Four Stone Hearth #72

Believe it or not, today is my Birthday (as I write this on July 28, that is). And I’ve been getting little gifts all week in the form of links to great writing in anthropology.

The Four Stone Hearth is a Blog Carnival that is hosted every two weeks by volunteers who collect and share links to writing on topics relevant to one of the four major fields of anthropology:

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

Each one of these subfields is a stone in our hearth.

Four Stone Hearth

Welcome to my party! Now have a cupcake!

(All Links Open in a New Window. Just close the Window to return to the FSH!)



First up for a cupcake is Testimony of the Spade‘s post, Summer vacation 2009 part 7; Lodose Museum. Magnus shares his experiences during a trip to the Lodose museum in Västergötland in Sweden, an archaeological museum that exhibits a variety of medieval and prehistoric artifacts. Don’t miss his descriptions and photos!

Next, Aardvarchaeology shares Axes and Grain for the Neolithic Gods. Martin describes a Neolithic farming community and the “weird shit” they did (his words not mine): Imagine a big cultic bonfire on some forgotten equinox in the 37th century BC. Imagine tossing into it a big expensive polished flint axe you’ve traded for from the distant flint-producing areas in the south. And, with Martin, you know there’ll be cool pics!

If you liked that post, you’re going to love an encore from Aardvarchaeology! Martin also submitted Digging at the Finnestorp War Booty Sacrificial Site, a write-up of his two-day work in a 4-2 meter trench of an Iron Age site in Västergötland, Sweden. Hey, Martin, did you check out the Lodose museum?

Ethnology / Cultural Anthropology
Ethnology / Cultural Anthropology

Ethnology / Cultural Anthropology

How about another cupcake? This one wasn’t a submission, but it’s a review of a book I’m currently reading. I’m almost done and I’ll post a review of my own here in a week or so. The book is Douglas P. Fry’s Beyond War. The blog post is Moving Beyond War at the Oxford University Press blog, and it gives you a brief overview of Fry’s text, which starts with the premise that war isn’t an inherently human trait. Fry argues that humans aren’t naturally warlike as is commonly believed and gives many good examples. I’m not totally sold, but he makes a good argument and he draws on cultural anthropology and archaeology to do it.

Whether or not war is human nature, most anthropologists I know want to make a difference in the world around them. Daniel at Neuroanthropology offers the Top Ten Ways for Anthropologists to Make a Difference.

I fully recommend Tribal Musings: Isaac Mizrahi Style posted at Teaching Anthropology. Pamthropologist muses about social constructs of anthropology like “tribe,” “band,” “chiefdom,” etc.

While we’re on the subject of human social constructs, we can’t overlook gender. He didn’t submit this post, but I couldn’t avoid linking it. Check out Greg Laden’s Blog for The Natural Basis for Inequality of the Sexes. The post is informative and thought provoking (and I’ve bookmarked it) and the comments are lively.

Biological Anthropology Bioarchaeology
Biological Anthropology Bioarchaeology

Physical Anthropology / Bioarchaeology

Pass a cupcake to Ciarán at Ad Hominem and read his post, The impact of cranial plasticity on the reconstruction of human population history. This is my first time visiting Ad Hominem and I must say it’s a smart looking blog, well designed and I like the name! I’ll be adding it to my RSS catcher. In fact, I just did.

I was tempted to put this one under Cultural, but I think it’s a better fit here. Greg at Neuroanthropology submits Lose your shoes: Is barefoot better? in which he explores the phenomenon of barefoot runners (as in Olympic racing), who are a small but capable group. He also discusses the effects of shoes on foot development and much more. It’s a rather long post, but worth checking out if just to get the gist and he closes with some good sources and credit. Well written and among the best in blog writing of any topic if you ask me.

Tim Jones of Remote Central and one of the writer-editors of submitted Otzi: Iceman’s Tattoos Were Born in Fire. Here, Tim shares a discussion of recent research that indicates Otzi’s tattoo’s may have served a function similar to that of “acupuncture,” practice of more modern times.



From Cognition and Culture, Is deductive inference embedded in language presents us with a very quick post on an upcoming PNAS article on “[t]he boundaries of language and thought in deductive inference” by Martin M. Monti, et al.

Finally, at Linguistic Anthropology, be sure to read Who Speaks Shoshone, and When? where Chad explores the relationship between the dying languages of Native American cultures and the preservation of the cultures themselves -and some of the baggage that comes with desire to save a language along with cultural identity. Well written and though it’s the last post in the list, it is far from being the least significant.


Thanks to all the bloggers who submitted posts and who took time to share their thoughts and knowledge on topics of anthropology! And a big thank you to the blog reader who clicked the links above! Do leave each blog a short comment, even if its just “thanks, found it on 4SH!” -that’s the kind of thing that encourages bloggers to keep sharing and keep submitting to carnivals!

The next Four Stone Hearth will be hosted at Greg Laden’s Blog on August 12th, just a fortnight away! So be sure to spam his email and Martin’s with suggestions at the links in this paragraph!

About Carl Feagans 401 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.


  1. Wondering if you ever wrote a review of douglas P. Fry’s latest book, Beyond War, as you noted you would in this blog back in July last year. I can’t seem to find one and as I have just recently read the book I have been looking around on-line to see what folks are thinking about his work—I for one agree with his thinking about the discernment bewteen violence and warfare and why it is important to reframe this line of thought if we are to ever bring about a new view of modern human behavior that reduces/eliminates the common belief that warfare is somehow “natural” human behavior that we must contend with forever.

  2. I’m still planning to write that review… man time flies! I actually encountered another book that takes a somewhat opposing stance (the title eludes me now), but I wanted to get that one and then write a review that compares/contrasts the two. But perhaps I should just go ahead and review the Fry book first then read the 2nd and see if my perspective is moved.

    Thanks for the input and the prodding… 🙂

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