Friday, November 30, 2012

After the Ice notes pt. 1

A note on schedule: for the next four weeks I'm going to be swamped with school stuff, and then over break I'll be away. I've recently been thinking about a number of writing-related issues - but those must wait. For the rest of the year I'll be posting notes from my readings, or writing excerpts. Hope you enjoy.


Story ideas, information, &c I got from reading After the Ice, by Steven Mithen.

Carcass on the river

Ligaments and sinews for thread and cord; bone needles

Meeting of H. sapiens and H. erectus in Asia?

Gazelles in Central Asia

Ch. 3 Title: “Fires and Flowers”

Azraq: oasis, described by T. E. Lawrence

Hunters: gather at oases in winter, in steppes/desert in summer

Dwellings cut into the earth

Dentalium shells often used in Mediterranean jewelry

Between woodland and steppe: water, game, plants

Animals smaller when domesticated

Gardens with significant plants (sentimental as well as real value): traditions, gifts, etc.

Separate wheat from chaff by agitating or sieving

Dwellings only for sleep: most life in open

Hunter-gatherers: intense periodic gatherings in large groups, rest of the time dispersed in small groups

“nether world between history and myth” (46)

When food shortages, less growth, males more affected

Hallan Cemi Tepesi: ancient village in Zagros region - architecture?

Walls to protect against flood

Skull cults, reburials

Early Neolithic Jericho and Jordan River Valley: “small circular dwellings, burials placed below floors, rituals associated with skulls, reliance on wild game and the cultivation of either wild or possibly domestic…plants” (63)

Mother goddess and bull god

Communal storage at center of village: also for rituals

Skulls on the wall, pillars carved with wild animals

Meet on the mountain: religious sites for gathering

Cappadocia: obsidian; coral and bone

Plaster: powdered lime and water; can be painted

Wadi Gharabi: valley of ravens

Petra (2000 years old): “rock-cut temples and tombs” (73)

Leaders know how much grain is stored

Cellar workrooms, placement of walls, models of animals; masks, robes, and headdresses

After domesticating animals, hunting wild game is prestigious

2-headed beasts (Marduk?), ghosts

Farming and herding must be separate to avoid environment degradation

Sculptures that combine human, bird, and snake in varied permutations (Nevali Cori cult building)

Catalhoyuk: “they climbed wooden ladders on to the roofs, dispersing and disappearing down a maze of rooftop pathways, steps and ladders that lead from tier to tier and house to house. Between the paths are plat mud roofs, some evidently used as workshops” (92)

A nightmare of bull heads, enormous deer; burning bones

“concentric wells and radial cells” (103)

Artemisia: successful shrub in 15000 BC Central Europe

Mountain avens: white flowers, Dryas octopetala

Doggerland beneath North Sea: when did it drown? After Mesolithic, when it was the heartland

[picture: Montgaudier Baton]

Reindeer butchery: remove head; skin body by cutting around hooves, along legs, peeling hide away while cutting sinews; lay hide out flat; cut open belly and remove innards, stacking “legs, pelvis,…ribs,…liver and kidneys” (125) on hide, while adding heart to meat, lungs to organs; cut out tongue; remove antlers

Food-sharing important for hunter-gatherers

In Stone Age, flint supervaluable - in chalk and limestone - may contain fossils or crystals

Minimum viable population about 500, usually meet once or twice a year, most of time in 25-50 person groups (4-5 families)

People travel very far for information - food, people, inventions

“flint, quartz, amber,…jet, [and] fossil shells” (129)

Groups cooperate for big annual hunts

Carr: “dense stands of trees in pools of water” (138)

Resin to attach arrow points; natural tunnets

Mas d’Azil: Mesolithic “supersite” - painted pebbles

Stories contain survival information

Mesolithic, floods, Neolithic

Black Sea was freshwater lake, then flooded by water from the Mediterranean: Noah flood?

“rounded grassy summits giving way to splintered stone” (158)

“swathes of wild lilac and honeysuckle that grew within the limestone ravines in which he listened to thunderous torrents and springs bursting from the earth” (159)

The Iron Gates: cliffs/gorges on the Danubs

Bone amulets, snail-shell beads

Lepenski Vir: melancholy fish-human stone statues [image]

Beluga sturgeon up to 9 meters long: river monsters

At Nea Nikomedeia: “polished effigies of frogs, beautifully carved from green and blue serpentine” (164)

Know: where, when, how

Pushkari in Ukraine: dwellings of mammoth bone and hide

Olneostrovski Mogilnik: Deer Island cemetery in Lake Onega, Karelia; heads point east; 2 lineages (elk and snake) - effigies, shamans interred almost standing

Bear tusks

Frontier mentality: speedy colonization, jumping from one favorable patch to another

Saami believe “swans and wildfowl were the messengers of the gods” (land, sea, air), “moving between different worlds”

Lots of fish -> parasites -> bloated stomach, pale face

Sandfire in canoe attracts eels

Deer v. boar cloak-pins at Hoedic and Teviec (respectively)

Hybrid hunting-gathering and farming lifestyle, pick and choose indicates local adopted selectively, instead of a takeover

Peripatetic: itinerant

Beringia: land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, now flooded

Sandstone cliffs, small caves, wall-paintings

Current American Indians different from First Americans to cross the land bridge - what was the conflict?

Labyrinthine mountains and valleys; high glacier valleys

Megalakes formed by meltwaters from ice sheets

Drunken woodlands: forest floor -> water, “on soil which lay upon stagnant layers of ice” (243) - tilted trees

Glyptodont: “giant armadillo-like creature” (244) central American rainforest

Something dwelling in a frozen lake

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