.  If anybody can get at it via the Antiquity web site, I'll be grateful for a copy........

R. B. G. Williams
Frost and the works of man
Antiquity, Volume 47, Issue 185
March 1973, pp. 19-31
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00034621
Published online: 02 January 2015

Here is the link to page one:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/antiquity/article/div-classtitlefrost-and-the-works-of-mandiv/3BE49F036F48CED16EE089C055B60D20

22 comments:

Neil Wiseman said...

Hi Brian,
Are there other locations in the area which exhibit similar types of litter?

Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, but of course we don't often see the litter exposed like this.

TonyH said...

Perhaps archaeologists who are members of the Society of Antiquaries can help you out here. Or even an esteemed geologist who is known to peruse this Blog site??!

TonyH said...

Ah......... just as well no archaeologists [etc] associated with Rhosyfelin investigation was successful in persuading the Post Office to include this alleged man - made quarry in its Series of Ancient Britain stamps [First Class] just released last week - included in the Series are Grimes Graves flint mines, Skara Brae village and Avebury.

Myris of Alxandria said...

Although many Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London publish in Antiquity often, the Journal of said most august of societies is The Antiquaries Journal. Very separate journals. Lots of saved Victorians in the latter and lots of really splendid book reviews.

Go on bite the bullet and buy the article from Antiquity.

CRyf is being saved for the Christmass (sic)issue with MPP as Father Xmas himself pulling the proto-orthostat and BJ as a little green Grinch (if my popular culture be correct.

Issue is not expected to be a crowd-pleaser.

M

Neil Wiseman said...

Thank you Brian & Tony.

I'm afraid I don't know too many Esteemed geologists.
But I do know one particular shaggy Vagabond who can be found wandering the countryside, alternately spouting Ovid or Atkinson ...

Neil

BRIAN JOHN said...

Another CryF paper coming? I should hope so too -- the previous one, as various people have said to me, was one of the worst papers they have ever read. Let's hope the new one in time for Christmas 2017 is an improvement and that it follows some proper scientific protocols......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Neil -- sadly, said shaggy vagabond probably does not get to wander the countryside as much as he would like, due to force of circumstances. Life, as they say, has a habit of intervening -- for all of us.

MoA said...

I know of no such peripathetic (sic)old thyme academic with that description or rather I know of hundreds from flint knappers to botanists.

I have misled you, the up-coming Christmass CRyf referred to stamps rather than papers.

The pet rock boys currently are moving back and forth in time (ever innovative) and are working on the sandstone debitage and dolerites.

Oh and a popular review as they know how BJ likes those.
M

MoA said...

Forgot to say how civilised it is to see that GREAT Edwardian American poets are always uppermost in Brian's mind.

The works of Frost was ever man.

M

Dave Maynard said...

Exposed litter. A good place to see is the building site on the road edge west of the school in Eglwyswrw. It must be specific type as the transition from unaffected rock is very distinct. Been there for a long time, but needs recording before they tidy up the landscaping and it will be lost to sight.

Dave

BRIAN JOHN said...

Dave -- I have been past there many times. It's different in that there is no rock face from which slabs and rubble might have fallen. I need to examine the site -- looks to me like typical broken bedrock / head on a gentle slope, with some till mixed in.

BRIAN JOHN said...

Myris -- nobody would be so stupid as to publish a stamp showing a "Neolithic quarry" that does not exist. Dream on.......

BRIAN JOHN said...

Eight archaelogical stamps -- rather nice! Info here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38639297

Peter Dunn said...

New stamps nice? dull, boring, unimaginative, commissioned by someone with no archaeological vision, produced by an illustrator with no archaeological background or vision at all as far as I can see (although very good at her usual range of subjects).
Why when there are a number of excellent archaeological illustrators/artists (I do not include myself out of modesty) who would have made these stamps memorable?

As Kurt Vonnegut would have said "so it goes"

BRIAN JOHN said...

Amateurs everywhere, constantly getting things wrong and screwing things up....... and that goes for prime ministers and presidents too......

Peter Dunn said...

Too right Brian, too right.

TonyH said...

By the way, getting back to the subject of this Post, or, more precisely, its photographic frontispiece, Whose bum looks big in this hole??!! Answers to the Blogmeister..... or the GPO postage stamps department.

TonyH said...

Ooops! Wrong Post!! Meant for the "Orcadian Fantasies" Post about the BBC's Three - Parter on Prehistoric Orkney.

Myris of Alexandria said...

Thank the Gods! I thought I had accidently hit my speed-dial Pornhub button.

Roman and Egyptian dressed porn is widespread (or has been)("so I hear")but Neolithic porn is an unknapped market (as must be Maya and Toltec-Maya Porn etc.) ah that is the rest of the day lost)). Titles???

Of course the grand daddy title of them all has to be 'Shaving Ryan's Privates'. Up there with "Infamy infamy ...." etc.

Mr Dunn your illustrative work is recognised for the quality that it is.

M

BRIAN JOHN said...

Yes, that was our friend Neil (he of the long hair and backwards walk) with his bum sticking out of a hole. As featured in glorious full colour by the BBC. All credit to the director for having a sense of humour......

TonyH said...

That would be Neil "One backwards step for Broadcasting Man, one giant backwards leap for Neolithic Man"?........ And it wasn't really Orkney, just a mock - up (if you pardon the expression) at Pinehurst Studios.