Season 2, Episode 3: Richard and Bill chat with Dimitri Nakassis about the Late Bronze Age, Collapse, and Technology

Richard and I were excited to get our old friend and regular listener Dimitri Nakassis on the Caraheard podcast this past week. He was a good sport and talked with us for well over an hour about his research and Late Bronze Age Greece.

  • We began by teasing Dimitri (and me) about some of our famous car failures, including this epic accident (no one was hurt).
Car crash

Did we mention that Dimitri just won this amazing award?

Standard

Season 2, Episode: 2: Domestic Space and a Very Special Guest

In the second episode of Season 2, Bill and Richard violate the spirit of Labor Day and get to work on recording a podcast.  It’s okay, because our special guest is Bev, Bill’s mother-in-law.  Since she’s from Australia, we can celebrate Labor Day in late winter, like they do in the southern hemisphere.  Our topic of discussion: the different houses we have lived in and how they shaped our daily lives in North America, Australia, and Greece.

Be sure to check out our sponsor this episode. Karl Jacob Skarstein’s The War with the Sioux from the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota

The podcast begins with a discussion of Queensland, Australia, and in particular the Queenslander, a house, traditionally built of timber, suitable for the hot climate of Australia.  We drift into a discussion of the American Ranch style house, with an oblique nod to the Four-square.  Perhaps you should buy a Field Guide to American Houses.  You can find a typology on the web, of course.

Don’t forget to learn about the Hills Hoist.  And the awesome variety of Australian Pubs.

We referenced Greek Houses and Kostis Kourelis

Australian Place we reference:  Queensland, Townsville, someplace called Beero.  Townsville is also home to these superheroes.

It’s not Caraheard without a reference to mancamps in the Bakken, or their abandonment as the oil boom turns down.

Toilet water does not drain counterclockwise in Australia.  Quit asking.

Standard

Season 2, Episode 1: Our Summer Vacation

Believe it or not, Richard Rothaus and I still have things to talk about even after an (almost) complete first season of the Caraheard podcast. So, today, we’re premiering Caraheard: Season 2.

Like Season 1, we’ll continue our conversational style of podcasting, our unofficial (un)sponsors, and our slightly affected irreverence, but we’re both committed to bringing in more “very special guests.” In fact, we’ve recorded the second episode already with a very special guest and despite some little technical issues, it went really well.

On this week’s Caraheard podcast, we start with the idea that we should have a basic structure to our season (or at least a minimum number of episodes). I floated the idea of 12 episodes; Richard was more optimistic, but agreed that 12 episodes was a fine goal.

We then proceeded, as per usual, to banter about trucks. Richard’s truck is bigger, carries more archaeology stuff, and has more miles, but my truck has almost as many miles and a yellow dog. 

We then talked about what we did this summer.

It’s not a Caraheard podcast until someone talks about gravel and gravel pits. Brown gold. 

Richard got to spend some time in The Magin City: Minot, North Dakota. Minot has a deceptively charming downtown and I’ve enjoyed every visit I’ve made to the banks of the Souris, or, as they say in French, Mouse River. Despite what Richard says, it doesn’t really flow south, it flows north too. We both appreciated the Souris River Brewing Company, although I think I’m the only one who has tasted their fine wares.

Richard also continues the French lesson with a brief chat about his work around Mille Lacs in Minnesota. Before talking about his actual vacation which involved projectile vomit and the Vore Buffalo jump. Not to be intimidated by Richard’s smooth banter en francais, I mangled the pronunciation of the word ennui in my discussion of the existential angst experienced by buffalos on the Northern plains. 

We deftly avoid the neat segue between Richard’s summer and my summer in my brief and painfully uninformed pseudo-discussion of kites (neither the birds nor the flying machines) in the Middle East. I also know less about micromorphology than I should, but I was right in claiming they did some interesting work with it at Nemea

We then included a few words about our un-sponsors, the North Dakota Humanities Council‘s Game Changer Series. More information can be found here (you can tell that it’s serious because the voice over has an English accent). The event will include the guy who wrote, Men Who Stare at Goats. I will personally buy a beer from the Souris River Brewery to the first person who asks about telekinesis at the Game Changer. While I smart alecked around, Richard sung the praises the NDHC’s magazine On Second Thought which is not available online here.  

I then regale our listeners with my summer’s field work at Polis-Chrysochous on Cyprus and with the Western Argolid Regional Project. Richard asks about field work efficiency and refers to a blog post on efficiency and field team size that I floated at the end of exhausting, but tremendously rewarding WARP season. We also talked a bit about slow archaeology.

