Allegory of Us



A typography assignment.

Transcript of Allegory of Us

D a r e t o D i s c o v e r

Letter from the Editor

I have always believed that learning is the most wonderful thing in the world. We as people are forever growing, forever learning about ourselves and this big, blue marble we live on. As time passes, we discover our strengths and weakness, our faith and fears, and we dream. All the while, we learn. Sometimes it takes a few knocks upside the head before a lesson gets through, but in the end, it is the experience that matters.

Allegory of Us is a source of human experience. Lives lived, lessons learned and knowledge left behind are in every tomb discovered and each piece of pottery unearthed. As our environment changes, so does our culture—it is amazing to look back into the past and put together the puzzle which brought us to the point we are today.

Keep the fire of your desire to learn burning.

You never know what you’ll discover when the smoke clears.

Amber Smith

Photo: Credit to Geoffrey Whiteway

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Photo (above): Credit to Ben Earwicker Garrison Photography, Boise, ID


Neandertals and modern Europe-ans had something in common:

They were fatheads of the same ilk. A new genetic analysis reveals that our brawny cousins had a number of dis-tinct genes involved in the buildup of certain types of fat in their brains and other tissues—a trait shared by today’s Europeans, but not Asians. Because two-thirds of our brains are built of fatty acids, or lipids, the differences in fat composition between Europeans and Asians might have functional con-sequences, perhaps in helping them adapt to colder climates or causing metabolic diseases.

“This is the first time we have seen differences in lipid concentrations be-tween populations,” says evolutionary biologist Philipp Khaitovich of the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computation-al Biology in Shanghai, China, and the

Ann Gibbons

Stranger Than Fiction

Hey, Fathead!

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, lead author of the new study. “How our brains are built differently of lipids might be due to Neandertal DNA.”

Ever since researchers at the Max Planck sequenced the genome of Ne-andertals, including a super high-qual-

Modern humans in Europe may

have inherited genes from Nean-

dertals that process fat in their

brains and bodies.

“...Europeans inherited three times as any genes involved

in lipid cabolism, from Neaderthals as

did Aisians”

focused on brain tissue first because it contains so many fatty acids—and was available from a brain tissue bank. “There is no [body fat] tissue bank for different populations,” he says.

The team found that Europeans had differences in the concentration of various fatty acids in the brain that were not found in Asians or chimpan-zees, which suggests they had evolved recently. The Europeans also showed differences in the function of enzymes that are known to be involved with the metabolism of fat in the brain.

Now the team is trying to figure out what the fatty acids do in the brain and how differences in their concentration might affect function. “We wouldn’t see it in the brain tissue.” ∆

ity genome of a Neandertal from the Al-tai Mountains of Siberia in December, researchers have been comparing Ne-andertal DNA with that of living people.

Neanderthal Genome

Neandertals, who went extinct 30,000 years ago, interbred with mod-ern humans at least once in the past 60,000 years, probably somewhere in the Middle East. Because the inter-breeding happened after moderns left Africa, today’s Africans did not inherit any Neandertal DNA. But living Eu-ropeans and Asians have inherited a small amount—1% to 4% on average. So far, scientists have found that differ-ent populations of living humans have inherited the Neandertal version of genes that cause diabetes, lupus, and Crohn’s disease; alter immune function; and affect the function of the protein keratin in skin, nails, and hair.

In the latest study, published on-line today in Nature Communications, Khaitovich and his international team analyzed the distribution of Neander-tal gene variants in the genomes of 11 populations from Africa, Asia, and Europe. They found that Europeans inherited three times as many genes involved in lipid catabolism, the break-down of fats to release energy, from Neandertals as did Asians. (As expect-ed, Africans did not carry any of these Neandertal variants.) The difference in the number of Neandertal genes involved with lipid processing was “huge,” Khaitovich says. The study also offers another example of the lingering genetic legacy left in some people to-

Stranger Than Fiction Pg. 7

day by the extinct Neandertals.While the team doesn’t know the

function of those Neandertal gene variants, it began to search for their in-fluence by examining brain tissue from the prefrontal cortex of 14 adults of European, African, and Asian descent, as well as 14 chimpanzees. Although Khaitovich thinks that the Neandertal genes affect the composition of fat throughout the body, the researchers

Pg. 8 Photo: Credit to Richard Leinstein Pg. 9

The moment the Villa of the Mysteries was discovered in spring 1909, it was at

risk. Once protected by a layer of at least 30 feet of the volcanic ash and soil that had fall-en on Pompeii in A.D. 79, the villa’s stunning decoration was immediately exposed to po-tential damage from the elements and earth-quakes, one of which occurred a bit more than a month after excavations began. As each wheelbarrow of debris was removed, reveal-ing columns, artifacts, mosaics, and frescoes, the threat increased. It soon became clear that the house and its vibrant paintings were extraordinarily vulnerable, not only to sun, rain, and wind, but also to theft. Just three weeks after the discovery of one of the most stunning finds in the famed ancient city, exca-vations were halted and the focus shifted to protect conservation. It would take archaeol-

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ogists two more decades to completely excavate the property.

For more than a century, there have been many efforts, some successful, some less so, to conserve the villa’s walls, floors, and frescoes. Now, sev-eral teams of archaeologists, archi-tects, chemists, and physicists have embarked on a yearlong project, us-ing both time-tested methods and in-novative technologies, to remedy the damage done by earlier conservators and by time, and to restore the villa and its remarkable interior once again.

Bui lt Just Outside

Built just outside one of Pompeii’s main gates in the first half of the sec-ond century B.C., the Villa of the Mys-teries covered about 40,000 square feet and had at least 60 rooms. In A.D. 79, the house was already more than two hundred years old and had likely had several different owners, been redeco-rated, and been heavily repaired, par-ticularly after a large earthquake struck Pompeii in A.D. 62, damaging many buildings and necessitating repairs all over the city. At various times the villa functioned, as many ancient Roman estates did, as both luxury home and

Jarrett A. Lobell

Villa in Pompeii


Photo (above): Credit to Justin Ennis

Villa in Pompeii Pg. 11 Pg. 11

working farm. There were areas for pressing grapes into wine, several large kitchens and baths, gardens, shrines, marble statues, and all the spaces nec-essary for a wealthy patron to welcome guests for both business and pleasure. Many rooms were covered in frescoes, including a bedroom with simple black walls, an atrium decorated with panels painted to resemble stone, several rooms that contain fantastical archi-tecture and landscapes, and scenes of sacrifices, gods, and satyrs.

The most spectacular frescoes, painted in the mid-first century B.C., were found less than a week after ex-cavations began, in an approximately 15-by-15-foot space that was likely used as a dining room. There, against a vivid red background, more than two dozen life-size figures engage in what

has been variously interpreted as a play or pantomime, a bride’s preparations for her wedding, or, most often, an initi-ation ritual into the mystery cult of Dio-nysus. (In contrast to recognized public religion and worship, in the Greco-Ro-man world the mystery cults required the worshipper to be initiated.)

For more than two decades the house was known as the “Villa Item” after Aurelio Item, owner of Pompeii’s Hotel Suisse, and the private excava-tor who first discovered the villa. But in 1931, Amadeo Maiuri, the director of excavations at Pompeii, changed the name to the “Villa of the Myster-ies” upon publication of his excava-tion report to focus attention on the red room’s decoration, the property’s most extraordinary feature.

Photo (above): Credit to Justin Ennis

Five Months After

Five months after the Villa of the Mysteries was first uncovered, it still had no roof to protect it. Moisture be-gan to infiltrate and weaken the walls and damage the frescoes, harmful salts from the wet ground left white splotch-es on the paintings, and the sun began to fade the fragile pigments.

