Eric Stevens wrote:
> On 11 Jun 2006 16:58:21 -0700, "Tom McDonald" <kiltmac@xxxxxxxxx>
> >IE J wrote:
> >> Summery Comment.
> >> What does this has to do with archaeology, some might ask?
> >> Need I remind you that Ivar Bardson in 1364 among the tithes collected in
> >> the dioceses under Gardar left the Papal representant
> >> a silverplated coconut
> >> vessel. That one was brought to Rome. It's my theory that the one in
> >> Iceland
> >> might have been gained/bought/confiscated by King Hakon from the cargo
> >> which
> >> Sigurd Kolbein's son bought and which King Hakon confiscated. It's known
> >> from other sources, to be discussed later, that King Hakon gave the
> >> Icelandic Bishop
> >>valuable gift later
> >> same year.
> >You have never related this to archaeology. You haven't yet on this
> >thread. There is no reason to think you will do so in the future.
> >How is something that is presumably still in Rome, which came from a
> >man in Greenland who is not supposed to have dug it up from an
> >archaeological context, archaeologically related?
> Now we are getting to the nub of the argument. An artifact is not
> archaeological unless it's been dug up. What's more, even then it
> might not be archaeological unless its been dug up under appropriate
I have tried to stay out of this argument. But ...
I write as one who has taught, and is teaching, university level
anthropological archaeology. (Yes, I know, that is an "argument
from authority; I just happen to have that authority. And a PhD.)
Eric has one point right: an artifact is not archaeological
unless it has been dug up. A book, in-and-of-itself, if it
has been on the shelves since it was written, is not an
archaeological artifact. It may be historical, bibliographic,
ethnographic, etc., etc., artifact, but it is not archaeological.
However, such a book may contribute to archaeological knowledge.
For example, in 1978, as a graduate student, I was hired to do
an archaeological survey of an 1806 house and plot owned by George
Washington University and which it was planning to move. It was
the first house built on the site. The survey was legally mandated.
One of the first sources I consulted was a set of fire insurance maps
from the 1920s which showed extant outbuildings, party walls, wells,
and cisterns. Those maps were not themselves archaeological artifacts,
but they aided archaeological excavations and archaeological
understanding of the site.
Similarly, the Norse Sagas themselves are not archaeological
artifacts; the Dead Sea Scrolls are. But the *content* of
the Sagas may help (or hinder) archaeology.
To me, the problem with Mrs. J's recent posts is that she has failed
to link their content to any archaeological context. She has not
stated how they might help with the understanding of any particular
archaeological site or complex. She just throws them at us, and
then refuses to provide specifics.
> >If, as you have
> >speculated, it was made in the New World, what evidence for that do you
> >have? None, so far.
> At least that comment has merit.
But even then, that artifact is not archaeological.
> >Why don't you hash this out on the medieval ng, and bring this here
> >when you have some archaeological content? You will feel better for it.
> >And so will the rest of us.