Four Stone Hearth Letters

The Four Stone Hearth is a blog carnival that specializes in anthropology. Anthropology is the study of humankind, throughout all times and places. This discourse focuses primarily on four lines of research:

* socio-cultural anthropology
* bio-physical anthropology
* archaeology
* linguistic anthropology

Each one of these subfields represent a stone in our hearth, a blog carnival aims to publish content from all aspects of the blogosphere. Click “Read More” below to see this week’s issue!

The Four Stone Hearth Tablets

Decades ago, archaeologists discovered in an ancient tell that has since been bulldozed to make way for a McDonalds (would you like fries and a Coke with your provenance?) four clay tablets of cuneiform script but in a language as yet undeciphered –until today!

The language is new and has been named Carnival and is spoken in various ancient lands, including FrStnHrth. All we have are the consonants, so by plugging in a soft e sound, we get FerStenHerth, a land that suffered the fate of others during the collapse of the Bronze Age and the attacks of the Sea Peoples. Below is a translation of these tablets.

ArchaeologyTablet 1: Archlgy

Alun’s Letter
To Nefer-khepru-re, Great King, king of Egypt, thus speaks Alun Salt, Great King, king of Archaeoastronomy, your brother. I and my house, my horses and my chariots, my notables and my land, we are well. May well-being reign over my brother and his house, his horses and his cars, his notables and his land.

I present to you the problem of The Orientation of Roman Camps, to which I have treated the data as a binomial distribution. This debate about Roman Camps, which appears on the hallowed tablets of the Oxford Journal of Archaeology, is of great concern my brother. I vented my anger with my brother with the following words: Should my brother not know that I am ill? Why has he not supported my head? Why has he not worried and sent his messengers? These Romans will surely be the end of the Bronze Age!

A Letter From Tim Ruler of Remote Central to the King of Egypt
To Nibmuaria, King of Egypt, my brother, say: Thus says Tim, King of Remote Central, your brother. It is well with me. May it be well with you; with your household, your wives, your sons, your nobles, your warriors, your horses, your chariots, and throughout your land may it be very well… [23 more lines of well-wishes destroyed]…

Behold, one chariot, two horses, one male servant, one female servant, out of the booty from the land of Hatti I have sent you. And as a gift for my brother, the stone tools of a civilization in a far away land of a far away time [The cuneiform hyperlink is reconstructed from similar tablets]: Walker Hill a Pre-Clovis Site: MN Archaeologist Says No.

Fragment of a letter from Paul, King of Wannabe, to Akhenaten, King of Egypt
And now, as to the tablet you have sent me, why have you put the name of my brother above my name? And who is it who troubles the good relations between us? Has such behavior become custom? My brother, have you written to me thinking that we become allies? If you are my brother, why have you praised my name, when I am no better thought of than a cadaver? […] But your name […] I rub out […] surely as the Toltec of a far away land rubbed out the Maya of Chitzen Itza!

A Letter From Martin Rundkvist Lord of Aardvarchaeology
To the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: Message of Abi-Milku, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. I am the dirt under the sandals of the king, my lord. My lord is the Sun who comes forth over all lands day by day, according to the way (of being) the sun, his gracious father, who gives life by his sweet breath and returns with his north wind; who establishes the entire land in peace, by the power of his arm : ha-ap-si; who gives forth his cry in the sky like Baal, and all the land is frightened at his cry.
The servant herewith writes to his lord that he heard the gracious messenger of the kind who came to his servant, and the sweet breath that came forth from the mouth of the king, my lord, to his servant–his breath came back! The message carried is of the Oscarian Archaeology Journal On-Line!

Physical AnthropologyTablet 2: PHSCL ANTHRPLG

A Letter from Jeremy Bruno to Amenhotep III
To my lord, my king, my gods, my sun, this is said:
Jeremy, the dust of thy feet, at the feet of my lord, my king, my gods, my sun, seven times, and seven times more, I fall down. Behold, true to my lord, my king. I look on one side, and I look on the other side, and there is no light; but I look on my lord my king, and there is light. A brick may move away from under the coping, but I shall not move from under the feet of my master.
Let now my lord my king enquire about me of the AAAS Symposium: The Reduction of the Hominid Species.

Letter from blgtnjew, Prince of Hominin Dental Anthropology, to Akhenaton
To the Great One, thus speaks BLGTNJEW, at your feet do I fall.
You must know that Shipti-Ba’al and Zimrida are conspiring, and Shipti-Ba’al has said to Zimrida:
Many people seem to think that the bones and teeth of our ancestors as well as previous generations leave us with little information. In fact, that is not true. The bones and teeth of our ancestors, whether they are hundreds or millions of years old, can tell us a vast amount of information.

More on this revelation of
dental conspiracy on another tablet still in my kiln [cuneiform hyperlink reconstructed], Basics: Dental Anthropology.