“Early conservation efforts sometimes involved removing

frescoes, rebuilding or reinforcing the walls, and then reattaching

the paintings.”

The first conservators also applied a coat of wax mixed with oil to clean the paintings’ surfaces, preserve the an-cient pigments, and stabilize the frag-ile works, giving the frescoes a glossy appearance the ancient artists never intended them to have. At the same time, the wax filled in cracks in the surfaces, sealing moisture inside the walls, further weakening them by com-promising the strength of the mortar holding the walls together.By 2013 the villa, like most of Pompeii, was in dire need of modern conservation, as was a protective covering that had been con-structed in different phases throughout the years. Parts of paintings were crum-bling from unstable walls and the mo-saics had been severely damaged by

millions of visitors’ feet. Repeated ap-plications of wax had caused the pig-ments to oxidize and darken, and the frescoes to yellow, significantly altering their appearance. “All the surface dec-orations of the villa, both mosaics and frescoes, had been conserved before, but in an irregular way,” says Stefano Vanacore, director of the restoration laboratory at Pompeii. “But there has never been a large, comprehensive program like we are doing now. We are looking at every single surface to analyze the materials used, both an-cient and modern, and to research the causes of the deterioration. Only then can we restore the villa properly.”

Some of the methods currently be-ing employed have been used by de-cades of conservators at Pompeii. In-dividual tesserae have been replaced, one by one, in each mosaic, using an-cient tiles whenever possible. Frescoes have been cleaned by hand using a scalpel or a chemical solution. Painted surfaces have been consolidated with an acrylic resin diluted with deionized water and then injected into cracks. However, the teams today also have more high-tech tools at their disposal, including lasers to clean the frescoes, and ultrasound, thermal imaging, and radar to evaluate the level of decay of the walls and paintings. And drones are being used to examine the en-tirety of the villa’s protective covering. “The preciousness and historical im-portance of the Villa of the Mysteries necessitates great care,” says Vana-core. “I’m aware that we are working in one of Pompeii’s most important houses, and that our responsibility is enormous. I know that the work will

Villa in Pompeii Pg. 13 Pg. 13

forever be judged by the results, by people, and by time.”

Although frescoes appear to exist as a single layer on a wall, they are actu-ally created in multiple layers in a way that makes the artwork part of the wall itself. True fresco is made by beginning with several coats of plaster—usually two rough coats that are allowed to dry and harden, and a third, smooth one. Dry pigments mixed with water are painted on while the third coat is still wet unlike an oil painting on canvas, for example, which can easily peel or chip.

Examinat ion The Villa of the Mysteries has doz-

ens of frescoed walls, almost all of which need attention, according to Though these walls are durable, they still must be handled carefully. “We felt that lasers were a good method to clean the frescoes because they allow for the gentle cleaning of hard surfac-es, and there is minimal impact on the work of art,” says Vanacore. Although lasers are generally used for cleaning stone, they have been tested on metals and pottery as well to great success. The process by which the lasers clean the frescoes—a few microns at a time—is called photoablation, a sort of vapor-ization of what can appear as a layer of black crust. “This allows for precise cleaning of very delicate surfaces, and it’s also much less time consuming than using a scalpel or chemicals,” Vanacore adds. Even where the surface is very degraded, lasers can remove minus-cule amounts of dirt without affecting the layer underneath, revealing as much of the ancient painting as possi-

ble without putting it at risk. As part of the overall examination of the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii’s archaeologi-cal superintendency, which oversees all work in the ancient city, also invited a team from the University of Kiel in Germany to investigate the house also using some of the latest technology available to archaeologists and conser-vators. Since it is no longer accepted practice to detach the paintings from

Photo (above): Credit to Justin Ennis

the walls as the first conservators did, the Kiel team had to look to other tech-niques, such as those they used during a 2012 research project in the House of the Tragic Poet—another of Pompeii’s well decorated properties and home to the beloved “Beware of the Dog” mosaic—to investigate the damage to both the paintings and the underlying walls. “We wanted to employ nonde-structive techniques to quantify the

properties of the villa’s ancient paint-ing and walls in order to identify the level of decay,” says Luigia Cristiano, a team member and researcher at Kiel’s Institute of Geoscience. Using a combi-nation of these sophisticated methods, the Kiel team has been able to create precise maps that can be used to bet-ter direct the restoration of the villa.

Ultrasound is best suited to study the walls’ outermost layer, which in-cludes the paintings and the plaster just beneath it, Cristiano explains. This technique measures the speed of ul-trasonic waves propagating along the walls’ surfaces—variations in speed can help scientists and conservators to detect cracks, water saturation, or salt intrusions. Images of the wall can also be created using both active and

“Ultrasound is best suited to study the

walls’ outermost layer”

passive thermography to detect and record very small changes in tem-perature across the walls’ surfaces and document damage. Passive thermogra-phy takes temperature measurements without altering the surface in any way, while active thermography heats the wall very slightly—just two degrees—in order to investigate the response of the walls to heating. “Both cracks in, and fresco detachment from, the walls can be identified in places where the tem-perature is higher than the surrounding area during active heating and faster cooldown.” says Cristiano. Garden that was an important part. ∆

Villa in Pompeii Pg. 15

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ancient seaport city of Ashkelon in the west and Beit Guvrin and Jerusalem in the east.

“Usually a Byzantine village had a church, but the size of this church and its placement on the road makes i t more important ,” Degen told LiveScience.

Remarkable Finds

The excavators plan to keep working on the site for another week, but one of the most remarkable finds so far was a mosaic containing a Christogram, or a “type of monogram of the name of Je-sus,” Degen said. “Type of monogram of the name of Jesus,” Degen said.

At the time, Byzantine Christians wouldn’t have put crosses on their mosaic floors so as to not step on the symbol of Christ, Degen explained.The Christogram in the mosaic may look like a cross, but it’s actually more like a “chi rho” symbol, which puts to-gether the first two captial letters in the Greek word for Christ, and often looks like an X superimposed on a P. There is an alpha and omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) on either side of the chi rho, which is

Archaeologists in Israel have un-

covered intricate mosaics on the

floor of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine

church, including one that bears a

Christogram surrounded by birds.

The ruins were discovered during a salvage excavation

ahead of a construction project in Aluma, a village about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Tel Aviv, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced Wednesday (Jan. 22). Excavator Davida Eisenberg Degen said the team used an industrial digger to probe a mound at the site, and through a 10-foot (3 meters) hole, they could see the white tiles of an ancient mosaic.

Much of the church was revealed during excavations over the past month. The basilica was part of a local Byzantine settlement, but the archaeol-ogists suspect it also served as a center of Christian worship for neighboring communities because it was next to the main road running between the

Ancient Church Mosaic

J.L. Arsuaga

Wake Up, Warhol!


Photo (above): Credit to safarimag (

Wake Up, Warhol! Pg. 17

The Christogram in the mosaic may look like a cross, but it’s actually more like a “chi rho” symbol, which puts to-gether the first two captial letters in the Greek word for Christ, and often looks like an X superimposed on a P. There is an alpha and omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) on either side of the chi rho, which is another Christian symbol, as Christ was often described as”the beginning and the end.” Four birds also decorate the mosaic, and two of them are holding up a wreath to the top of the chi rho.

Inside the 72-by-39-foot (22-by-12-meter) basilica, archaeologists also found marble pillars and an open courtyard paved with a white mosaic floor, said Daniel Varga, director of the IAA’s excavations.

