Category Archives: Arqueoloxía Experimental/Experimental Archaeology

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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A Música da Odisea de Homero

Parece que a miña entrada sobre o LibreOffice non vai rematar nunca, con tantos proxectos incribles coma hai na rede. Desta volta é a reconstrución musical de como a Odisea de Homero podería haber soado cando fora cantada no século VIII AEC. Alí é nada.

Fai algún tempo escribín unhas poucas liñas sobre a melodía grega máis antiga que foi preservada, o breve pero fermoso epitafio de Seikilos. Naquel texto mencionei as dificultades de reconstruír música antiga, e o erro inconsciente que facemos cando non nos decatamos de que a música non só estaba en todas partes, pero que, ademais, en moitos dos traballos literarios que temos preservados ata hoxe a música xogou un papel central que agora non apreciamos. É por esta razón que unha iniciativa coma esta por parte de Georg Danek da Universidade de Viena e Stefan Hagel da Academia de Ciencias Austríaca, é tan fascinante. Nos últimos anos teñen desenvolto unha técnica para cantar épica de Homero baseada en como tradicións orais similares foron cantadas, axustadas, por suposto, ás métricas preservadas na lírica grega.

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Homer’s Odyssey Music

It seems that my post on LibreOffice is never going to happen, with so many great projects floating around the web. This time it is a musical reconstruction of how Homer’s Odyssey might have sound when sung in the late 8th century BCE. Just that.

Some time ago I wrote a couple of lines on the oldest preserved Greek melody, the brief but beautiful epitaph of Seikilos. In that text I mentioned the difficulties of reconstructing ancient music, and the unconscious mistake we make when we do not realise that music was not only everywhere but that, actually, in many of the literary works we have preserved today music played a central rôle that we are missing completely.

It is for this reason that a initiative like this from Georg Danek of the University of Vienna and Stefan Hagel of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is so fascinating. They have developed in the last years a technique for singing Homeric epic based on how similar poems were sung in other epic traditions, and adjusted, of course, to the metrics preserved on Greek lyrics.

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Ethnography of wine-making

Hi everybody,

Welcome back to Archaeostuff. This time I am writing some lines on a topic very close to me. I am showing you some shots of the process of wine-making in my family house south of Galicia. I usually start by writing in Galician and then translating it to English, but I know there are many international friends interested in this topic so this time I will make an exception. We have been making wine here at least since the times of my great-grandfather, so I am very happy to keep the tradition here with my father. We make both red and white wine in the traditional manner: no chemicals, wooden barrels, grapes broken without modern mechanical aids… Hope you like the pictures and the accompanying text. I will write in the future a formal paper on this topic, since I think that from these traditional practices we can learn so much about ancient practices. Quite honestly, when I read papers on wine-making in ancient Greece and Rome most of the time I think: you have no idea how wine is made.

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