A Letter from Yann Klimentidis to Tiye
To Tiye, Lady of Egypt. Thus speaks Yann Klimentidis, King of Yann Klimentidis’ Weblog. May everything be well with you. May everything go well for your house, your son, may everything be perfectly well for your soldiers and for everything belonging to you. Everything is well with me and I am keeping with my theme on the climatic conditions during the major stages of human evolution. Visit with me and hear my thoughts on Paleoclimate and Human Evolution.

A Letter from Greg Laden to Akhenaten
To the king, my Lord, thus speaks Greg Laden, [your] servant. [I have prostrated myself] seven times seven times at the feet of my Lord, the king. The city of […] I have entered. May [the king] know that all the countries are at peace, (but) there is war against me and it is said by Mims We Shouldn’t Be Surprised That Chimps Hunt With Spears. With humble regard to Mims on Chimps: I agree and disagree. Thus, then, may the king take care of the troops of archers. May he send troops of archers against the Chimps who commit evil deeds against the king, my Lord.

A letter from Kambiz of Primatology.org
To the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: Message of Kambiz, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. I am the dirt under the sandals of the king, my lord. My lord is the Sun who comes forth over all lands day by day, according to the way (of being) the sun, his gracious father, who gives life by his sweet breath and returns with his north wind; who establishes the entire land in peace, by the power of his arm : ha-ap-si; who gives forth his cry in the sky like Baal, and all the land is frightened at his cry.

The servant herewith writes to his lord that he heard the gracious messenger of the kind who has One more word on, and a video of, chimps hunting with spears. As you no doubt have heard from my king brothers, these Chimps threaten our cities as the Savanna Chimpanzees Hunt with Tools.
Is this breaking news: Chimps hunt using spears?

Letter from Kambiz of Anthropology.net
To the king, my lord, my god, my sun, the sun in the sky. Thus says Kambiz, the amelu of Anthropology.net, ruler of FerStenHerth, the dust of your two feet, the stable-man of your horse, the Sonny to your Bono: At the two feet of the king, my lord, the sun in the sky, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself both upon the belly and back. And to all that the king, my lord, has told me I have paid close attention. I am the king’s servant and the dust of your two feet.

Let the king, my lord, be aware that my beef is not with what Yann and afarensis are reporting, but the people who are theorizing this all. Hold court with me and share A brief critique about the extinction of Neandertals due to climate change

LinguisticsTablet 3: LNGSTCS

Letter from Corcaighist to FerStenHerth
To FerStenHerth, the ruler of Blogosphere say: Thus says the king: He sends this tablet to you, saying to you, Be on your guard; guard the place of the king where you are. Pay close attention to what he tells you so that the king does not find fault in you. Everything he tells you, pay careful attention and carefully carry it out. And be on guard! Be on guard! Do not be negligent.

Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended,
Giedd sculon singan gléomenn sorgiende,
On Meduselde pæt he ma no wære,
His dryhtne dyrest and mæga deorost.
Bealo…

Read the remainder of Éowyn’s lament at [cuneiform hyperlink reconstructed] Bealocwealm hafað fréone frecan forth onsended.

A Letter from Katie, Princess of TEFL Logue, to Akhenaten
Let the king my Lord hear the word of his servant!
Zirdamyasha has withdrawn from Biryawaza. He was with Shuta, the servant of the king in the city of [………] and I said nothing to him, but he deserted to me, and now Shuta has written to me: is Frananglais: A Compromise Language?!’ But I did not consent to give him up. Behold, Accho is (as Egyptian) as Magdal in Egypt, but the king my lord has not heard that Shuta has turned against me. Now let the king my lord send his commissioner to fetch him.

EthnographyTablet 4: ETHNGRPHY

Letter from Robert Philen of Robert Philen’s Blog

To the king, my Lord and my God and Sun, thus speaks Robert Philen, your servant, the dust under your feet. At the feet of the king, my Lord and my God and Sun, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself.

I have heard the words that the king wrote to me and who I am that the king lose his land through my fault? I am the servant of the king, and I have not rebelled and I have not sinned, and I do not retain my tribute, and I do not disregard the demands of his commissioner. They defame to me with ill will, but may the king, my Lord, not accuse me of revolting!

Moreover, my crime is, so they say, that I discovered Bertrand Russell’s Chicken: Sign Experience and the Human Mind!

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I hope you enjoyed the creative license I took with this week’s Four Stone Hearth. In case you didn’t get it, I modeled the “letters” above after the Amarna letters, copying some of them verbatim and substituting names and websites. There are one or two mild gags hidden in the text here and there, but nothing spectacular. At least three of the links were sent to me by bloggers other-than-the-authors, specifically the links in the Linguistics and Ethnography sections.

My hope was to make this week’s Four Stone Hearth fun and desirable for future iterations. There are a LOT OF ANTHRO BLOGGERS OUT THERE! Send your posts! Get some traffic! Find a sense of communitas (to invoke Victor Turner) and liminality!

The next Four Stone Hearth will be hosted at Mayacaves.org on March 14th.