Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

TEN FACTS ABOUT THE NEOLITHIC

Hello Chumsters! Wonderful to see you again. Health and Safety regulations require me to add a disclaimer to this, our latest installment of continuous professional development therefore . . .


Disclaimer: In regard of lex luthor and without undue prejudice to the dictum of pro forma viz. novus ordo seclorum - the party of the first par-tay (hereafter referred to as the Author) accepts wholly, and without condition, that the party of the second party, ie. prehistoric structures assembled using atypically large stones (hereafter referred to as megaliths) bear no affiliation whatsoever with the popular beat combo Megadeth. Furthermore, the Neolithic peoples of Ireland will not to be confused with the neoprene wearing peoples of Ireland (eg. Michael Flatley.)
Small print: Essentially, as with all health and safety, this means if you suffer acute renal failure you can go ring your own ambulance 'cos the party of the first party don't give a stuff.


1. The word 'Neolithic' is of Inuit origin. It is composed of three separate portions. The first is 'neo' meaning - an abundance, the second is 'lit' meaning - ancient, and the last is 'hic' - meaning - leatherworkers. When all three parts are assembled together the word Neolithic comes to mean 'A Load of Old Cobblers.'
2. The Neolithic began with the introduction of farming and ended with the appearance of copper tools. Somewhere in the middle a bearded lady whizzed by on a unicycle and flipped the finger at some Japanese tourists, (although this event may be the result of some poorly applied ethnographic data.)


The first farmer invading Ireland with crops, livestock and a megalith.
3. The Neolithic farming revolution was spread westwards across Europe by bloodthirsty, livestock loving hillbillies. The last landmass to taste the lash of these welly-wearing bucolic oppressors was the verdant paradise of Ireland. This final leg of the Neolithic slash and burn tour began on the morning of June 6th 3444 BP (± 30 years) on Curracloe Beach. The Neolithic farmers ploughed ashore at 600 hours beaching their skin boats and then dispatching their cattle inland to eat holes in the barbwire and concrete fortifications built by the welcoming Mesolithic peoples. By 800 hours crops had been grown to neutralise the antimegalith mines laid by the same hunter gatherer groups. By 1200 hours the megaliths trundled off the boats and the bridgehead was established. Two days later the farmers decamped in horror when they realised they had landed in Wexford.


4. It is not a widely known fact that Lithuanian archaeologist Marija Gimbutas was hugely influenced by the 1984 motion picture  'Ghostbusters.' Evidence of her obsequious love of the film is apparent in her 1991 publication 'The Civilization of the Goddess,' where she asserts pottery associated with female burials in linearbandkeramik cemeteries clearly indicated a society defined by (and I quote): 'Human sacrifice, feminist hierarchies, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!' (Compare these words with Bill Murray's lines in this scene.)
Gimbutas often ended her anthropology lectures with the words - 'Bustin' makes me feel real good.'


5. You should never push your granny off the bus.


6. It is now widely agreed among archaeologists (with a specific interest in Neolithic root vegetable subsistence strategies) that celeriac is arguably the scariest looking vegetable on the planet.



7. And now in the spirit of filling empty space and singing our way into a new era of prosperity where archaeologists charter helicopters to the cornershop and wipe their backsides with Armani blazers, I present a Brythonic Celtic love song sung by farming communities throughout Europe since the dawn of the planet of the apes . . . PRESS HERE PLEASE

8. Profuse deforestation was was part and parcel of the Neolithic lifestyle. Joni Mitchell once made a wry comment about this practise in her tune 'Big Yellow Taxi.'
'They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em' 
The good news is that the trees later escaped . . . They used (ahem) an escape root.

9. I'm not sure if Michael Flatley ever wore neoprene - still, I don't trust him, given half a chance I bet that hoor would have been first up the Curracloe beach with his belching great megalith, clog-dancing on the capstone with his nipple tassles whizzing around like a chainsaw, grinding hunter gatherers into bolognese sauce. He should be ashamed of himself, he's a total tart. I'm sorry I ever mentioned him.
And he used to have real class.
10. Good heavens, ten already! Lights out children. And keep your hands over the covers please.


