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Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The “old blue” that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantle ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried. — Jerome K. Jerome, Three men in a boat (to say nothing of the dog), pp. 79-80.

I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC San Diego, though I’ve also at one time or another earned a degree in English (in addition to a couple in Anthropology), worked in journalism and “technology,” and held a variety of lucrative and fulfilling temp jobs. My dissertation is about copper production, politics and the economy during the Middle Islamic period (roughly 1000-1400 AD) in southern Jordan, but I also do work on the archaeology of earlier and later periods, and technology (especially satellite remote sensing and GIS) in archaeology. Here I tend to write about archaeology and history more generally, dictated mainly by whatever has caught my interest recently.

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