- D-Brief considers if gas giant exoplanet Kelt-9b is actually evaporating.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper that considers where to find signs of prior indigenous civilizations in our solar system. (The Moon, Mars, and outer solar system look good.
- Joe. My. God. reveals the Israeli nuclear option in the 1967 war.
- Language Log shares a clip of a Nova Scotia Gaelic folktale about a man named Donald.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the ongoing deportations of Hispanic undocumented migrants from the United States.
- The LRB Blog notes the brittle rhetoric of May and the Conservatives.
- The NYRB Daily mourns the Trump Administration's plans for American education.
- Savage Minds considers the world now in the context of the reign of the dangerous nonsense of Neil Postman.
- Strange Maps shares a map documenting the spread of chess from India to Ireland in a millennium.
- Window on Eurasia argues that the Russian government needs to do more to protect minority languages.
- Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
- Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley's Comet.
- Dangerous Minds shares photos of the "Apache" dancers of France.
- Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity's future.
- At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.
- Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.
- Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.
- Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.
- The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom's own UDI.
- Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.
- Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France's Alstom.
- The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the "thanatopolitics" of the Republicans.
- The NYRB Daily looks at Trump's constitutional crisis.
- Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.
- The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States' planetary science exploration budget.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at Argentina's underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.
- Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.
- Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.
- Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.
- Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.
The most recent building to occupy the place, and the role, of St. Lawrence Market North was torn down a bit more than a year ago, in preparation for new construction. (The building most recently on this site was, somewhat amazingly, intended to be a temporary construction when it was put up a half-century ago.) Local news sources have carried reports describing how archaeologists have been busily turning up all manner of artifacts going back two centuries from this site, heavily trafficked since almost the start of Toronto's history. For now, all that there is to this space is a block of grey mu exposed to the sky at Front and Jarvis.
In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee writes about the import of the St. Lawrence Market, present on its current location for two centuries and hopefully here for a long while to come.
St. Lawrence Market is one of the two sites in Toronto (the other is nearby St. James Cathedral) that has been used for the same purpose since the city’s earliest days.
Generations of farmers, butchers and vegetable mongers have come down to lay out their wares. Generations of shoppers have come to fill their grocery bags. In a constantly changing city, that kind of continuity is rare and precious.
So when city hall decided to tear down and rebuild the newish market building on the north side of Front Street and replace it with something better, archeologists got a twinkle in their eyes. Here was a chance to explore the buried remnants of Toronto’s past, layer upon layer. At least five market structures have stood on the site. What traces would remain of all those years of busy commerce?
By luck, the site had never suffered a huge excavation. The ground was covered only by a layer of concrete, the floor of the modern, 1968 market building. After that structure was torn down last fall, crews got digging.
They haven’t found any priceless artifacts. They didn’t expect to. This was a market, not a pharaoh’s tomb. Instead, they found butchered bones, iron meat hooks, painted ceramics, a soda bottle and an 1852 Bank of Upper Canada half-penny token. More important, they found the remains of the various buildings of evolving style and size that stood there, each a marker of the city’s growth.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly describes a week in her life as a freelance writer.
- The Dragon's Tales notes how the Indus Valley Civilization did, and did not, adapt to climate change.
- Language Log reshares Benjamin Franklin's writings against German immigration.
- The NYRB Daily follows one family's quest for justice after the shooting by police of one Ramarley Graham.
- The Russian Demographics Blog looks at the Pale of Settlement.
- Torontoist looks at Ontario's food and nutrition strategy.
- Transit Toronto reports on how PRESTO officials will be making appearances across the TTC in coming weeks to introduce users to the new system.
- Window on Eurasia looks at how ethnic minorities form a growing share of Russian emigration, looks at the manipulation of statistics by the Russian state, and suggests Putin's actions have killed off the concept of a triune nation of East Slavs.
At The Conversation, Ben Edwards writes about the discovery of the lost medieval Welsh city of Trellech, and the import of its recent rediscovery by an amateur archaeologist.