Just off the courtyard, in the church’s narthex, or lobby area, there is “a fine mosaic floor decorated with col-ored geometric designs” as well as a “twelve-row dedicatory inscription in Greek containing the names ‘Mary’ and ‘Jesus’ and the name of the person who funded the mosaic’s construction,” Varga said in a statement. ∆

another Christian symbol, as Christ was often described as”the beginning and the end.” Four birds also decorate the mosaic, and two of them are holding up a wreath to the top of the chi rho.

Inside the 72-by-39-foot (22-by-12-

meter) basilica, archaeologists also found marble pillars and an open courtyard paved with a white mosaic floor, said Daniel Varga, director of the IAA’s excavations.

“Type of monogram of the name of Jesus,” Degen said.

At the time, Byzantine Christians wouldn’t have put crosses on their mosaic floors so as to not step on the symbol of Christ, Degen explained.

“Many of the other medallions contain botanical designs

and animals such as a zebras, peacocks,

leopards and wild boars...”

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Want to Become a Student of anthropology?

Photo: Credit to Akash Khairate Pg. 19

Anthropologists and archeolo-gists study the origin, devel-

opment, and behavior of humans. They examine the cultures, languages, archeological remains, and physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world. Although most an-thropologists and archeologists work in an office, some analyze samples in laboratories or work in the field. They typically work in research organizations, colleges and universities, museums, consulting firms, private corporations, and government. Fieldwork in remote areas usually requires travel for extend-ed periods.

Pg. 19

Columnist Name here

Student of Anthropology

“Archeologists examine, recover, and preserve evidence and artifacts from past

human cultures.“

Many anthropologists and arche-ologists use sophisticated tools and technologies in their work. Although the equipment used varies by task and specialty, it often includes excavating tools, laboratory equipment, statistical and database software, geophysical tools and equipment, and geographic information systems.

Anthropologists typically do the following:

• Plan research projects to an-swer questions and test hypotheses about the inter-action between nature and culture

• Develop data collection meth-ods tailored to a particular specialty or project

• Collect information from ob-servations, interviews, and documents

• Record and manage records of observations taken in the field

• Analyze data, laboratory sam-ples, and other sources of information to uncover pat-terns about human life, cul-ture, and origins

• Prepare reports and present research findings

• Advise organizations on the cultural impact of policies, programs, and products

Some anthropologists study the social and cultural consequences of current human issues, such as overpop-

ulation, natural disasters, warfare, and poverty; others study the prehistory and the evolution of humans.

A growing number of anthropol-ogists perform market research for businesses by studying the demand for products by a particular culture or social group. For example, using their anthropological background and a variety of techniques—including inter-views, surveys, and observations—they may collect data on how a product is used by specific demographic groups.

By drawing and building on knowl-edge from the humanities and the social, physical, and biological scienc-es, anthropologists and archeologists examine the ways of life, languages, archeological remains, and physical characteristics of people in various parts of the world. They also examine the customs, values, and social pat-terns of different cultures.

Archeologists examine, recover, and preserve evidence and artifacts from past human cultures. They analyze skel-etal remains and artifacts, such as tools, pottery, cave paintings, and ruins of buildings. They connect artifacts with information about past environments to learn about the history, customs, and living habits of people in earlier eras.

Archeologists also manage and pro-tect archeological sites. Some work in national parks or at historical sites, providing site protection and educat-ing the public. Others assess building sites to ensure that construction plans comply with federal regulations on site preservation. Archeologists often spe-cialize in a particular geographic area, period, or objects of study, such as an-imal remains or underwater sites.

Student of Anthropology Pg. 21Photo (left): Credit to Alexander Sperl Pg. 21

The following are examples of types of anthropologists:

Biological anthropologists, also known as physical anthropologists, research the evolution of the human species. They look for early evidence of human life, analyze genetics, study primates, and examine the biological variations in humans. They analyze how culture and biology influence each oth-er. Some may examine human remains found at archeological sites to under-stand population demographics or to identify factors—such as nutrition and disease—that affected these popula-tions. Others may work as forensic an-thropologists in medical or legal set-tings, identifying and analyzing skeletal remains and genetic material.

Cultural anthropologists study the customs, cultures, and social lives of groups. They investigate social practic-es and processes in settings that range from remote, unindustrialized villages to modern urban centers. Cultural an-thropologists often spend time living in the societies they study and collect information through observations, in-terviews, and surveys.

Linguistic anthropologists study how humans communicate and how language shapes social life. They in-vestigate nonverbal communication, the structure and development of languages, and differences among languages. They also examine the role of language in different cultures, how social and cultural factors affect language, and how language affects a person’s experiences. Most linguistic anthropologists study non-European languages, which they learn directly from native speakers.

Work Environment

Anthropologists and archeologists held about 7,200 jobs in 2012. They worked in research organizations, col-leges and universities, museums, con-sulting firms, private corporations, and all levels of government.

The work of anthropologists varies widely, depending on the specific job. Although most anthropologists work in an office, some analyze samples in laboratories or work in the field.

Archeologists often work for cultur-al resource management (CRM) firms. CRM firms identify, assess, and pre-serve archeological sites and ensure that developers and builders comply with regulations regarding archeolog-ical sites. Archeologists also work in museums, at historical sites, and for government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Anthropologists and archeolo-gists often do fieldwork, either in the United States or in foreign countries. Fieldwork may involve learning foreign languages, living in remote areas, and examining and excavating archeolog-ical sites.

Fieldwork for anthropologists and archeologists usually requires travel for extended periods—about 4 to 8 weeks, but sometimes longer. Field assignments also may require travel to remote areas or international locations, where anthropologists must live with the people they study to learn about their culture. The work may involve rugged living conditions and strenu-ous physical exertion. Anthropologists

are expected to adapt to changing en-vironments, integrate into new social circles, and often conduct research in a foreign language.

While in the field, anthropologists and archeologists often work long hours to meet research deadlines. In addition, many must deal with limited funding for their projects. As a result,

fieldwork can be stressful.

How to Become an Anthropologist

Anthropologists and archeologists need a master’s degree or Ph.D. in an-thropology or archeology. Experience doing anthropological or archeological fieldwork is also important. Bachelor’s degree holders may find work as assis-tants or fieldworkers.

Anthropologists and archeologists may qualify for many positions with a master’s degree in anthropology or archeology. Most master’s degree programs are 2 years in duration and include field research.

Although a master’s degree is enough for many positions, a Ph.D. may be needed for jobs that require leadership skills and advanced tech-nical knowledge. To direct projects outside the United States, anthropolo-gists and archeologists typically need a Ph.D. to comply with the require-ments of foreign governments. A Ph.D. takes several years of study beyond a master’s degree and completion of a doctoral dissertation. Ph.D. students typically spend between 12 and 30 months doing field research for their dissertation.

Those with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology or archeology and work experience gained through an intern-ship or field school can work as field or laboratory technicians or assistants. However, anthropologists and arche-ologists need a master’s degree to advance beyond entry-level positions.

Many people with a Ph.D. in an-thropology or archeology become professors or museum curators. For more information, see the profiles on

Student of Anthropology Pg. 23

2012 Median Pay $57,420 per year $27.61 per hour

Entry-Level Education Master’s degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation


On-the-job Training None

Number of Jobs, 2012 7,200

Job Outlook, 2012-22 19% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2012-221,400

Pg. 23

“Anthropology and archeology students typically spend part of their graduate program

conducting field research, often working abroad or in community-based research.”

postsecondary teachers and archivists, curators, and museum technicians.

In order to get a job, graduates of anthropology and archeology pro-grams usually need work experience in these fields and training in a variety of research methods. Many candidates fulfill this requirement through field training or internships with museums, historical societies, or nonprofit orga-nizations.