The Author bids you good-night (i pluribus unum.)





Tuesday, 10 July 2012

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING FOR ARCHAEOLOGISTS NO.3

SIMULATED EXCAVATION


Ever since Richard and Judy (those titans of the boob tube,) retired from morning television, the waking hours of the unemployed archaeologist have become a desolate place bereft of mental and physical stimulation. In the current climate (sans Dick & J,) idle barrow donkeys have been reduced to the sad choice of either (A) informal rhinotillexomania or else (B) unspeakable self-knowledge (a la mode biblique.)
Well fear not if you find yourself having to choose between 'A' or 'B' because today I am offering 'C' : SIMULATED EXCAVATION.
Simulated excavation feigns the full joy of working on an excavation and thereby keeps the filthropologist mentally and physically prepared for (the very unlikely event of) real future employment. . .
To begin you must choose your simulated crew. Don't bother picking qualified 'real' archaeologists, improvise (like many archaeological companies do) using dummies (see fig.1 above) who will work for nothing. To enhance the effect - give the dummies knee-slapping archaeological monikers such as 'Phil O'Clay,' 'Pete Compost,' and 'Sooty McMire.' (Ho! Ho! Stop you're killing me!) Once the crew are assembled 'it's off to work we go,' - it's time to simulate the commute to your daily drudgery. . .


Simulating the work journey is straightforward - Before seating the dummies in your car, firmly instruct  them to keep the seats clean and then emphasize how much this Ford Fiesta is costing you in petrol, tax and insurance. Then drive (fig.2) for sixty miles around the bomb crater (that passes for your town square,) all the while arguing with the mannequins about whether to turn the radio on, off, or instead listen to your Johnny Mathis cassette tape. Fear not if members of the public view you with a quizzical air, forgive them, they are but clueless laggards (with pensionable jobs,) not learned in the great mysteries of the past. However, do be considerate and treat these public simpletons to the occasional wave as you circumnavigate the piazza.
In no time at all you will arrive at the simulated dig. So it's time park the car in front of your tenement and go up to your bathroom where the virtual site awaits.
The night before it is imperative to have filled your bath tub with muck, broken pottery and bone. Climb into the tub and begin half-sectioning your 'pit.' To create an authentic outdoorsy feel turn on the shower while you dig. To make the excavation experience even more bona fide dig through the side of the tub and tell one of the dummies this feature is more complicated than you originally thought. Should a concerned neighbour call to ask about the noise, warmly invite them in and, in your role as ambassador of archaeology, show them your bath, make up some baloney about it, and afterwards request a generous donation towards future research.
Then toss the time wasters out.
Excavation duties should be interspersed with the occasional cup of tea avec les dummies. And don't forget to extoll the virtues of Johnny Mathis while spilling tea on your tweed plus fours.
After eight statutory hours of this unbearable shite it's back into the Ford Fiesta with the dummies.

Thirty miles into your journey around the Stinksville Bomb Plaza have an argument with one of the dummies about Johnny Mathis. Stop the car, throw all the dummies into the crater and tell them they can 'all walk to work tomorrow!'
Thirty miles later you're home. To simulate the 'wear and tear' effect of a commute on your car, empty a bucket of mud into it, slash the seats and tear off a wing mirror.
Have beans for dinner, watch a rerun of 'America's Got Talent,' don't wash and before climbing into bed knock out a tooth. Put the tooth under your pillow and if you have been a good little archaeologist, by morning, that premolar will have transmuted into your car expenses.
Congratulations - your first day is over - and this dig is set to run for the next three years at least. 
Hurrah for a career archaeology!


Now go in peace to love and serve the loam.

News in brief . . .

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I am a descended from a long line of conga dancers. I occasionally wear shoes. I gave up going to the toilet twenty years ago - it's a filthy habit. I have a pet bunny called Mucky - he's a filthy rabbit.

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