Category Archives: Ancient Peoples

Travelling Without Geography

Most people around the world marvel when American television shows feature street geography quizzes and Americans cannot point to a single country on a map. The subsequent discussion usually centres around the failing American education system, the geographical ignorance that … Continue reading

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Don’t Tell the Archaeologist

My friend was flanked by two Inuit elders as she repeatedly picked up and asked about bones found on the ground. “A walrus rib,” the elder would reply, and then my friend would be off after another object. She knew … Continue reading

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Racist Rob and Corrupt Politicians

I’d only been teaching a few years when I had a student who was so racist that I was forced to confront several of his statements in class. As anyone knows who has dealt with such behaviour, this demands a … Continue reading

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The Winter Solstice and Trying to Explain the Movement of the Sun

Many years ago I found myself trying to explain the movement of the sun during the winter to a class in Victoria, British Columbia, and ever since I have been struck by how cultural knowledge can be allowed or disallowed … Continue reading

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Misplacing People by Modifiers

Normally when I am reading articles, especially those on a topic outside my field of study, I often gloss over errors or problems with the prose. Sometimes I am halted in midsentence by an utterance that is troubling in terms … Continue reading

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Ancient Science at the Planetarium

Whenever we think about our ancestors we are inclined to imagine them as moronic, backward troglodytes, dragging their knuckles through lives as brutal and stunted as themselves. In our rather short-sighted and ungrateful vision, they do not hope to compare … Continue reading

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Working on the Birth and Death of Planeville

I have spent the last few months—when I can spare a moment from teaching and marking—working on my novel about the now extinct village of Planeville. In some ways this project has been more difficult than others, perhaps because although … Continue reading

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The Bible is Perfect. No Wait, It’s Not

Many Christians trouble themselves over whether the bible, the book they rely on for so much of their understanding of both the physical and spiritual the world, is perfect and the writing of god, or whether it is flawed and … Continue reading

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The Vast Edifice of Culture

The vast edifice that is culture is as fragile as a butterfly’s wings. It is as beautiful and as tenuous. Over the many centuries of struggle since we first began to bang rocks together we have tried to build something … Continue reading

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Outsourcing our Memory

I’ve been editing some journals lately and I am often struck by how little I remember about events that theoretically happened in my own life. I wonder at my own reports of meeting what sound like wonderful people and having … Continue reading

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