Analytical skills. Anthropol-ogists and archeologists need knowledge of scientific methods and data, which are often used in their research.

Critical-thinking skills. Anthro-pologists and archeologists must be able to draw logical conclusions from observations, laboratory ex-periments, and other methods of research.

Investigative skills. Anthropol-ogists and archeologists must seek and explore all facts relevant to their research. They must be able to combine pieces of information to try to solve problems and to an-swer research questions.

Writing skills. Anthropologists and archeologists need strong writ-ing skills because they often write reports detailing their research findings and publish results in scholarly journals and public inter-est publications.

Student of Anthropology Pg. 25

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Job OutlookEmployment of anthropologists and

archeologists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. How-ever, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,400 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Anthropologists and archeologists will be needed to study human life, history, and culture, and to apply that knowledge to current issues. Archeol-ogists will also be needed to monitor construction projects, ensuring that

builders comply with federal regula-tions on the preservation and handling of archeological and historical artifacts

.In addition, corporations will in-creasingly use anthropological re-search to gain a better understand-ing of consumer demand within specific cultures or social groups. Anthropologists and archeologists will also be needed to analyze mar-kets, allowing businesses to serve their clients better or to target new customers or demographic groups.

Because anthropological and arche-ological research is highly dependent on the amount of research funding, federal budgetary decisions will affect the rate of employment growth in re-search.

“Overall job prospects will be best for candi-dates with a Ph.D. and extensive anthropolog-ical or archaeological

fieldwork experience.”

Although job opportunities for an-thropologists will continue to grow in businesses, consulting firms, and oth-er non-traditional settings, workers will likely face very strong competition for jobs because of the small number of positions.Archeologists should have the best job prospects in cultural re-source management (CRM) firms. ∆


Photo (above): Credit to Akash Khairate

Pg. 28

white and in a similar condition, which is evidence for a hot cremation pyre reaching temperatures in the order of 650 to 950 degrees,” says Iraia Ara-baolaza, who led the team responsible for the excavation.

“It is likely that the cremation oc-curred soon after death. The smaller average weight of the bones in this cist, as well as the absence of axial [head and trunk] bones, is a common trait in some Bronze Age cremations.


Photo (above): Credit to Jason Clark

A cist burial spotted hanging from a cliff on the edge of Scotland

came from the ceremony of a Bronze Age adult cremated swiftly after their death, say archaeologists investigating the bones of a body whose skull carried a tumor.

Cracks and warping of the remains, which belonged to someone of inde-terminate gender, suggest the body was still fleshed when it was cremated in a service accompanied by a tonne of burning wood.

The bones were secured in a daring rescue mission on the eroding face of a sand cliff at Sannox, on the Isle of Ar-ran, where experts used a mechanical cherry picker and balanced on harness-es to remove two cists. “All the bone was uniformly white and in a similar condition, which is evidence for a hot cremation“All the bone was uniformly

The discovery of two Bronze Age cists in a disused quarry in Sannox, Isle of Arran by the landowner and a local resident prompted their rescue excavation under the His-toric Scotland’s Human Remains Call-off Contract (HRCC)

Bronze Age Burials?

Ben Miller

Dig It!

Ballin, a lithic expert from the Universi-ty of Bradford.knives clearly represent an important tool,” says Torben Bjarke Ballin, a lithic expert from the University of Bradford.

“Flint knives frequently formed part of the period’s burial goods. The Scot-tish scale-flaked and plano-convex knives are most likely to also be sickles, and they probably carried out the same work as the crescent-shaped sickles of southern Britain. Although the piece from Sannox Quarry does not have any gloss, small flat chips were detached along its edge, indicating that it had

been used prior to deposit ion in the cist.”

Beverley Ballin Smith, an archae-ology researcher who works with Na-tional Museums Scotland, says the wa-ter-damaged vessel is unusual.

“In the suite of Bronze Age funeral ceramics, food vessels are not as com-mon as beakers and urns and are less well known,” she explains.“.

Although the Sannox pot follows some of the decorative motifs of Scot-tish food vessels, such as its bevelled rim and the slightly uncommon herring bone design, its decoration is in char-acter comparable to those from the east coast.” ∆

“The lack of remains such as sub-stantial amounts of charcoal associated with a pyre also reinforces the idea of a selected burial.”

Some of the bones may have been kept back or lost to erosion on the cliff.

Arabaolaza says a mysterious green stain, examined once the team had moved the remains to Glasgow, could be copper – demonstrating poor pres-ervation had moved the remains to

Glasgow, could be copper – demon-strating poor preservation conditions.

A food vessel and a sharp knife, made with Yorkshire flint and found with the body, served both as tools and grave goods.

“Although the burial customs of the Scottish early Bronze Age varied greatly, across the period as well as from region to region, scale-flaked and plano-convex knives clearly represent an important tool,” says Torben Bjarke

“Although the burial customs of the Scottish

early Bronze Age varied greatly...knives

clearly represent an important tool.”

Dig It! Pg. 29

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A tomb newly excavated at an an-cient cemetery in Egypt would

have boasted a pyramid 7 meters (23 feet) high at its entrance, archaeolo-gists say.

The tomb, found at the site of Aby-dos, dates back around 3,300 years. Within one of its vaulted burial cham-bers, a team of archaeologists found a finely crafted sandstone sarcopha-gus, painted red, which was created for a scribe named Horemheb. The sarcophagus has images of several Egyptian gods on it and hieroglyphic inscriptions recording spells from the Book of the Dead that helped one enter the afterlife.

There is no mummy in the sarcoph-agus, and the tomb was ransacked at least twice in antiquity. Human remains survived the ransacking, however. Ar-

New Tomb Discovered

Owen Jarus

Dead and Buried

chaeologists found disarticulated skel-etal remains from three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children in the tomb.

Newly Discovered Pyramid

The chambers that the archaeolo-gists uncovered would have originally resided beneath the surface, leaving only the steep-sided pyramid visible.

“Originally, all you probably would have seen would have been the pyra-mid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything,” said Kevin Cahail, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, who led excavations at the tomb.

The pyramid itself “probably would have had a small mortuary chapel in-side of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath,” Cahail told Live Science. Today, all that remains of the pyramid are the thick walls of the tomb entranceway that would have formed the base of the pyr-amid. The other parts of the pyramid either haven’t survived or have not yet been found.

Dating back around 3,300 years this tomb was discovered recently at an ancient cemetery at Abydos in Egypt. At left the rectangular entrance shaft with massive walls served as a base for a small pyra-mid that was an estimated 23 feet (7 meters) high.


Photo (above): Credit to Oscar Dahl

Dead and Buried Pg. 31

“The tomb, found at the site of Abydos,

dates back around 3,300 years. “

Mil itary TiesIt was not uncommon, at this time,

for tombs of elite individuals to contain small pyramids, Cahail said. The tomb was excavated in the summer and win-ter field seasons of 2013 and Cahail will be presenting results at the annu-al meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, to be held in Portland, Ore., from April 4-6.

Cahail believes that Horemheb’s family had military ties that allowed them to afford such an elaborate tomb. Another burial chamber, this one miss-ing a sarcophagus, contains shabti fig-urines that were crafted to do the work of the deceased in the afterlife. Writing on the figurines say that they are for the “Overseer of the Stable, Ramesu (also spelled Ramesses).” This appears to be a military title and it’s possible that Ramesu was the father or older brother of Horemheb, Cahail said.