We finally talked a bit about our work on the North Dakota Man Camp Project, and we talked about our outreach work with the North Dakota Humanities Council funded, Man Camp Dialogues

Standard

Season 1, Episode 10: Richard Talks to Distinguished Professor Tom Isern about Heritage Renewal, North Dakota History, and German-Russian Country

Summer is upon us.  Bill is in Cyprus and Greece doing real archaeology, and Richard is set upon by various lesser North American archaeological endeavors, so get ready for some innovative summer podcast programming,

In this episode, Richard discusses the Heritage Preservation Renewal with Distinguished Professor Tom Isern, of North Dakota State University’s Center for Heritage Renewal.  We recorded this episode in our luxurious hotel suite in Stanley, North Dakota, prior to a session of the Man Camp Dialogues at the wonderful Sibyl Center.  North Dakotans will recognize the mellifluous voice of Isern from his Plains Folk radio show.  Richard really sounds like a mouse with a cold when mismatched such.

During the episode, Tom talks about why Renewal, not Preservation, is a worthy and appropriate goal.  Richard bemoans the state of “historic preservation” as a profession.  We both agrees that we are not sentimental about historic preservation as a cause, but we are committed to life and communities on the Great Plains.  We discuss how the once traditional adversarial relationship with the environment of the Northern Plains has changed with the latest settlers and generations.  We discuss how the study of history has developed in North Dakota and the Northern Plains, and note what some of us see as the unusually damaging interpretation of North Dakota’s grandfather of history, Elwyn Robinson.

Apparently the State really is so small that one historian’s “too much of the too much mistake” can have a lasting impact. The short version –  there is strong strain of belief in the Northern Plains that residents are victims, not agents.  Richard and Tom think that’s really detrimental, and let’s opportunities slip by.  Tom exercises his rights as a tenured professor, and makes a strong interpretation of the behavior of the North Dakota legislature. Tom asks, in a cross-partisan way: “how much can we tighten our belts before we strangle ourselves?” and wonders why we tolerate an attitude of “don’t get your hopes up.”

Want to know how embedded this sentiment into Northern Plains culture?  Enjoy this sign from an official employee bulletin border in the State Capitol.

low expectations

But, we end on very positive notes about how there is a generation that very much wants to bring renewal to the Northern Plains and North Dakota. When people want to stay, and there are no jobs, they will create them.  We also discuss Tom’s work in building German-Russian heritage tourism, and Richard opines that it is an idea that is just the right amount of crazy.  We actually have a really vigorous discussion of this topic about 40 minutes in, to make up for the egg-headed beginning of our discussion.

dinosaurs

During editing Richard noted he really, really needs to work harder at creating context.

There’s an easter egg at the end of the podcast.

Some links:

Standard

Cowboys Don’t Walk: Archaeologists, Their Packs and Vans and Trucks, Season 1, Episode 9

In this week’s episode, Bill asks Richard “what’s in your pack”, and we discuss equipment, and then we transition to “what’s in your truck.”  We transition to stories of the legendary Ohio State University at Isthmia Van, and discuss the archaeology of stuff field archaeologists leave behind.

We have two inspirations for this week’s podcast.  ASOR series has a fun series: “What’s in your dig bag.”  And Bristol carried out the most amazing archaeology of a van project:  The Van/InTransit.   Be sure to watch the van movie.  And some van blogging.

A Special Request to Isthmia Alumni:  Please send us your white van stories!  Seriously –  we want to write this history and we need your input.  Fire drills in the village of damned!  Squirting Bill and Dave with the windshield wipers!  Fire!  Mountain road turn arounds!  Trips to Epidavros!   richard.rothaus at gmail.com.

[It’s a busy week in ND, with Bill prepping for a field season and Richard doing suit-wearing type activities at the State Capital, so consider this a keyword list, not prose].

High points include:

Bill prompting Richard to keep the episode moving along.

Richard explains his “dig bag” and backpack contents.

Bill refers to Richard’s bag as a “stable entity”

Whirl-pak bags (Richard lied – he doesn’t use 5 mil).

Richard explains his technique to label photos with a white board, and Bill asks a critical question.

Bill discusses the importance of tags and how to get them right.

Richard mocks North American archaeologists

Bill and Richard discuss why notebooks and pencils.

Soil Knife, and the less useful obnoxious Ka-Bar.

Richard shares a grave desecration anecdote.  Bonus:  “A Local Mecca For Research” tells about those crazy days of Mille Lacs research.

Bill discusses why Richard really should carry pin flags.

Panty wipes, horsey tape, super glue, aspirin, steroids and first aid kits for real archaeologists.

Umbrellas!

Compass clinometers.

Bill points out the “black turtleneck” principle (no, not that “black turtleneck”).

