Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Grooving With the Ice and Stone
Kas Thomas does a great job of illustrating why the early scholarship on neolithic sites is often wrongheaded and confused. They should be viewed as sites that incorporated human knowledge and engineering, not just as blackened pits where shamen threw dog bones around and howled into the night air.
His argument about using ice and freezing water to crack the stones and move the pieces into place is informed and reasonable. There will always be an underlying need to match that with the cultural and the human. Why did they do it? Why was it an essential endeavor for these people when eating, burping, farting and fucking would have been their natural state, as in, living in a hovel, guarding their area of responsibility, and foraging out into the unknown whenever numbers and available weaponry allowed. What drove them to expand their existence beyond their own needs and into the realm of building things that still stand today?
Yep, that's what the Humanities are for, and Thomas does yeoman's work linking engineering to culture and helping us figure out the how part. The why part is still out there.