Cahail believes that Horemheb’s family had military ties that allowed them to afford such an elaborate tomb. Another burial chamber, this one miss-ing a sarcophagus, contains shabti fig-urines that were crafted to do the work

of the deceased in the afterlife. Writing on the figurines say that they are for the “Overseer of the Stable, Ramesu (also spelled Ramesses).” This appears to be a military title and it’s possible that Ramesu was the father or older brother of Horemheb, Cahail said.

He noted it’s interesting that both Horemheb and Ramesu share names with two military leaders, who lived at the same time they did.

Both of these leaders would be-come pharaohs.

“They could actually be emulating their names on these very powerful individuals that eventually became pharaoh, or they could have just been names that were common at the time,” Cahail said. One possibility is that the tomb was re-used. ∆


Un d e r wat e r Sh i p w r e c k d i S c o v e r e d i n Me x i c o

Pg. 32 Cover Photo: Credit to Juan Velasquez

At the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, far enough from

both shore and surface that the water no longer carries the silt of the Mississippi, the wreck of a ship rests at a slight angle. The boat’s structure has collapsed and artifacts litter the sandy seafloor—ceramics, demijohns, old medicine bottles, and more. Copper nails and bronze spikes stand in lines where the planks they once held together have partially rotted away. Crouching in the shadow of a toppled, heavily concreted old stove, a long-legged black crab eyes an odd interloper with suspicion. At 4,300 feet below the surface, no human—archaeologist or otherwise—should

Pg. 33 Pg. 33

Dive, Dive, Dive!Columnist Name here

Photo (above): Credit to Juan Velasquez

be bothering it. But, with the help of a remotely operated submersible named Hercules—Herc for short—the crab is enduring a moment of online celebrity. “Folks at shoreside would like to geta measurement on that crab,” a voice crackles over the live video feed.

“And let’s take a look at

those cannons.”

From where Herc hovers, just above the ocean floor, cables stretch up through thousands of feet of murky wa-ter to a state-of-the-art research vessel called Nautilus. There, in a room illu-minated only by video screens, James Delgado, underwater archaeologist and director of Maritime Heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Brendan Phillips, one of Herc’s pilots, guide the exploration of the eighteenth- or nineteenth-century wreck they call Monterrey A. From Nautilus, the video feed from Herc is sent by satellite to a building on the campus of the Uni-versity of Rhode Island. It also goes to various other “command centers,” where groups of scientists gather to communicate directly with an archae-ologist on watch duty and to help guide the exploration. The feed is also

being streamed live over the Internet, so thousands more people across the world can write in with questions or just have a moment with this big crab and the shipwreck it lives on.

Deepwater Archaeology

“What’s giving us a sense of the nineteenth century are the anchors, cannons, some of the bottles, and the navigational instruments,” says Del-gado on the video feed. “And if the ship had been abandoned, the captain would have grabbed the instruments to navigate the small boat away. This suggests these guys did not make it.”The study of the Monterrey A has been a landmark project, bringing to-gether archaeologists from around the country in a collaboration facilitated by telepresence—a technology similar to videoconferencing. Except, in this case, the technology is connecting a robot thousands of feet underwater, a ship bobbing 170 miles out to sea, and rooms full of experts on land. The excavation, conducted over seven days in July 2013, was inclusive and public, as anyone with a computer could ride shotgun with Herc and observe the suc-cesses and challenges of deepwater ar-chaeology. And, through the wreck, on-line viewers could explore a time when the Gulf of Mexico was the epicenter of shifting empires—plied with merchant, naval, and privateer ships on missions

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 35 Pg. 35

of commerce, war, and thievery. Deepwater archaeology, including

the exploration and mapping of Ti-tanic, has benefited greatly from the growing fleet of sophisticated remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) such as Herc (which is among the biggest).

“We got out there and the sea conditions

were terrible, so we moved on.”

It has also benefited, perhaps un-expectedly, from the demand for oil, which has pushed drilling into deeper and deeper water. In the Gulf of Mexi-co and other U.S. waters, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees offshore drilling, re-quires that oil companies look for irreg-ularities on the ocean floor that might be historically important. “The way they find these [wrecks] now is through so-nar,” says Jack Irion, an archaeology su-pervisor at BOEM. “A lot of times these sonar systems are mounted in autono-mous, self-propelled submarines. They can be kicked off the back of the ship, and they run and come back.” BOEM keeps a tally of potential shipwrecks—such as the blip caused by Monterrey A—but the sonar maps are frequently inconclusive. “Sometimes the ship is fairly intact and there is enough on it that you can really see that it’s a ship-wreck,” says Irion. “Sometimes it just looks like a pile of debris.” Monterrey A, which was discovered by Shell Oil in 2011, was clearly a wreck, but without a

closer look there was no telling if it was a historically significant vessel or an abandoned dinghy.

N o t a l l of these so-nar hits are e x a m i n e d further, but BOEM’s tal-ly went into the planning for NOAA’s 2012 sum-mer explo-ration sea-son on the government r e s e a r c h v e s s e l Okeanos. The ship was scheduled to be in the Gulf of Mexico and, based on meetings with scientists in the area, NOAA compiled plans for biological, geological, and archaeological studies, including a look at the sonar anoma-ly at Monterrey A. “We almost didn’t make it to the wreck site,” says Delga-do.

“We got out there and the sea con-ditions were terrible, so we moved on.” But when the weather cleared up later in the day, the Okeanos crew decid-ed to send their ROV for a short dive. Monterrey A turned out to be an intact wreck, measuring about 84 feet from bow to stern. The ROV’s video feed revealed the hull’s copper sheath-ing and loads of artifacts: a massive an-chor, a variety of bottles (some used to carry alcohol), piles of muskets, six can-nons, and ceramic plates and bowls. Navigational instruments, including an

Photo (above): Credit to Juan Velasquez


octant, fragments of a compass, and sand clocks were visible. And, toward the stern, there were vials and medi-cine bottles, at least one holding what would prove to be ginger, preserved for hundreds of years. But the crew of Okeanos and its ROV had only the briefest glimpse of the site. Retrieval of artifacts to identify the wreck and de-tailed mapping would require a larger project and a more sophisticated ROV.

What archaeologists got from the Okeanos visit was just a tease. NOAA and BOEM then spent a year building a team—including the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, which provided both expertise and funding—to rent Nauti-lus from Robert Ballard, the oceanog-rapher famous for discovering Titanic, and his Rhode Island–based Ocean Exploration Trust. The team would have seven days on Monterrey A, and so would all the viewers at home, since Nautilus’ expeditions are always beamed out live.

Bal lard’s Miss ion Control

Ballard’s mission control, the Inner Space Center (the oceanographer is fond of comparing deep-sea explo-ration to expeditions to Mars), is on the campus of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanog-raphy in Narragansett. The heart of the center is a large room where a gigan-tic screen looms over several banks of computers and switchboards. For the Monterrey A excavation, a skeleton crew of archaeologists had gathered there, but most times there was little to do but wait. As Herc descended, the

archaeologists munched on Red Vines licorice and checked email. But later, when the ROV malfunctioned and pum-meled a ceramic bowl into the muck at the bottom of the ocean, they started yelling at the screen like sports fans watching a football game.

Experts on shore were connected to this control room via telepresence, as was a public audience online. Accord-ing to Ballard, the Monterrey A exca-vation had as many as 12,000 people logged in at one time. In a side room at the Inner Space Center, a small tele-vision studio had been set up, and a team broadcast daily educational pro-grams that allowed audiences online and at museums and aquariums around the world to ask questions of the sci-entists on the boat. Inclusiveness and publicity were essential to such a large project, but also sometimes presented a difficult balancing act for archaeol-ogists.