We discuss that archaeology of field vehicles and what archaeologists leave behind.

Richard and Bill tell the secret tales of abusing the generosity of the OSU Isthmia excavation vehicles, and learning how to be self-sufficient archaeological grownups.

Bill explains how city design impacts the location of bus stations and hotels through amusing stories.

Bill and Richard talk about how travel difficulties and how they make partnerships strained.

Driving through fires!

Secrets of owning a vehicle as a foreigner immersed in a Byzantine bureaucracy.With actual lead seals!

Bribes?

Toward the end we tell THE CARBURETOR STORY and THE STOLEN BACKPACK stories.  They are epic.

Dimitri Nakassis on wandering and why he likes archaeology.

We conclude discussing why real archaeologists drive manly trucks.

****************************************************

Episode Postscript:  Richard had an on-air epiphany when he realizes he did something terrible to Bill, and that event hardly registered in his memory.  Listen to get the story, but here is some additional information Paige Rothaus provides: The event occurred the year the Gypsies asked us how to use a passport to get to America.  That means this was the year Richard was doing a great deal of work at Lechaion and he befriended the young men at the Gypsy camp so that he could leave his equipment around and not have it “disappear.”  By the way, Romani is a better term than “Gypsies”, but no one understands what you are saying if you use “Romani”.)

*****************************************************

The opening track on the podcast is 80-R’s Pacific Rim.You can listen to it in its entirely here.

*****************************************************

clipboard

Richard’s Equipment List

gen632_1

The front of the OSU Isthmia van, with a very young Bill Caraher and backpack (which probably he doesn’t have anymore [Bill note: actually that’s the replacement backpack, which I do still use!]), and David Pettegrew with backpack (and very handy belly pouch) and, um, a fine staff member.

CS&RRatwork

The back of the OSU Isthmia Van, with Richard Rothaus and Carol Stein planning some awesome discovery.  Also – notice the tool belt.  For many years I was a tool belt and canteen guy.  That works when you have minions to carry things for you. Richard once left his pack on the wrong side of a mountain and everyone got an extra 2 hrs in the van to remedy the error.  After that, a minion was assigned to “always know where Richard’s bag is.”

people35

The OSU Van with Sam Fee, Nathan Meyer, Dan Pullen, and, um, a fine staff member.  This is after the van caught on fire.  Again.  A “Call for help if this van bursts into flame” sticker has just been attached.

PEOPLE22

The OSU Van slumming.

98_7_543

The Grey Escort!  With Tom Tartaron, who apparently just spray painted Συν[ασπισμός] on a rock.  Συνασπισμός is one the many Greek political parties.

P0000646

The OSU van with Ed Reinhardt, um, a fine McMaster Student, Amber Demorett, Lee Anderson, Ben Rothaus and Richard Rothaus.  We are tieing metal tubes onto the van so Dr. Reinhardt can do vibracoring in one of the Korinthian marshes.

P0002788

Oh no!  Greece is on fire and Richard needs to get to the airport, or ice cream, or something.

truck

Richard ‘s Truck

Bill’s Truck

Standard

Meatspace Season 1, Episode 8

This week, Richard and Bill welcomed their first guest into the studio: Andrew Reinhard. We convinced Andrew to talk to us about his research on Archaeogaming which is the archaeology in and of video games. We became particularly interested in his assertion that “meatspace” is no different than the virtual space of games. This, as you might guess, triggered some vigorous discussion that eventually devolved into Bill citing Pierre Bourdieu and railing against capitalism, Richard interviewing his 8-year-old son and comparing capitalism and video games to religion, and the homunculus who operates Andrew’s flesh robot almost leaping out of his head. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

The opening and closing track on the podcast is 80-R’s Pacific Rim. You can listen to it in its entirely here.

Over 19 million people have bought the PC version of Minecraft.

There are only three characters you need to know about in Minecraft:

Steve– your default character

steve

Herobrine– your nightmare:

herobrine

Notch – the Creator:

110px-Notch_Adweek

Read a bit about Herobrine.  Then read a bit more.   This seems to be the ur-CreepyPasta.

Good lord, do you live in a box?  Learn about CreepyPasta.

And, well, we only briefly touch on him, but Slender Man is mixed up in the this a bit – he is the inspiration for the Endermen.  You should probably be aware of the tragic, bizarre and sad, Slender Man stabbing perpetrated by two 12 year old girls in Wisconsin.

A super-brief explanation of why Minecraft is so popular at Kotaku

Richard’s son Matt reminded him that his prattle about Minecraft needs to be informed by an appreciation of DWARF FORTRESS. Fair enough.  Richard, a historian, responds ZORK – a version of which he played on the mainframe at CampVandyland a million years ago.  But Richard also concedes that Zork is not the same.

