Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Golden Oldie Book Titles

They just don't write book titles like they used to... but, at 69 words, this might be a bit much!

A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate, market, and post towns, parishes and villages with Historical and Statistical Descriptions; embellished with engravings of the arms of cities, bishopricks, corporate towns, and boroughs; and the seals of the several municipal corporations; with an Appendix describing the electoral boundaries of the several boroughs, as defined by the Act of the 2d & 3d of Willian IV
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this is rather short in comparison to the longest known title that contains some 1086 words. Eek! And, no, it's not some archaic tome, rather a book from within the last decade. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Catch up photos from Berkeley Castle excavations

I had a chance to get out to Berkeley Castle last month during the University's excavations (run by the astoundingly good archaeologists Emily Glass and Sian Thomas). While the weather didn't hold the entire time, the students really got stuck in and did a fantastic job. I also got to run the one-day post-excavation session with a local school - those kids were a bunch of bright sparks and picked up the run of things quick smart.

Undergraduate students excavating:

Maritime Archaeology survey: interview with Sam and Tom

Check out this quick interview with University of Bristol Maritime Archaeology MA graduates who are working on their NAS (Nautical Archaeology Society) training -
Maritime Archaeology: interview with Sam and Tom

Photos from our productive day of survey work at Purton on the Severn (15/07/2012):

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whimsical challenge from the early 19th century

Searching through some catalogues today, I found a wonderful mention of something silly:
Whimsical anecdote relative to a challenge posed by actress Mrs. Humby, defying Theodore [Edward] Hook to make a rhyme to her name.
So, this is the challenge - think of a rhyme to Mrs. Humby's name. In the spirit of the early 19th century, keep it witty!

Later in July, I'll be visiting the Royal Irish Archives and will check out Mr. Hook's original response and post it. Let's see how today's witty minds compare!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Old school dating

Posted in Aris's Birmingham Gazette, 7 March 1785:

A PERSON of Character, 26 Years of Age, of a genteel profession, and of moderate fortune, wishes to engage in the Hymenial State, with an agreeable, good-tempered LADY, in AGE inferior to himself, in FORTUNE equal, or nearly so; but, in GOODNESS, as superior as Emulation CAN excite. - One having no Objection to enter a Public Line or Shop-Keeping, would be preferred; And it would be no Object of Denial, if she happens to have a fortune of MORE Capital than required. - Any Lady this may suit, may depend on a punctual Answer by addressing (Post paid) for T. H. to be left at the Printers till called for.

It's such a pity we will never know if T.H. found his perfect woman!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bog buddies, just more tourist tat?

Archaeologists are used to the ethical questions involved with bog bodies.....but what about tourist tat?

An industrious company has set up to sell "Bog Buddies", little characters and motifs (men, women, sheep, hearts, shamrocks) carved from bog materials. Not a terrible idea considering the lack of enterprise following the recession, and the fact that tourists will buy anything. They look nice enough when framed, but really, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of skill in the carving, and certainly not enough to justify the €14 price tag for the smallest piece in the cheapest box, or €40 for a small framed heart. 

I also wonder if they really thought through the name "bog buddies" - did they actively seek association with millenia-old corpses?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spreading the Word - Theology and Religious Studies Conference

A special thanks to the organisers of the recent Religion and Theology Conference for all their hard work this year! Here's an informal chat, reflecting on the conference:
Disseminating Theology and Religious Studies: Conference Reflections - Part 1

Follow the conference and get ready for next year:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth

I may not agree with every aspect of his ideas*, but it is outside the box thinking like this that leads to new breakthroughs in archaeology.
*does it work when not on concrete?

The man has developed his own website. Check out his musings here:http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What puts the mmm in Medieval?

Lots of currenty commentary on overly skinny v curvy figures has created interesting debate and pictorial comparisons like this:
So, I was most amused to see this pic play on the issue!
If gives you food for thought, to ponder how the female form has been idealised, stylised, revised, and denigrated in so many different ways, through art, the media, personal choice, and cultural dictates. The topic has been well researched and such variance carefully mapped, yet modern journalists rarely seem to use such source material in their commentaries on the latest celebrity who lost 5lbs, gained 20, or just got over that "baby weight" in record time.
The above comparison doesn't really take into account that the top row of classic beauties were posing to look attractive, whilst the bottom row were posing for posterity in a way that fitted in with the artistic and social traditions and constraints of their time.
Hold the presses! UPDATE - it just got funnier!

Ireland's SOPA proposal that you can't actually vote on

Just found out today that the motherland has gone the way of American senators, bowing down to pressure from the EU and international corporations in regard to intellectual property rights and all that jazz. Infuriating.

You can sign the petition online here http://stopsopaireland.com/

I've also written a long email to the ministers and am currently firing copies to everyone associated with Limerick (yes, I got a bit carried away with the letter...sigh). Do the same for your own county and let's get this thing under control!

This image sums up one of the associated issues of this entire fiasco:

Bye bye, democracy, it was nice knowing you, even if you were broken.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Teaching insights

Did some teaching last term and some of this certainly rang true (though the video demonstrates less reliance by students on mobile phones to get attention during class *cue disapproving stare from TA*)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why bother studying the past?

So that stupid things like this are never taken as true. ha!