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First light for the blog

Welcome to The Rocks Remain!

I'm finally graduating from various online interactions, one-off bloggings and several thousand tweets to a proper home for all the things I want to talk about, and that I hope others will enjoy reading.

This blog is personal, although it will feature a lot of my own research in addition to comment, interpretation and critique of other research and discoveries in the field of Neanderthal and Palaeolithic archaeology. I do however reserve the right to post on anything, so expect occasional forays into my other interests, although there is usually some kind of archaeological intersection.

I will be focusing not only on the archaeology itself, but also the warts-and-all reality of research, such as problems and limitations of our methodologies (especially lithic analysis) and the challenging situation facing early career researchers right now in terms of funding and jobs. As a big motivation for writing this blog is my belief in getting research out there to the people who probably paid for it, I'll also discuss science communication issues. I'd love to have feedback and suggestions too on what you would like to see featured on the blog.

I'll leave you with the inspiration for the blog title: a poem by Gavin Maxwell, a visionary nature writer who lived in my own idea of paradise, the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. You've probably heard of his book, Ring of Bright Water. I used this poem at the start of my PhD thesis as it seems to encapsulate the challenge of trying to unravel the human lives of the Palaeolithic, where mostly we just have stones and bones to work with:

Age on age the rocks remain,
And the tides return again;
Only we poor mourners, sinners
Weavers, toilers, fishers, spinners,
Pass away like visions vain.

Background blog image: edge of the Castle Lane biface, probably the finest example of a Late Middle Palaeolithic handaxe from Britain. Likely to be c. 60-40,000 years old. Photo: Author.


Sandra Gore said…
What do you know about Cueva de la Pileta in Andalusia (close to Ronda)? Was there in October and convinced I saw man's first attempt at writing. Not pictures, but lines representing some kind of counting? You can see some photos on their website. They claim the inhabitants/artists are of a human branch that has died out.
Becky said…
Fantastic! Looking forward to reading along here!
Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment. I've not been to that cave or read anything specific, but there are a lot of other sites with linear markings, both on cave walls and portable engraved objects. Researchers have suggested these could be notation systems. My colleague Becky Farbstein (commenting below!) is much more of an expert in Upper Palaeolithic art than me, check out her blog!
If the Cueva de la Pileta is Upper Palaeolithic (i.e. c.35-10,000 BP), I would expect the artists to be Homo sapiens.

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