“We were a little bit hesitant at first.”

says Irion of opening the video feed to the public. For example, if valuable artifacts are found on a wreck site, they might attract looters or salvag-ers to the area. Or, if an archaeologist makes a premature assessment, a large audience may be there to witness the mistake. One of the artifacts archaeol-ogists were most excited about, for ex-ample, was a piece of cloth identified as “the wool jacket.” It tuned out to be a modern T-shirt that snagged on the wreck.

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 37 Pg. 37

Archaeology is a challenging pur-suit under the best circumstances, and even more so when conducted through thousands of feet of water and via a so-phisticated, but sometimes very clum-sy, ROV. “This is like parallel parking a truck underwater,” commented one of the engineers controlling Herc. “While you’re not sober,” chimed in another. Something as simple as closing the latch on a box of artifacts could take an hour. “Archaeology is sometimes a destructive process,” Irion adds. Previ-ously untouched sites are dismantled in the course of studying them, as ar-tifacts are removed, moved, and oc-casionally broken. “Sometimes things happen that you don’t want everybody to see.”

H e r c h a s t w o h y d r a u l i c arms—“Predator” and “Mondo”—held up like a boxer’s. It is also equipped with suction cups, brushes, a little vac-uum, and other instruments the arms can grab and manipulate. At one point in the mission, Herc was tasked with loading artifacts onto an “elevator,” a platform designed to drop weights and ascend to the surface in 15 minutes (compared to the hour it takes Herc). The operators spent hours carefully placing and securing artifacts and then, when the moment came to release the latch and let the weights fall away, something got stuck. Using Herc, they tinkered with the weights for over an hour—even lifting and dropping the whole platform several times. Then, with little warning, and with Herc’s Predator arm extended over the plat-form, the latch released and the ele-

vator shot up, taking the submersible with it. An engineer quickly deployed Herc’s Mondo arm, disengaging Herc from the platform before any damage was done.

Of course, Herc had moments of serendipity as well. Early in the expe-dition, the first artifact retrieved was a small ceramic bowl. Delgado asked the ROV operator to pick it up with a suc-tion cup. Herc’s Predator arm reached out, moved down slowly, and attached the suction cup delicately to the bowl. “Boom,” the operator said over the video feed. “Magic fingers.” Despite the hiccups, Irion thinks the openness and transparency of the project made the excavation more interesting. “The more eyes on this, the more details you catch,” he says. Archaeologists got to see what most engages the pub-lic, while enthusiasts got to see how archaeologists begin the process of studying an unknown wreck.

The In it ia l DiveThe initial dive plan focused on

identifying the wreck using artifacts with the strongest diagnostic potential. Buttplates from muskets, for example, often have regiment numbers punched into them that can be traced. Naviga-tional tools can have dates and makers’ marks on them. Ceramics can be dat-ed and traced back to certain sites of manufacture and use. However, many items may be used long after they were manufactured, which can make dating a wreck like assembling a chronologi-cal puzzle. The first, brief examination, from Okeanos in 2012, suggested that the ship might date to anywhere from the late 1700s to around 1850.

Wrecks from that time period in

this part of the world are difficult to identify. When Nautilus left Galveston for the mission, some archaeologists on board had pinned their hopes on finding a particular ship—a navy ves-sel that had been custom-made for the Republic of Texas, which existed from 1836 to 1846, after Texas gained its in-dependence from Mexico but before it was annexed by the United States, an event that was a trigger for the Mexi-can-American War. After a near-mutiny occurred outside New Orleans, the ship disappeared in 1842. Upon clos-er examination, however, the artifacts, such as ceramics including creamware or pearlware and pieces with different kinds of shell-edges, appear to date to a decade or two earlier.

“Sometimes discre-tion is the better

part of valor.”

Excavators saw three spyglasses, including one still wrapped in leather, but none has a firm date attached to it yet. They also identified at least one leather-bound book, but decided to leave this delicate artifact on the ocean floor. “Sometimes discretion is the bet-ter part of valor,” says Irion.

Another clue that this was not the Republic of Texas ship was provided by the muskets. “When we saw the video [from the first ROV dive in 2012], we were thinking we were looking at Brown Besses,” says Amy Borgens, state marine archaeologist at the Tex-as Historical Commission. The Brown Bess muskets, she says, are all over the

place. “These are guns that were used for 70 years.” They were first made by the British in 1722, but remained in cir-culation in the Americas until the mid-1800s. Navies, privateers, or merchants could have been using them. A naval vessel like the Republic of Texas ship would probably have been issued a full set of muskets of the same make—all Brown Besses, for example.

Upon close examination during the Nautilus expedition, however, Borgens found a hodgepodge—some muskets are clearly British, but others could be French, Spanish, or American. While it is unlikely that a naval vessel would have been traveling with such a mixed collection of armaments, that’s not nec-essarily definitive evidence, according to Borgens, because of the upheaval of that time.

“When you talk about the Gulf in this period, you had all of these Europe-an wars coming to an end,” she says, which would have resulted in ships with odd mixtures of weapons and features. New navies were cobbled together with whatever guns or boats were avail-able. The Texas navy started out as a band of privateer boats. Mexico used Spanish boats. And, with the end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe. ∆

a British or French captain could well have been piloting a Mexican navy boat. “I’ve seen accounts of U.S. vessel owners taking their boats to Mexico and volunteering them for the Mexican navy,” says Borgens. “What would these vessels look like once you put arms on them?”

Then, of course, there were the pri-vateer ships, which littered the Gulf. Galveston was home to two different

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 39

A mysterious mummy that languished in German

collections for more than a century is that of an Incan woman killed by blunt-force trauma to the head, new research reveals.

A new analysis shows that the mum-my was once an Incan woman who also suffered from a parasitic disease that thickens the heart and intestinal walls, raising the possibility that she was killed in a ritual murder because she was already on the brink of death.

Mystery Mummy

The story began in the 1890s, when Princess Therese of Bavaria acquired two mummies during a trip to South America. One was soon lost, but the other some-how made its way to the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Munich.

Bombings and geographic moves destroyed any documentation of the mummy, so little was known about its origin, said study co-author Andreas Nerlich, a paleopathologist at Munich University.A mysterious mummy that languished in German collections for more than a century is that of an Incan woman killed by blunt-force trauma to the head, new research reveals.

To learn more about the enigmatic remains, Nerlich and his colleagues put the mummy through a computed tomography (CT) scanner.

From the outside, the mummy’s head looked fairly normal, but the frontal bones of the skull were com-pletely destroyed.

“She must have received a couple of really severe hits by a sharp object to her skull just before her death,” which

“One possibility is that she was killed in

a ritual murder, just as other Incan mummies were.”

They Died How?

Pg. 40

Tia Ghose

Mummy Murder Case

An Incan mummy that was sitting

in German collections for more

than a century was killed by blunt

force head trauma.


Photo (above): Credit to Bron (

the mummy through a computed to-mography (CT) scanner.

From the outside, the mummy’s head looked fairly normal, but the frontal bones of the skull were com-pletely destroyed.

“She must have received a couple of really severe hits by a sharp object to her skull just before her death,” which killed her, Nerlich told Live Science. “The skull bones that had been de-stroyed fell into her brain cavity, and they are still there today,” he added.

After the woman died, she was bur-ied shallowly, likely in the bone-dry Ata-cama Desert, where the parched sand and air quickly sucked all the fluids out of her body, halting decomposition and naturally mummifying her, Nerlich said.