The tale of how an amateur archaeologist’s hunch led him to uncover a lost medieval town and spend £32,000 of his own money to buy the land, would stand to be the archaeological discovery of any year. On the border between England and Wales, the site of the medieval town of Trellech reveals much about a tumultuous period of history – and how the town came to be lost.
The story begins in 2004, when archaeology graduate Stuart Wilson began his search for this lost medieval town in Monmouthshire, south-east Wales, near where now only a small village bears the name. In the face of scepticism from academic archaeologists, Wilson’s years of work have been vindicated with the discovery of a moated manor house, a round stone tower, ancillary buildings, and a wealth of smaller finds including pottery from the 1200s.
The town could turn out to be one of the largest in medieval Wales, and while there is more work to be done, the evidence is building. The large number of finds – including metalwork, cooking vessels and decorated pottery – point to a large settlement, and are essential in helping archaeologists date the site. What they suggest is a short-lived but intensive period of occupation between the 12th and early 15th centuries, during which the town was founded by the De Clare family as an industrial centre and later destroyed during the Owain Glyndwr rebellion in 1400. This was a period of instability on the Welsh border, with conflict between rival Welsh princes and the English throne. Settlements like Trellech would become the focus of such clashes, culminating in Glyndwr’s rebellion.
What makes the lost city of Trellech so important is its rarity and the quality of its preservation. Most large medieval settlements in England and Wales are still towns and cities to this day. This means archaeological investigations of medieval London or York for example are difficult and expensive, and can only occur piecemeal as urban redevelopment allows excavation of small areas. If Trellech turns out to be an extensive town, it will be a unique and important site. As archaeology is key to understanding the lives of everyday people who are ignored by the histories of the great and the good, sites like Trellech are the only way we gain these insights.
In the Toronto Star, John Lorinc describes fascinating archeology being performed at Front and Jarvis Streets beneath the North Market, close to the heart of the early city.
In a muddy trench where the North Market once stood, archeologists Peter Popkin and David Robertson scan for clues about a long-buried structure: shards of ceramic and brick mingled with stone remnants give a hint of an elaborate network of drains built in the early 1830s to serve the butchers who once sold meat on this spot.
This pit — and the rest of this extensive dig at Front and Jarvis Sts., across from St. Lawrence Market — is providing a rare glimpse back in time to the earliest origins of Toronto’s foodie industry, which has grown over two centuries to become the $17-billion-a-year behemoth it is today, encompassing everything from artisanal butcher shops to grocery giants.
The North Market remains the only piece of property in the entire city that has been used continually for a single function — food retailing — since its inception in 1803, notes Robertson, a partner with ASI.
At the beginning of the 19th century, Toronto was a colonial outpost, scarcely more than a garrison, a small commercial district around what today is Parliament and King Sts., with a population of fewer than 9,000 people. The colonial administrators needed a market zone and chose a spot on the harbour.
Since then, “at least” five separate market buildings — constructed successively in 1820, 1831, 1851, 1904 and 1968 — have occupied the property, once abutting the Lake Ontario shoreline before landfill stretched the city farther south.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly considers the quiet power of the candle.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper examining horseshoe patterns in protoplanetary disks.
- The Dragon's Tales looks at the impact of human civilization on the Amazonian rain forest and looks at the negative impact of a 6th century volcanic eruption on the Maya.
- Language Log notes that "dumpster fire" is the American Dialect Society's word of the year for 2016.
- Towleroad notes Kiesza's new single.
- Transit Toronto notes service changes for the TTC.
- Understanding Society looks at the Black Panther movement.
- Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the irresistible force of negative campaigning.
NPR's Tegan Wendland reports on how rising sea levels, arguably felt more in low-lying Louisiana than elsewhere, are contributing to the literal erosion of the state's history.
