I think it was D.R. Dicks in his book Early Greek Astronomy to Aristotle who bemoaned the lack of books on Greek Astronomy. He looked back to the 1930s and Thomas Heath’s book on Greek Astronomy for an earlier work on the subject. At the time when I was doing my BA I thought that was a bad thing. Now I suspect it’s not. Rather it shows that when classicists look at astronomy in the ancient world they keep an eye on how it interrelated with society. The result is excellent books like Rosemary Wright’s Cosmology in Antiquity, Tamsyn Barton’s Ancient Astrology and now Robert Hannah’s Greek & Roman Calendars. I’ve just finished my first skim of the book and I’m quite impressed.
I’ve recently finished Dr. Tatania’s Sex Guide to All Creation. It’s a inspiring book and something I’ll write up about in due course. What I planned to do was use it to show that evolution isn’t simply great simply because creationists are wrong. It’s a beautiful and elegant concept and I think some of the issues Olivia Judson / Dr. Tatania raises explore this. It’ll be a little while before it appears (I load entries into this up to four days in advance — the Aventis Prize entry was delayed by me deciding to stick the AHDS notice up this morning). However, The proper reverence due those who have gone before by PZ Myers does the job much better. It’s a fantastic essay which captures some of the beauty of nature.
Athena at Rites Of Passage has recently added posts on island archaeology which add even more articles on my “to read” list. She also has a rant about the Guardian’s article on cave-art being Stone Age Porn. “Have we whizzed back to the era of seeing all sex as pornographic? Does it mean that any time anyone’s at it, it’s an act of pornography?” she asks. To which the only answer I can give Woody Allen’s. Yes — if it’s done properly.
64 Baker Street has a cunning plan at the Bitter Boat to escape temping hell and get a job in archaeology. She’s going to omit her Master’s degree from her CV. I wish her luck. I like her blog. It reminds me of my own temping experience.
…and I’ve finally worked out how these web carnivals, like The Tangled Bank work. I couldn’t see why the entries didn’t appear on the Tangled Bank website. Orac’s take on issue XXV finally flipped the light switch. I’m a slow thinker, but I do get there eventually.
It’s slightly unnerving that I can write on a log that I tell no-one about and still get read. Unfortunately the post that got noticed is incorrect or at least might be. There is, in the UK, an Arts and Humanities Arxiv. It’s called the Arts and Humanities Data Service. If I understand it correctly I can drop a PDF of an article in there for £30, which is a small price to pay for self-archiving.
Whether or not I can as an individual deposit a published paper in there is something I’m chasing up, but if I can then it makes sense to use it.
I stand by the bit about technophobia though. If I can deposit into the AHDS and my peers don’t then my work has a huge advantage over theirs, even if theirs is better quality. To be able to cite an article you first have to be able to find it.
Some background. This was going to be an editorial / article for TUP, so it will read a bit oddly. After four months I’d heard nothing from the editors who’d said they’d handle it, and it was getting a bit out of date. This is ironic as the reason for setting up the journal was so I could get papers out quickly, but there you go. So it was going to be shelved.
Then the PGs in Archaeology and Ancient History got an email from the Faculty of Arts at Leicester. They were sponsoring an AHRB English conference on scholarly publishing, but were looking for papers from other departments to make a contribution for reasons I don’t fully understand. I’ve submitted a proposal on the use of standards in electronic publishing and plan to co-author with Clare Kelly-Blazeby (without whom I would have killed the idea of a PG journal long ago) using the missing editorial as a seed.
Comments are welcome, including “Isn’t this a bit dull?”, because I certainly think it is. However, I think there is stuff which could be usefully built on, so feel free to mention what you’d like to see expanded upon too.
I mentioned I was working on launching an internet journal to a friend at a party. “Oh, like the one at Sheffield?” she asked. I replied that the journal I was working on was hoping to be slightly more internet based than that. The plan was to use internet technologies to add value to the papers. “No, Sheffield’s journal does that. It’s on the web. It has those link things.” It is now eight years since Sheffield’s ground-breaking postgraduate journal assemblage launched. The launch statement of the editor of Internet Archaeology argues that the internet presents an exciting opportunity for publishing. Since then further postgraduate journals have sprung up. Newcastle and Durham have their Postgraduate Forum, Nottingham and Birmingham have Digressus. The internet also allows me to read Eras from Monash University. Yet, much as I love these sites, I cannot help noticing that only Internet Archaeology would suffer if the sites were available in printed form. After eight years is an internet journal really just a print-it-yourself paper journal?
One for Classics in Contemporary Culture I think. The Independent’s ABC magazine has an interview with Prof. Christopher Frayling [not online but see this instead], the noted film studies buff. It mentions his coat of arms replete with the motto, “Perge, Scelus, Mihi Diem Perficias” translated by the College of Heralds as “Proceed, varlet, and let the day be rendered perfect for my benefit”.
The Physicists and Mathematicians have a fantastic resource called arXiv. It’s a effectively a central repository for Physics / Maths papers. What makes it truly wonderful is that it’s open access, so if I want to read a paper on the mathematicals of social stratification, I just click on the relevant link and decide how I want to read it.
I’m particularly happy because I’ve found a paper on xenoarchaeology which the author doesn’t start by wearing his underpants on his head. Both links are from this week’s New Scientist.
Why can’t archaeologists or ancient historians do the same thing? It’s a bit of a puzzle.
My guess is that Arxiv exists because Physicists are likely to be able to scoop each other with their work. Also their work can absolutely be built upon for future work. Much Ancient History and Archaeology is art. It’s improved by wider reading, but I don’t need to have read the latest pomo theory to work on my own projects. Further technophobia is an endearing character quirk in the Arts rather than a sign of academic incompetence.
I don’t think it’s a long term problem. Researchers who are more interested in spreading their ideas than supporting established structures will have greater influence on successive generations and there will be a move to open access publishing, because researchers who ignore it will be ignored.
Extelligence is what intelligence is intelligent about.
Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen – The Science of Discworld
What was it that made a city in Sicily “Greek” rather than “Native”? The clash between archaeology and history suggests that it wasn’t the architecture or the material culture of a city, it was the citizenry who gave a city its ethnicity. So this leads nicely to the question “Where do Greek citizens come from?” Greek adults presumably, who in turn come from Greek children. Where do Greek children come from? Some people would take this as a cue to sit the questioner down and explain that when a Greek Mummy and a Greek Daddy love each other very much…
My thesis in about colonisation and identity in 1st Millennium BC Sicily. If you are an Archaeologist then colonisation was a simple process. The Greeks arrived from the eighth century and by the fifth everyone was Native or Phoenician on the island. All the natives has become ‘Hellenised’. This is a problem if you’re an Ancient Historian. Ancient History records an uprising by the native peoples against the Greeks in the middle of the fifth century BC. There must have been a defined native identity, but so far archaeologists haven’t the tools to find it.
Another version of my personal site. I’ve decided to stick with the name archaeoastronomy.co.uk (and ironically I’ve since moved it a few times) because I have it and I’m too cheap to pay out for another one. I may be working on the archaeoastronomy.org site in the autumn, so this name may become a bit redundant.
If I write up a longer entry on archaeoastronomy and link to useful sites then it’ll assuage my guilt a little. I’m also looking seriously at getting up some other stuff I have online.