History, art thrown away

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



A site of potentially great help to me -- rumored to have been a capital for various governments, and at the very least an ancient city and therefore of great interest -- had not only its ancient buildings but its artworks (carvings, sculptures) destroyed and carted away to use as ballast! This was in the 1870s or so. (Read in the 1878 record of the comments of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.)
Current time travel apparatus location: Vancouver, Canada

Dating

No, not the fun type.

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Did 2 sites today, a busy day for travel. One site I had to move to a later chapter, as the excavators though they presented the scientific dating blithely placed the site in a significantly earlier period than it and other evidence signified. A scholar too pointed out how weird they were about not using the dating that was done at such pains. Of course this was all because the excavator was rather kooky and wanted the site for one of his favorite periods rather than a later one. Oh well, at least the real dating was right there.
Current time travel apparatus location: Tokyo, Japan

Teensy

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...




Did 4 sites today, which is surprising given all the time I spent on my upcoming trip. Only 2 were useful, and the other 2 were the type I see occasionally, a site mentioned by one scholar at most but regarding which nothing is available because it was such a teensy excavation, it was so destroyed, or whatever.
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Learning my lessons

As chronicled very early on in your researcher's journal as I began to research my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...



A quote from what I was just reading over breakfast that says well what I experience too often from certain sources before I learn to avoid them: "We would get lost for days as rumor or convincingly wrong data sent us up some promising path that only later proved a logical cul-de-sac. It didn't help that all of us had suffered the psychic equivalent of third-degree burns." (from a novel I'm enjoying very much: Neal Stephenson's Anathem)


Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Violence

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


In a culture kooks say was completely non-violent a lot of weapons and fortifications are found. What would make them admit there was violence, atomic bombs thousands of years ago? This shows how just a glance at the facts debunks a lot of myths.
Current time travel apparatus location: Pondicherry, India

Another glimpse of life in India

A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Did three archaeological sites today, though none were enough to detail in my books. Today did less than on a normal work day because it was my errand day, though it was one of those disconcerting (actually, to be honest, totally horrifying) days out in India when no store carries much of what you want; one store was even outright closed where I always get my vegetables. I'm finishing the day with reading some French...
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Generosity of some archaeologists

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...

Well, I feel disillusioned. A favorite writer of mine on archaeology and history, who shall as usual here remain unnamed, at least in the 1960s when excavating a site gave only a perfunctory report, saying things like "we found a few dishes with the usual accompaniments." All the hundreds of other archaeological reports I've read say what the so-called usual accompaniments are, recognizing that every site has some uniqueness and that the careful student wants to be shown that such an assumption is correct and wants all the details she can get. Many archaeologists also present wonderful photographs and drawings to make it even clearer, and they state why they sometimes have retrieved less information than they would have liked. The writer also makes the assumption that any site that changes styles is because of an entirely new population -- what does the writer think of people who can afford to completely redecorate their homes? Are they no longer themselves? -- I'm sure that'd be news to them. But it's also a tiny bit comforting, because even brilliant people now well known for rational presentations were not always that way...though it also reminds me I can't completely accept everything even a respected scholar says, and makes me glad I've always been of the "show-me" school.
Current time travel apparatus location: New Delhi, India

Speaking of rituals...

That typo mentioned in my last post brings up a problem I believe people are much more aware of in archaeological theory nowadays: anything unexplained is "explained" by saying it was a ritual object or place. See my favorite spoof on this, MOTEL OF THE MYSTERIES by David Macaulay.

The joys of typos

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Ah, how boring research would be some days without typos. I just ran across a great one, though be forewarned it's very rude: "It is reasonable to infer that the floor belonged to a kitchen, though the possibility of its being a ritualistic snot cannot altogether be ruled out."
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

A glimpse at a weird menu during my writing days in India

A glimpse at life in India, as chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


It's 4:30 on a Friday and I'm going to sign off; on Fridays I usually stop work early. Did 5 sites today, 3 completely and 2 that require a better library to finish. I'm a little distracted because somebody's digging up our road, and the elephant god noise keeping me awake for hours every night is continuing. Notice how controlled I was not mentioning that until now? But now it's telling; I'm tired. Dinner is easy at this point though so I feel very virtuous; I already made a Korean eggplant side dish, Korean radish kimchi, and Chinese cucumber pickles, all to serve coldish; we'll also have Japanese seaweed crackers and Thai canned mackerel in a sauce. How's that for a pan-Asian buffet that would probably horrify any purist?
Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Lost??

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


Just read about a site where a bunch of copper objects were just "lost" after the archaeological excavation. Oops.
Current time travel apparatus location: Public library in Bangalore, India

We were told by our architect when building our house in India not to use copper pipes at least on the outside (common placing in that mild climate) because we would wake up some morning to find our plumbing gone!! It's just worth too much to the poor....

I'll take one of those, please

From a very old Wanamaker's furniture catalog. It looks 1800s to me, but I've not been able to confirm; I'm just noticing its offerings are vastly different from another furniture catalog I just read, dated 1921, and note the use of the description modern in the same Wanamaker's catalog...



Perhaps I need several! Hmm, has anyone invented time travel ordering, though...At least my time machine won't fit furniture....

Fences and neighbors

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


I keep running across government-owned archaeological sites in South Asia that have had to get barbed-wire fencing or similar to discourage people from building or farming on them! I wonder if this happens much in non-poor countries. I also cringe to wonder how much history has been lost because of this. 

Current time travel apparatus location: The Round Library, Bangalore, India

Honestly...

As chronicled in your researcher's journal as I researched my history of early lifestyles in South Asia...


I get frustrated at how long certain sites take -- not at all frustrated if they're full of fascinating information, but if at the end of it all I find it's basically "The people at this site had dishes. The End." But the process will speed up eventually because though I start researching a site when it comes up chronologically in my old notes, I at that point do the research for its whole history, at least up to when I plan to stop my book (700 CE).
Current time travel apparatus location: Vancouver, Canada