Louisiana is losing its coast at a rapid rate because of rising sea levels, development and sinking marshland. Officials are trying to rebuild those marshes and the wetlands, but much of the coast can't be saved. This makes Louisiana's history an unwitting victim. As land disappears and the water creeps inland, ancient archaeology sites are washing away, too.
Richie Blink was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish, La. — way down south of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. Now he works for the National Wildlife Federation.
[. . .]
What's locally known as the "Lemon Trees" is a stand of weathered old trees on a grassy tuft of land. It's a well-known landmark for fishermen, but Blink says they would rarely stop there to hunt or fish because it's a sacred Native American site.
"The legend goes that you were always to bring some kind of sacrifice, so somebody left some lemons for the ancestors," Blink says.
And those grew into big trees with grapefruit-sized lemons. But as land was lost to the Gulf of Mexico, saltwater made its way into the freshwater marsh, killing off the trees and other plants.
The trees stand like skeletons on the edge of this scrappy, wind-beaten island. Waves beat against the dirt, washing it away, exposing shards of ancient pottery.
Anthropology.net's Kambiz Kamrani reports on an exciting archeological finding from the Aegean, suggesting that Neanderthals or a different hominid population managed to reach the Greek islands.
Mousterian spearheads, a classic Neanderthal tool type, were excavated from the Stelida archeological site on the Greek island of Naxos by from McMaster University. There has been a long time belief that the first people to colonize this particular region were early farmers who arrived by boat approximately 9,000 years ago. These artifacts imply something much much different as they could be 250,000 years old. Archaeologist, Tristan Carter, co-director, comments on the these artifacts,
““The stone tools they were finding on the site looked nothing like the stone tools that had ever been found before on prehistoric sites in the Cycladic Islands.””
The Mousterian culture is Paleolithic. And these spear heads furnish evidence that humans reached the islands of the Aegean Sea a quarter million years ago and maybe earlier. If confirmed, it means the first people on Naxos were Neanderthals, or their probable ancestors, Homo heidelbergensis or maybe even Homo erectus. But how did they get there -Could these archaic hominins have travelled by boat?
The Globe and Mail shares Geordon Omand's Canadian Press article looking at the exciting research into ancient wildlife engineering for food production in British Columbia, with the design of marshes optimized for the yield of a tuber known as the wapato.
An ancient wetland-gardening site unearthed during a road-building project in British Columbia is as culturally important as any other wonder of the world, says a member of the indigenous group who directed the excavation project.
A study published Wednesday found that as early as 1,800 BC, ancestors of the Katzie First Nation in B.C.’s Lower Mainland were engineering the wetland environment to increase the yield of a valuable, semi-aquatic plant known as a wapato. The report describes the finding as the first direct archeological evidence of the cultivation of wild plants in the Pacific Northwest.
“This is as important to us as the Egyptian pyramids, or the temples in Thailand, or Machu Picchu,” said Debbie Miller, who works with an archeological consulting firm owned by the Katzie Nation.
Road-building crews uncovered a rock platform measuring about 12-square metres made up of flat stones that would have rested several feet underwater four millenniums ago. The distribution of the stones into a pattern of single and double layers, as well as their closely packed arrangement, suggests they were placed deliberately, the study published online in ScienceAdvances found.
The stone “pavement” would have prevented the wapato from penetrating deep into the sludgy, wetland sediment, making it easier for gatherers to use long, sharpened digging tools to locate the buried plant and cut it free.
CBC News' Lorenda Reddekopp looks at how archeologists are uncovering the history of Toronto's infamous Ward, a neighbourhood that was an early center for immigration.
Mavis Garland clearly remembers the sign stuck in the window of her stepdad's barbershop: "No Discrimination."
That was back in the early 1950s. Garland's mother, a white woman and British immigrant, made the sign. Her Chinese stepfather wanted clients of all races to know they were welcome.
Garland says it worked.
Her family's story is one of six depicted in an art project — called Picturing The Ward — on the wooden construction hoardings surrounding what will eventually be a new courthouse in downtown Toronto, at 11 Centre Ave., northwest of city hall.
