Back to work…

A lovely hike through Taughannock Falls in winter

Well, not having internet at my mother-in-law’s house turned out to be great for reading books I need to review, but not so great for posting to this blog! We’re back in Providence now, and excited to get back to regular work. First, some thoughts about the review – I was part-way through reading the book, and nastily writing down every single critical thought I had about it (on my iphone, not on paper), and therefore feeling pretty negative about the book.

Then I took a break to check my twitter (which happens way too often) and saw that the book’s author had followed me. Hm, that made me feel bad, here I’d been writing down all this negative stuff about this person, and now they like me? It was like when you passed nasty notes about someone in grade school and then they picked you for their team. Oops.

Sitting by the woodstove reading diligently

However, not being in grade school anymore, I soon realized that 1) I hadn’t actually shown anyone these critical notes yet and 2) being critical is not an unreasonable part of the process, as long as it’s not the endpoint and 3) knowing this author thinks enough of me to follow me is pushing me to be kinder and more constructive in the final product, which can only be good and will improve the review, and other people’s experience of the field of archaeology in general. So now I feel encouraged and uplifted, and I’ve nearly finished the book, and have lots of notes. I’ll probably write it and then let it sit a week to settle before I send it off.

Second, now that I’m back to work on the book, what am I doing? Today, it’s the archaeology of the US state of Georgia – when did people there start to engage with long-distance trade networks? Did you realize they were trading stone by 1000 BC and copper by the first centuries AD? When you think of Native people, is copper mining what comes to mind?

Marble figurines from Etowah, in northern Georgia, about 1300 AD. No relationship to Central America?

And I know there is really no evidence (yet!) that they’re trading with the Olmec or the Maya in Central America, whether directly or long-distance, but I keep hoping some contact will turn up. I just feel like they have to be in touch somehow. Not that they can’t come up with their own culture independently, but just because it’s not *that* far to walk or canoe, and I find it hard to believe nobody did it.

I wonder whether DNA work on Native or Olmec skeletons will start turning up genetic relationships, as it has done in the Roman empire, where it seems like every other skeleton they test turns out to be part East Asian or entirely African.

Olmec statue from about 1500 years earlier.

It’s a thing people do, they travel around. Sadly, that evidence is unlikely to turn up in time for this book though.

I’ve got Arabic pop music from Spotify on Alexa, which I totally recommend as work music – it is lively, but I only understand a few of the words, so it doesn’t distract me.

And in the alphabetical listings, Study Guides is still in the Bs – now up to #207 board games and #208 early boats. If you are a teacher or school librarian with a website and you’d like to link to – the home page or any article – I’d be super grateful! Links are how students find us to use us.

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