Archaeology

Beautiful words and insight from Jake Powning, swordsmith.

Here is another video from swordsmith, Jake Powning. In the video Jake carves a gripping beast into a wooden scabbard and talks a little bit about the techniques he’s using and the folklore that inspires him. At one point in the video (47:07-49:22), a question is asked about the difference between a piece being historically accurate or historically inspired. Jake gives an excellent reply which deals with the philosphy of history and anthropology. It touches on a subject that Erin and I have talked about a lot in our discussions about the past. Namely, that the past doesn’t exist. We can’t access it. All we can deal with are these objects and texts from the past but in the present. We make up stories about them that are internally consistent but might not neccessarily be accurate to how things were.

The stories we make up about these objects all fit together, make sense, and don’t contradict eachother, but that doesn’t mean that’s the way it was. It’s likely we’re right about a lot; but there is so much we’ll never know and probably a lot that we’ve gotten wrong. Watch the video above, but especially the part at 47:07-49:22.

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My favorite swordsmith giving a presentation on viking/celtic ornamentation on swords

Jake Powning is an extraordinary swordsmith and wood carver. Here is an hour long lecture/presentation on swordsmithing, word carving, and viking/celtic ornamentation. Very beautiful and very informative!


The sooner, the better!

I hope everyone is doing wonderfully!

It’s funny how little things can influence you to make big decisions. I wanted to wait until I had debt payed off and a savings before I applied to graduate school; but stepping foot back on the UCSD campus to pick up my cap and gown was like going back home. The sooner I earn my Master’s Degree, the better. I’m really leaning towards applying this fall for programs that begin next year.

My only problem? Specialization! I need to familiarize myself with the faculty at these universities, their research, and figure out a geographical and topical focus before I apply. Any ideas? 😉 (Keep in mind, I would need access to the resources. For example, if I’m focusing on Mayan petroglyphs, I would need to travel to Mesoamerica for the research.)

What do you think? 🙂


We’re home! And we’re selling a ton of our books on Amazon!

Erin and I got home safely from Sweden and just decided to sell a bunch of our extra stuff. Less clutter is always good. So we’re selling almost half of our giant collection of books on Amazon! Erin went through and matched the lowest prices for almost all of these books so come check it out and get a deal! We have Art books, Comics, Christian books, Scifi, Classic Literature, Nonfiction, History, Anthropology/Archaeology, Textbooks, etc!  Click on the “Book Sale!” link in the top right corner or just Click Here if you’re lazy. We’ll be updating the page frequently so check back often if you’re interested.


New Pic of the Week: Ancient Curse Tablet

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I just put up a new Pic of the Week on the sidebar on the right. It is an ancient lead curse tablet like the kind I wrote about a few months ago [here]. If you click the picture you can see the whole story and the translation. It’s interesting stuff.


Antiquarian Book Fair in Copenhagen

Hello, all! Erin, here. ❤

We hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice and calm for us. We will be having our dinner with other exchange students tomorrow. As for today, we visited Copenhagen to see one of the largest antiquarian book fairs with international sellers, book binders, and conservators. It was fantastic! So many gorgeous books from different countries dating back to several centuries ago…Mike and I were hypnotized and we kept envisioning our library we want to put together! There's something about a book on science or religion from centuries ago…it's similar to the affects that archaeological sites and artifacts have on me. I go into this trance and I feel an indescribable connection to the past creators and users. It's nerdy, I know. Everyone gets their kicks in their own ways! 🙂

Here are a few of the pictures from the fair. You can view the entire gallery by clicking this link.

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The fair was held at Rundetårn (The Round Tower), which is a combined church, library and observatory built in 1642. We climbed all the way to the top to find a breathtaking view of Copenhagen and a freezing wind that has a mind of its own…an abusive one, at that. We soaked in the stunning views of the city and went back inside before my body temperature dropped to a painful low.

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Copenhagen was great! We plan on going back a couple more times before we leave. We miss you all! ❤ 🙂


Museums and Halloween!

Hello everyone! Erin, here. I recently had the opportunity to take a couple tours of museums in Lund. A couple of my professors took us through the exhibits and brought everything back to life! Here are some pictures. You can also view the entire gallery by clicking this link.

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The visits taught me not only about Scandinavian Stone Age and Iron Age practices, but also about the organization and presentation of these artifacts. I was surprised to find that both professors were quite critical about the exhibits. The exhibits lacked cohesiveness. The presentation was kind of spread out all over the place. There was no chronological order. They also imposed modern day beliefs about cult practices by the way they created the dark tone…by the way they set the ominous mood. An objective mindset, crucial to the field of archaeology, was missing. What’s funny is that I would’ve never realized this if it weren’t for my professors. So much for all the “critical thinking” I’ve been trained to practice! I suppose I’ve just made a bad habit of visiting museums and accepting everything they have to offer in the way they choose to offer it. If we were dealing with art museums, then that perspective would be ok; but archaeology is about striving to be objective while we understand and accurately teach about past cultures. These visits have definitely benefited me! 🙂

Happy Halloween! We visited a Halloween party…complete with ghosts, ghouls, music, and food! …MEXICAN food, I might add! The enchiladas were pretty good…strangely combined with white rice, but still good. 🙂 We had quite an adventure after we left! Lund, in all its historical glory, is hypnotizing at night. It makes me uncomfortable to use this comparison for some reason, but it felt like we walked right into a movie! A Sherlock Holmes movie! The castle towers, massive canopy trees, and autumn leaves on the ground were transformed in the thick fog that glowed in the orange streetlights. Walking away from the street into the trees was something I would have loved to capture on video. Mike tried, but the camera couldn’t capture the light. All you would see is what looks like a forest of trees, dirt ground covered with fallen leaves, and scattered glowing light throughout the area. We walked to the cathedral and looked up to see the top of the tower fade into the fog. Words fail to describe the enchanting environment. What a strikingly beautiful environment and perfect for Halloween! 🙂 As far as the adventure goes, we basically got lost trying to find a rescheduled transport back to Malmö (because the trains were not operating) and met a couple awesome Swedish guys. We were all roaming around Lund together and having conversation before we found (to our surprise) the luxury charter bus that would take us back to Malmö! It was a great night.

We miss and love you all!