The street art covers two blocks, recounting life stories from the gritty, impoverished area that used to be known as "The Ward." It was a first home for new immigrants to the city dating back to the 1800s.
Spacing Toronto's John Lorinc takes a look at an interesting new sort of public museum in downtown Toronto, set up around the artifacts excavated in the preparation for the construction of a new courthouse.
As archeologists begin to reveal two centuries of commerce on the North Market site, Toronto’s other major active dig site – the Centre Avenue parking lot that’s set to become a major new courthouse – has been fitted out with a hoarding mural display that evokes the stories of the city’s original arrival city, The Ward.
At a formal unveiling last week, the hoarding project – commissioned by Infrastructure Ontario and developed by the Toronto Ward Museum, The STEPS Initiative and visual artists PA System (Patrick Thomson and Alexa Hatanaka) – offers an innovative and stylized depiction of artifacts found on the site, as well as archival photos, and narratives and images of individuals linked to the neighbourhood’s various eras and demographic groups.
While the murals add a visually striking note to a long-neglected block, the execution is not without flaws: the text on some of the panels contains typos. As well, several of the guests who attended the unveiling, including those involved in the project, commented on the fact that some of the archival images of The Ward scenes installed along the Armory Street panels are printed backwards. At least one described the effect as disrespectful.
That move, however, was intentional. “The mirroring effect was used to create a continuous feeling of walking through a historical streetscape,” according to a statement by PATCH, the project facilitators who worked with The Toronto Ward Museum and designer Kellen Hatanaka on the exhibit. “The mirroring also allows alignment of the images in such a way that its effect is amplified and immersive, while allowing the viewer the experience of entering the exhibit from either side of the installation.”
In an interview following the unveiling, John McKendrick, IO’s executive vice-president for project delivery, and Reza Asadikia, director of major projects, outlined new details about the courthouse venture, which will become a major landmark structure estimated to cost between $500 million and $1 billion. It will be built under IO’s alternative financing and procurement model.
- Apostrophen's 'Natha Smith talks about his tradition of the stuffed Christmas stocking.
- Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling talks about the decline of the Pebble wearables.
- blogTO lists some of the hot new bookstores in Toronto.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about some of her family's traditions.
- The Dragon's Tales looks at the ancient history of rice cultivation in the Indus Valley Civilization.
- Joe. My. God. notes the willingness of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation to recognize same-sex marriages.
- Language Log shares a photo of an unusual multi-script ad from East Asia.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the Russian involvement in the American election and its import.
- Marginal Revolution links to a book about the transition in China's financial sector.
- Window on Eurasia reports on efforts to revive the moribund and very complex Caucasian of Ubykh.
- Beyond the Beyond notes an upcoming exhibition of photos of Vaclav Havel.
- blogTO notes a local controversy over the demolition of a community-built skate park.
- Centauri Dreams considers how advanced starfaring civilizations might deal with existential threats.
- Crooked Timber looks at how presidential debates could be used to teach logic.
- Language Hat examines the origins of the evocative Slavic phrase "they perished like Avars."
- Language Log notes how "Molotov cocktail" was confused by a Trump manager with "Mazel tov cocktail".
- The LRB Blog notes Brexit-related insecurity over the rule of law in the United Kingdom.
- The Map Room Blog notes an exhibition in Maine of Acadian-related maps.
- Marginal Revolution looks at how the Hong Kong press has been influenced by advertisers.
- The NYRB Daily looks an exhibition of abstract expressionism.
- The Planetary Society Blog looks at what we can learn from Rosetta.
- Savage Minds considers the place of archeology in anthropology.
- Window on Eurasia looks at Belarus' commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution and considers the dispute in Kazakhstan as to whether the country should be known as Qazaqstan.
- 'Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about when it is appropriate to judge a book by its blurb.
- Beyond the Beyond examines the remarkable scandal in South Korea involving with the cult and its control over the country's president.