Any theories about why the wom-an died violently are highly specu-lative, Nerlich said. Combined with a DNA analysis of parasites taken from rectal tissue, the CT scan results suggest that from infancy, the wom-an suffered from Chagas disease, which is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. As a result, she probably had trouble with breathing and digestion, Nerlich said. ∆

killed her, Nerlich told Live Science. “The skull bones that had been de-stroyed fell into her brain cavity, and they are still there today,” he added.

After the woman died, she was bur-ied shallowly, likely in the bone-dry Ata-cama Desert, where the parched sand and air quickly sucked all the fluids out of her body, halting decomposition and naturally mummifying her, Nerlich said.

Incan LifeSeveral lines of evidence point to

the woman’s Incan origin. She had the characteristic skull deformation asso-ciated with Incan head flattening and skull bone structures found in South American populations but not Europe-an ones. Scientific testing revealed that the woman lived sometime between A.D. 1451 and 1642. The mummy was also wearing hair bands made from al-paca or llama hair — another indication of her South American origin.

Different foods contain different proportions of carbon and nitrogen isotopes (atoms of the same element with different numbers of neutrons)so. To learn more about the enigmatic re-mains, Nerlich and his colleagues put

They Died How? Pg. 41

IntervIew wIth wolfgang Iser

Pg. 42 Photo: Credit to Julian Leandro Irusta

The Use of

This interview took place in February 1998 at the University

of California, Irvine. What follows is a collaboratively edited version of

the original interview.

Pg. 43 Pg. 43

RvO: Professor Iser, it’s been twenty years now since the publication in English of your very success-ful book The Act of Reading. In that book, you develop a theory of aesthetic response, which you define as a dialectic relationship between text, reader, and their interaction. The result was, as you put it, a “phenom-enology” of reading. More recently, in your latest book, The Fictive and the Imaginary, you explore the an-thropological consequences of such a phenomenological approach. That is, you investigate not only the interac-tion between text and reader but the broader anthropological implications of fictionality in general. Perhaps you could begin by saying a few words about how your own thinking has evolved and how you have come to be interested in what you call “literary anthropology.”

WI: Reader-response criticism need-ed an underpinning because it was concerned with text processing, that is, the way in which readers relate to texts. Consequently, a psychological aspect was involved, which I tried to develop

at t h e t i m e along the lines of Gestalt psychol-ogy. Reading as text processing also means -- and this was an implication which may not have come sufficiently to the fore -- finding out something about the hu-man makeup: namely, the way in which the letters we perceive translate into a stream of imagery in our minds. There-fore reader-response criticism needed further exploration in order to find out something about human dispositions by means of literature.

RvO: You refer to Gestalt psycholo-gy. This would imply a shift toward the ontogenetic? A shift away from the lit-erary text to the reality of the reader?

WI: No, I don’t think so. The fact that we are conscious of literature as a form of make-believe means that in as-sessing it we do not abide by what one might call a Cartesian principle, name-

Richard van OortInterview With Wolfgang Iser

ly, that what we have seen through as make-believe should be discarded. However, we don’t discard it, although we know it to be an illusion. Obviously there seems to be a need for this type of fictionality. And as this is the case, we could use fiction as an exploratory instrument in order to investigate this human urge. This, however, is not an ontological approach.

RvO: In your essay, “The Signif-icance of Fictionalizing” (which ap-pears in this issue of Anthropoet-ics), you quote approvingly Samuel Beckett’s Malone, who says “Live or invent.” You suggest that the fiction-alizing impulse arises from our inability to be present to ourselves. We exist and yet we simultaneously desire to “have” ourselves. So we fictionalize. I find your remarks very suggestive here, but I’m not alto-gether sure I under-stand your reasons for stating this. Could you concretize these sug-gestions a bit?

WI: As early as the sixteenth century we have had reflections on fiction and fictionality. Bacon once said that fictions provide a “shadow of satisfac-tion to the mind of man in those points wherein the nature of things doth deny it.” Now there are a great many things ofwhich we can be pretty certain. We shall die. We have been born. But we neither shall have an experience of these events nor any knowledge of them. One could further say that we

do not doubt that we exist, but we do not know what this existence is. If you are a believer, then you know what it is. But if not, you are not satisfied with this not-knowing. As the events mentioned are impenetrable in terms of experi-ence and knowledge, we produce fic-tions. To put it in Beckett’s terms, either we live -- but then we don’t know what it is to live -- or we want to know what it is to live, and thus we come up with all kinds of explanatory fictions in order to grasp what is barred from knowledge.

RvO: So this is a very broad concep-tion of fiction, one that doesn’t refer simply to the literary text.

WI: Yes. I use the literary text as a starting point in order to find out

what this particular t y p e o f fictional-ity might d i s c l o s e a b o u t h u m a n d i s p o s i -tions. For

instance, if we lie, we also produce a fiction, which means we live in two worlds simultaneously. We know what the truth is, but we make something up for whatever purpose. The ordi-nary occurrence of lying is already a way of extending ourselves. The type

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 45

“So this is a very broad conception of fiction, one that

doesn’t refer simply to the literary text.”

Pg. 45

of fictionality which we encounter in literature is also a way of extending ourselves. If that is so, the question arises: Why is there this urge of ex-tending ourselves?

RvO: This is the anthropologi -ca l quest ion.

WI: Yes.

RvO: Your book, The Fictive and the Imaginary, attempts to explore this anthropological question. But in order to get at the latter, you make some very interesting theoretical claims at the outset. You begin by re-jecting the dichotomy that opposes fiction to reality and substitute the triad: the real, the fictive, and the imaginary. I find your description of these last two categories somewhat abstract and difficult to grasp. I won-der if you could expand on this a little here, just in order to give us some idea of these key terms for your conception of “literary anthropology”?

WI: The old dichotomy between fiction and reality implies that there is a stance outside either, which would allow us to designate one particular instance as fiction and the other one as reality. This is logically impossible.

There is no such transcendental stance which allows us to come up with these predicates. We can only say something about fiction by way of its manifesta-tion and its use. There is a welter of different uses to which fictions can be put. Thus an ontological defi-nition of fiction is impossible. We can only examine its many uses. Fictionality in literature seems to be different from fictionality in lying. We are always “in the midst of things,” and for this reason we can only spotlight the mani-festations of fiction. The same holds true for the imaginary. It was dubbed as a facul-ty in faculty psychology. Then it was considered to

b e a

means of conjuring u p s o m e -thing that is

absent. Or we could refer to the mirror stage of La-can, or to the desire of Freud. In other words, we have the same situation in the latter instances, namely, we can only ascertain its manifestations. I think that the fictive is a conscious attempt

“This is the anthropological


tionship -- function by shaping some-thing which we might call the actual or the real. Conceiving this triadic rela-tionship in these terms, we are out of the quandary of providing ontological definitions for the fictive, the imagi-nary, or the real. Moreover, given the anthropological interest implied in this triadic relationship, there’s something else worth pointing out. Human beings live on their “subsidy.” This “subsidy” is the imagination which in banking terms is the only “collateral” we have for substantiating all our activities.

RvO: Well, I would agree. But nev-ertheless you still find someone like Searle who explains fiction along the lines of the traditional dichotomy. It seems strange that he can ignore the anthropological aspect, this collateral of which you speak. For him it’s simply a logical question. Fictions suspend the rule of reference that applies to all normative or nonfictional language use.

WI: Yes. But both Searle and Austin call fictions “parasitic,” which implies that they are pseudo-real. Fiction veils itself by copying structures of reality. Austin and Searle presuppose reality as a given. Yet speech acts, as long as they are considered to be performa-tives, actually produce reality. If speech acts are able to produce realities, one could just as well say that fictions are not parasitic in relation to reality. Rath-

to spark the imaginary into action and channel it into a specific use in order to make an impact on something, or a representation of something if one were to use Gans’s terms. In other words, there is a continual interaction

between the conscious element which is prevalent in fiction and the imaginary potential which

that conscious element stim-ulates in order to effect

something. As the fictive cannot make an impact

upon itself or the imag-inary, it has to make a n i m p a c t u p o n

something other, and for this reason

I have introduced the triadic relationship

between the fictive, the imaginary, and the real.