We don’t recommend going down this rabbit hole, but here are approximately 2,880,000 videos about Herobrine on YouTube.  (For perspective, Richard’s count is 19, Bill’s is 18, and Dionysus’s is 41,800).

Links:

Meatspace.

Minecraft: Savior of Education and Marginalized Kids, according to the Fargo Forum.

********************

Mancamp Moment of the Week:  ManCamps in Grand Forks, North Dakota!  It won’t be different in the sense that every type of workforce housing that exists in the world exists in Williston.

Standard

History Will Be Heard, But via Archaeology of the Recent Past, Not Your Study of the Oppressed Black-Haired Irishmen with Excessively Large Canine Teeth: Season 1, Episode 7

This weeks podcast is early and short, because we are super-excited about some audio and podcasting we will be doing from the 7th Annual Cyprus Lecture and North Dakota Premiere of Atari: Game Over.  If you can’t make the premiere in Grand Forks on 9 April, you can watch the documentary on XBox Video, or Netflix.    Atari: Game Over  has an IMDB rating of 7.2 from 368 (!) users, and you can watch a video review of the video by two dudes here.   

Listen to the Cyprus Research Fund Lecture Live HERE. And be sure to celebrate our sponsors: The Cyprus Research Fund, The College of Arts and Sciences, and The North Dakota Humanities Council.

 

AtariGameOver share2

But, first, Bill and Richard discuss historians who have become concerned that they have lost their public, and how public activities and outreach, like a crazed dig in Alamogordo, NM might address that issue.  We also discuss whether the Archaeology of the Recent Past is an outreach gimmick, or whether it is something that is helping the science of archaeology grow.  For our jumping off point, we discuss/attack/mock a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Thomas Bender, How Historians Lost Their Public.

Bill makes the case that specialized studies full of technical language are appropriate, and that calls to be less-specialized can be condescending, and lead to dumbing down the discipline. He points out that specialization is good in cancer doctors, but somehow bad in historians, and that makes no sense. Being accessible doesn’t produce new knowledge, Bill notes, technical and specialized writing does. Richard sort of agrees, but argues that there is plenty of room and opportunity for historians to break out of their uber-specialized cubbyholes if they want, and if they don’t want, they shouldn’t complain. The public aren’t crying out for more historians to engage them, as they have so much to watch and read from other sources, says Richard. Rather an insecurity within historical communities generates these cries. Bill notes that there is also real push back from funding agencies about outreach, and that is cause for concern. We seem to end up agreeing that there is a need and room for general practitioners of history and specialists in history, and perhaps there is no crisis at all.  Bill, however, suggests that he sometimes expects people to pay attention to him, while Richard is resigned to never being heard.

Richard admits that he started working on the archaeology of the contemporary world because he thought it would be easy (for outreach and students), but he has since been converted to thinking that it actual has significant contributions to the field. Bill discusses ways archaeology of the recent past has been done and applied to actually make the world a better place right now, especially studies of trash. Bill questions whether outreach via the recent past is useful, or is it so bizarre, like digging up Atari cartridges, that it is just a novelty and actually diminishing rather than enhancing dialogue with the public. Richard and Bill discuss how such projects can wind up with other professionals not taking the work seriously.  Richard talks about some work that has been done on the archaeology of fraternities, and how the The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi is so very relevant right now. Richard claims that winners try to solve problems through outreach rather than trying to be a policy wonk. Bill talks about how non-exotic archaeology can be effective help produce responsible citizens. We digress into a brief discussion of the potential iconography and archaeology of UND Fighting S___x Ice Dragons (?) logos and paraphernalia.  We close by referencing Andrew Reinhard’s bleeding-edge venture into Archaeogaming.

 


The Links to things we talk about:

That obscure website where you can buy HISTORY books – Amazon.com.

Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.

Stacy Camp’s Teaching With Trash: Archaeological Insights on University Waste Management.

Rathje and Murray, Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage.

Here is some coverage of the director of the NEH calling for that agency to become more focused on humanities for the public good

Laurie Wilkie, The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi: A Historical Archæology of Masculinity at a University Fraternity.(Be sure to enjoy the hilariously nitpicky Amazon review, from (surprise!) a member of the fraternity from 50 years ago).

National Science Foundation grants being questioned, as covered by scientists and a non-scientist.

Get your no longer Fighting S____x, not yet Ice Dragons (?) UND wear and paraphenalia at the Sioux Shop.

A handy bibliography of Contemporary Archaeology.

Black-Haired Irishmen – quit being racist.

Big Canine Teeth –  really, quit being racist.

Andrew Reinhard’s IMDB Page.

Standard