- blogTO notes unreasonably warm weather in Toronto this November.
- Dangerous Minds shares a corporate sales video from the early 1990s for Prince's studio.
- The Dragon's Gaze notes the effect of Proxima Centauri on planetary formation around Alpha Centauri A and B.
- The Extremo Files notes unorthodox ways of finding life.
- Language Log talks about the language around Scotland and Northern Ireland and their relationship as complicated by Brexit.
- Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting inheritances reduce inequality.
- Savage Minds talks about an anarchist archaeology.
- The Volokh Conspiracy considers a controversy at the Library of Congress.
- Centauri Dreams describes an unusually old circumstellar disk orbiting a red dwarf.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper analyzing the possible internal structure of Proxima Centauri b and looks at how common water worlds are.
- The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at how poverty can complicate aging in the United States.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the Trump campaign's lack of understanding of Wikileaks.
- The LRB Blog notes a liberal Briton opposed to EEC membership.
- The Map Room Blog maps Mosul.
- Marginal Revolution examines the question of whether to use "renminbi" or "yuan", and where.
- The NYRB Daily hosts an exchange about the number of men who have fallen out of regular employment.
- Savage Minds examines how a northeast Indian community has reclaimed archaeology.
- Window on Eurasia argues a frozen conflict is better for Ukraine than an unjust peace, and looks at why economic downturns in Russia are not accompanied by political protest.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about the process of journalism.
- Crooked Timber features a confusing critique of Clinton from the left.
- The Dragon's Tales notes the presence of Roman coins and at least one Persian mathematician in ancient Japan.
- Joe. My. God. notes that the Republican Party has halted preparation for a Trump victory.
- Language Hat reports on a poetic new classification system for the history of English.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on one improbable defender of Trump.
- The New APPS Blog studies North Carolina as a subject for an academic boycott.
- Torontoist reviews the Nuit Blanche just past.
- Window on Eurasia argues that the West is weak in relationship to Russia.
- Antipope's Charlie Stross worries about the literal survival of Britons in the post-Brexit United Kingdom.
- D-Brief notes the discovery of an ancient corpse in China shrouded in cannabis.
- Dangerous Minds reports on a 1971 BBC documentary about New York City starring a pre-stardom Patti Smith.
- The Dragon's Gaze links to a study mapping the changing clouds of the twin brown dwarfs of Luhman 16.
- The Dragon's Tales reports on drops in atmospheric oxygen over the past hundred thousand years.
- Language Hat reports on Italy's many dialects and their uses.
- Language Log engages with Trump's non-apology.
- Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at Ted Cruz's despair.
- The LRB Blog looks at the classic architecture of Eritrea's capital, Asmara.
- The Map Room Blog looks at Karen Margolis' art maps.
- The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer continues to look at the Colombian referendum and notes on the difficulties of enabling the rule of law in Mexico.
- Peter Rukavina remembers Prince Edward Island's Teachernet.
- Window on Eurasia reports on a provocative argument about Russia's demographic past and its lop-sided urbanization.
- blogTO notes that a half-million dollars does not buy one much of a house in Toronto.
- The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly celebrates the fifth anniversary of her marriage on the Toronto Islands.
- The Dragon's Gaze considers exoplanet fatigue in the news, suggesting Proxima b is about as excited as the media will get.
- Far Outliers looks at the foreign safety zone set up in Nanjing in 1937 as the Japanese approached.
- Language Hat considers the globalization of Latin American writers.
- Language Log examines the linguistics behind "hikikomori".
- The LRB Blog looks at the British political spectrum.
- The Map Room Blog reports on some beautiful letterpress maps.
- Marginal Revolution notes that in Africa, urbanization is not accompanied by economic growth.
- The NYRB Daily shares vintage photographs of Syria's Palmyra.
- Spacing looks at the examples of the Netherlands.
- Window on Eurasia looks at a call to create a unified Russian diaspora lobby in the United States and examines ethnic Russian migration from Tuva.