RvO: Of these three cat-egories, then, the real or the

actual is the most traditional or straightforward.

WI: Yes.

RvO: The other two -- the fictive and the imaginary -- have been in-troduced as a way of mediating the traditional dichotomy between fiction and reality.

WI: Both the fictive and the imagi-nary -- their interaction and their rela-

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 47 Pg. 47

er, by intervening into reality they also produce realities -- just as a lie pro-duces realities.

RvO: I think that Searle would try to draw a distinction be-tween ontological realities and what he might call epis-temological realities, where fiction would be in the category of the latter. Realities that are agreed upon. But of course the foundation is grant-ed to the former, to what he refers to as “natural scientific ontology.”

WI : I have problems with these d i s t inc -tions -- ontolog-ical or epistemo-logical -- not least as they presuppose a stance which would allow us to discriminate between them. The very fact that epistemology, once the king’s way of philosophy, is no longer of central interest is largely due to the fact that one had always to posit something from which deductions had to be made. Whenever positing something is in play, the agency which does it always does so from outside. How can one warrant such a stance in order to introduce these discrimina-tions? Even inside analytic philosophy, Nelson Goodman has observed in his

Ways of Worldmaking that worlds are made out of other worlds. Thus the distinction between what seems to

be ontologically given or epistemo-logically cognized is artificial and

very hard to substantiate.

RvO: Since we’re speaking of the speech-act philos-

ophers, I have a specific question about Austin,

one that is related to a point you make in The

Act of Reading. There is a playful moment

i n h i s H o w To Do Things With

Words where he asks : “When

the saint bap-tized the pen-

guins, was this void because

the procedure of baptizing is in-

appropriate to be applied to penguins,

or because there is no accepted procedure of

baptizing anything but humans?” Well, Austin

offers this question in fun, of course, but it seems to

me hard to talk about bap-tism in terms of procedure

only. The rite of baptism does not exist independently of its

participants. Since penguins do not engage in this kind of rite, it

seems pointless to ignore its an-thropological specificity. So surely

the point of the question is to remind us that baptism as a particular kind of

that Austin gives is outside established conventions and outside established

procedures as well. However, when you asked this question, it struck

me: Might there be an instance in history in which the animal king-

dom stands in a kind of typo-logical relation to basic con-

ventions? I am thinking of the Physiologus, which was

an assembly of animals that formed a typologi-

cal correspondence to the Christian doctrine.

For instance, when the pelican tore

open its breast to provide sus-

t e n a n c e t o t h e y o u n g p e l i c a n s i t

was cons id-ered the figura

Christi. This may be an odd exam-

ple, but still there would at least be a

time in history when this type of conven-

tion existed. Of course this is on an eschato-

logical level, rather than a baptismal one. Since we

no longer consider the tra-dition of the Physiologus val-

id, we may draw the inference that conventions are historically

conditioned forms of consensus. Similarly, one could say baptiz-

ing penguins was not a historically agreed upon convention.

Now as far as the second part of your question is concerned, for a

speech act cannot be abstracted from the concrete anthropological scene of its occurrence. In the original con-text of the quote, Austin is making a point about the importance of historical tradition and conven-tion. There is no historical prec-edent for baptizing penguins so the act can only ever be void. You claim in The Act of Reading that literature functions precisely in opposition to this kind of appeal to historical convention. By select-ing speech acts from ordinary real-world situations, litera-ture reorganizes preexisting con-vent ions and fields of refer-ence, and under-mines them in that very process. So I suppose in literature the saint can baptize penguins. But we’re still left with the original question about the func-tion of baptism. To what extent is this theory of “the literary” capable of respond-ing to such a question?

WI: As we know, the “felicity” of speech acts depends upon the existence of two presuppositions: conventions and accepted proce-dures. Both are necessary. ∆

Conventions are historically estab-lished frames of reference and so are procedures. Obviously the example

Dive, Dive, Dive! Pg. 49

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One of the issues of the Ata-puerca sites that generates the

most scientific debate is the dating of the strata where the fossils are found. Therefore, researchers at the Spanish National Research Centre for Human Evolution, among others, strive to set-tle the dates. A study published by the Journal of Archaeological Science has clarified that the sediment of Gran Do-lina, where the first remains of Homo antecessor were discovered in 1994, is 900,000 years old.

The findings at the Lower Palaeolith-ic cave site of Gran Dolina, in the Sierra de Atapuerca mountain range (Burgos), have led to major advancements in our knowledge of human evolution and oc-cupation of Eurasia.

In 1995, specifically, the discovery of

the first hominid remains in a stratum of land named TD6, which dated from more than 780,000 years back, was made public in the journal ‘Nature’. This was the Homo antecessor, the old-est known hominid species in Europe.

As the dating of this and other ar-chaeological sites is the subject of sci-entific debate -- in 2012, a British news-paper questioned Juan Luis Arsuaga, co-director of the sites, and accused him of “distorting our picture of human evolution” -, the researchers are work-ing to date them more precisely. news-paper questioned Juan Luis As Josep M. Parés, from the Spanish National Research Centre for Human Evolution, who is leading this study on the new dating of level TD6 of the Gran Dolina, said: “We are applying new methods and techniques, and we also have bet-ter field and laboratory knowledge. We have published a study that represents a small step towards a large project which will take us longer: reviewing all the dates in order to refine them. We want to include it all within a more solid geochronological framework.”

What this study strictly contributes is the combination of the technique of palaeomagnetism -- which entails

Arnold, M. Duval

The Now

The findings at the Lower Palaeo-lithic cave site of Gran Dolina, in the Sierra de Atapuerca mountain range (Burgos), have led to major advancements in our knowledge of human evolution and occupa-tion of Eurasia.

Photo (above): Credit to Merelize (


“The findings...led to major advancements in our knowledge of human evolution and

occupation of Eurasia.”

revising the polarity of the materials constituting stratigraphic layers -- with assessing existing dating figures.

“On the one hand we employ para-magnetic resonance, and on the other what is known as optically stimulated luminescence. This provides numeri-cal dates, absolute ages. We have re-viewed these and combined them with the new figures from palaeomagnetism in order to expand upon the chronolo-gy of this level TD6 of the Gran Dolina

and the fossils it contains.”This pro-vides numerical dates, absolute ages. We have reviewed these and combined them with the new figures from palae-omagnetism in order to expand upon the chronology of this level TD6 of the Gran Dolina and the fossils it contains.”

They were previously given a mini-

mum age of 780,000 years and now it is known that they are referring more accurately to around 900,000 years. “The change might sound very small or very large,” the expert continues, “but the TD6 stratum is known precisely as having been the place of discovery of the Homo antecessor and this further defines its age.”

Since then, a further 90 human fossils and over 200 fragments of carved stone have also been discovered. The extent of the excavation grows ever larger and being able to date it is of great interest to the scientists.

“The site has produced thousands of fossils and artifacts and has become a Pleistocene landmark in studies on early human settlement outside the African continent,” the article explains.

Now, they are going to attempt to use individual fossils, especially teeth, and obtain direct dates for the remains found, as well as those already known by their sediments.

“When we handle these figures there are always error margins. For example, when we publish the dating figures, we are talking about 1.2 million years years. ∆

The Now Pg. 51

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