It comes to my attention that I am working at cross purposes with myself. On the one, hand, I am working from the beginning in prehistory forward, and on the other, from the present back. It’s no wonder that progress is slow. This is highlighted by the fact that while recorded history depends on documents for source material, archaeology depends on artifacts, Whichever direction I work from these are hard to get to.
I use this as a shortcut reference to the types of evidence available for early and middle prehistory. Bones, as in fossil remains of human skeletons, and stones, as in stones that show evidence of having been formed into tools. Most of the references I have for early prehistory are in the “bones” category, but as I work forward into middle prehistory, “Stones” become more important. This should be no great surprise. Since bones are organic material, they are subject to all sorts of processes that degrade them, and it is fairly rare that conditions are right for them to be fossilized. It is also fairly uncommon for the rock layers in which fossils can be found to exposed at the surface; they are often either buried under later deposits, or have been eroded away. Stones are more durable.
To continue my investigations into early prehistory, I found it necessary to broaden the interconnections of African peoples, Asiatic peoples, and Western civilization. These are now done sufficiently that I can move on to the next stage. For Africa peoples, I now have connections to African cities and communities. The next step will involved connecting stone age developments to the various peoples of the world, There aren’t many cities that can be reliably traced that far back.
In sociology, social mechanics, social change, I am working with particular changes and movements back through centuries of antiquity. These include stone age developments, the agricultural revolution, agrarian developments, and the industrial revolution. Each of these will be subdivided further. For now, since I am interested in beginnings, In the 19th century, European archaeologists began to classify artifacts as belonging to the Stone age, Bronze age, and Iron age. The Stone age was further subdivided into the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone age) and Neolithic (New Stone age). The Paleolithic was subdivided into include Lower Paleolithic, Middle Paleolithic, and Upper Paleolithic, referring to the depth at which artifacts were found. There were regional variants. Outside Europe, Mesolithic is often called Epipaleolithic, and African finds are often labeled differently (Early Stone Age, Middle Stone Age, and Later Stone Age). Dating of cultures and cultural developments is only very approximate, and the various stone ages began and ended in different times and in different places. Most of these cultures and stages of development are only known through archaeology. I refer to those discovered and described by explorers and anthropologists, chiefly in modern times, as the historical Stone Age.
My investigations of prehistory have led me to the region of Lake Turkana, which is mostly in Kenya but extends into Ethiopia. This is currently one of the alkaline/saline lakes with no outlet in the East African rift system, but at various times in the past has been completely dry, and at others sufficiently filled its basin to overflow and be the source of rivers flowing into either the Indian Ocean (earlier) or the Nile river system (later). This region probably has the richest collection of hominin fossils that has yet been found. The advancing and retreating shorelines have created various layers of sediment and conditions good for preserving fossils, and because so many have been found, the region has attracted special attention of anthropologists looking for them. Between Kenya and South Africa, the other region where ancient fossils have been found, there are Zaire, and Zimbabwe. I would like to see more information from those areas. It may be that political conditions have not been highly favorable to research, and I’m not sure that physical conditons were conducive to fossilization.
Not much to report today, except that I’ve finally got the Middle East connected to centuries of history. My principal focus will be on Egypt to begin with, but ancient Egyptian civilization and culture is a HUGE field. Some of the earliest roots are in region I am calling Interior North Africa (Sudan, Chad, and south Sudan) which don’t have a great many prehistoric fossil remains, and I have to follow stones more than bones. In the latter part of early prehistory and through middle prehistory, I need to pay more attention to other regions of the middle East and to Europe, which also diverts my attention. Visible progress is likely to be slow.
After fighting red tape with with my medical insurance, a visit to my dendrochronologist (it’s a joke), and composing a couple of political rants, I didn’t make a whole lot of progress in my history studies. A little, but not much.
