How to Make Prehistoric Pottery

           There is a long time I do not post about pottery making, perhaps because I expend my days writing about that for my dissertation, and sometimes it is just too much clay around. But after finding this video on YouTube I knew I had to stop writing about historical contingency and ceramic ecology and prepare this post. This fantastic video has been published by English Heritage, as part of the “Neolithic Houses” experimental work near Stonehenge. Graham Taylor, the potter of the video, does a great job describing the process of making this groove pot, and there is nothing much I can add. I just added some comments after the video of a couple of things that I find especially interesting. But first enjoy this video:

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The Royal Game of Ur

Last 29th of April has been International Tabletop day, a day to celebrate boardgames around the world. I love playing boardgames. Computer games are great too, no doubt, but there is something about rolling the dice with your hands, moving figures around in the board, exploring magical dungeons or chasing zombies in a Midwest town. The friends, the socialization, the drinks in between rolls… A lot of fun. And of all the events, all the internet posts and YouTube videos to celebrate this event, the best, without any doubt, is the one I am presenting you today: the Royal Game of Ur play-through with Tom Scott and Irving Finkel, the curator of the British Museum who discovered the rules on a cuneiform tablet.

The Royal Game of Ur (British Museum image 120834).

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Filmes e Arqueoloxía (III) Xasón e os Argonautas (1963):

Esta ten sido unha semana moi longa, así que ¿que mellor plan que outro filme de culto pra desfrutar unha tarde de domingo na casa? Tras A Furia dos Titáns e A Momia, retornamos to cinema en cor e ao traballo de Harryhausen no filme que el considerou selo seu mellor traballo, Xasón é os Argonautas.

Pra todos aqueles non familiarizados có mito, esta é a historia de Xasón, o lexítimo pero deposto príncipe de Iolcos, na súa procura do Vélaro de Ouro na fin do mundo, que neste tempo era a semi-mítica terra da Cólquida (que algúns investigares sitúan hoxe en Xeorxia). Esta aventura é coma un reencontro de estrelas do panteón mítico grego, incluíndo Herakles, Peleos, Butes, Cástor e Polideukes, Calais e Thetes, Meleagro, e a única femia do grupo, Atalanta. A tripulación varía con cada versión do mito, pero é claro que se trata da maior aventura dos mitos gregos antes da Guerra de Troia.

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Rome, A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City

As you may remember from a former post, I have been researching lately on MOOCs and the role they can play in the communication of archaeology to larger audiences. In a paper I have recently published I concluded that, if well designed and maintained through time, MOOCs can be an incredibly engaging learning experience. I have enjoyed that research so much that I decided to keep taking and reviewing MOOCs on archaeology and anthropology, not necessarily for a new paper, although you never know, but for this blog. Thus, today I am presenting you with a MOOC that I have finished a couple of days ago and that is one of the best I have ever taken: Rome, A Virtual Tour of the Ancient City, from University of Reading in the platform FutureLearn.

Cover image from the course.

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Films and Archaeology (III) Jason and the Argonauts (1963):

This has been a very long week, so what a better plant than another cult film for Sunday afternoon at home? After Clash of Titans and The Mummy we return to colour and Harryhausen in the film he considered to be his best, Jason and the Argonauts.

For those of you not familiar with the myth, this is the story of Jason, rightful but deposed prince of Iolcos, on his quest to recover the Golden Fleece from the end of the world, which at that time was the semi-mythical land (now some scholars place n Georgia) of Cholquis. Well, his adventure and that of some of the most important heroes in Greece, such as Herakles, Peleos, Butes, Castor and Polydeuces, Calais and Thetes, Meleager and, the only woman of the crew, Atalanta. The crew members vary with each version of the myth, but it is clear this was an all-start adventure for the Greek heroes, and the most important common enterprise before the Trojan War.

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