Nominations for the 2020 Mayor’s Hall of Shame are open. So far I have:
De Blasio (New York City)
Garcetti (Los Angeles)
Breed (San Francisco)
I keep going back to the beginning in my studies of prehistory. For the latest pass, I have begun expanding the connections of specific peoples to others, and I am beginning with the closest neighbors. I have done significant connections of African peoples, but these were rather quickly eclipsed by Asian and European peoples. The connections among the subdivisions of African peoples, an among the subdivisions of Eastern African peoples are being explored. I would like to do more with subdivisions of Middle Eastern peoples, but this is very close to having full connection with centuries of history. I have religion (in general) connected all the way to the beginning, and want to focus on particular religions and on getting government connected.
My development of early prehistory has been progressing. The notes on finds of skeletons and physical remains are now pretty distributed to peoples in each of the subdivisions of early prehistory, so that I have a better idea of the early distribution of mankind. This isn’t anything like a complete history. One of the things I will want to do is to go back to these peoples and create a history of the skeletal finds. I am also moving connections of Asiatic cities, Western cities, and African cities forward through middle prehistory Although it is not believed that cities had yet been founded, Since most people lived by hunting, gathering, and foraging and their communities were mobile rather than settled, I may want to take note of particular sites. Connections to social change, social types, and social structure are not highly revealing, since these categories are still too abstract, but I am making progress. I am also starting to connect religion and government to individual centuries. Anthropology in general, Personal studies in general, and now finally science in general are connected to individual centuries.
I’ve been starting to watch “Here Come the Brides” on YouTube; so far I’m only in the first few episodes. I entirely missed this on its original run; we often didn’t have a working TV in the house when I was the age when it was broadcast, although Perry Como’s version of the theme song, “Seattle” was a staple on one of the radio stations when I was living in Provo in the 1980s.
I’ve been something of a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive” since it came out. He recently produced a quiz which “sorts” you into which order of Knight Radiant you would best fit based on your personality. It seems that I would most likely be a “Truthwatcher”.
There may be better words to describe the behavior of various political leaders since riots began two weeks ago in Minneapolis and other cities. State governors and mayors who sympathize with the protestors did nothing while protests turned into vandalism, looting, and arson. One would think that civic authorities with any sense of responsibility would take action to protect their citizens. Some of them did nothing, or much too little. Prosecutors won’t prosecute, mayors empty jails, governors resist the notion of calling the National Guard, Generals resist being ordered to take action.
It has been my experience with the hateful and the violent that they are not appeased by concessions. “Give them an inch, and they will take a mile”. Failure to resist only proves that their opposition is weak. We ought to have learned something from Hitler, who began his career in precisely the way Antifa and BLM have done, with street violence and vicious, unprincipled attacks on those who he took to be his enemies. Lenin began his revolution in the same way, claiming to have majority support and taking advantage of the weak opposition to take over Russian institutions. We ought to have learned something from the US Civil War, which was arguably made much worse by the weak response of the outgoing Buchanan administration to the secession. He essentially surrendered the federal military establishment in the South to the seceding states.
The establishment of the “Capitol Heights Autonomous Zone”, in Seattle, although accompanied by much hilarity (due to the contradictory behavior and folly of the anarchists and rebels) is not a ‘block party’. It is openly a revolt and insurrection against the authority of the city, state, and federal government; and failure to take it seriously will only encourage other rebels. It ought to be handled at the city level, but the mayor might as well resign and save himself the bother of trying to protect the citizens he was elected to serve. It ought to be handled at the state level, but the Governor seems to be cheering the rebels on. Failing this, the Federal government should move swiftly, but although President Trump has expressed a proper willingness to step in, he hasn’t actually done much yet, and his Secretary of Defense definitely doesn’t want to move.
Anarchy is unstable. It always gives way to rule by the most ruthless man with the biggest club, and if the initial leaders aren’t sufficiently ruthless, they are quickly supplanted by those who are. Letting rioters and anarchists have their way is a betrayal of the peaceful and law-abiding who trust their elected leaders to serve the interests of all the people, not merely those with whom they sympathize. “Mercy to the cruel is cruelty to the innocent”.