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Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs -

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    Postdoc Opportunity at the University of Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, for research in heritage and the arts. Deadline is 31 January 2019.

    The post Job: University of Sydney – Postdoctoral Research Associate appeared first on SEAArch - Southeast Asian Archaeology.

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    A detectorist from Stevenage cannot work out if he is making a statement or asking a question. (Facebook Yesterday at 11:36) "I don't know how many other detectorists do but Julian and I clubbed together and bought a case of mixed wines, etc., as a Christmas gift for the landowner of the estate we detect on?Another detectorist added:  "Yeah me and my mate Pete do the rounds at Christmas, we have several permissions and some we only visit once a year, still worth dropping in with a bottle of wine, cost to us this year was over £200 but well worth it, I normally take a bottle with me when I venture out looking for new permissions [emoticon]". A metal detectng couple go one further: (23h): "we laid out close to £500 this Christmas when added up [emoticon]. Worth it though, as we don't pay to detect and they're a great bunch. Like you, some farms get visited more than others, but keeps them sweet". Another writes of: "Litre of Chivas Regal for my main farmer with 2000 acres. Great value for a years detecting when many are paying £20 a day".  And so on, there are several others who admit to the same thing (and actually giving back some of the farmer's own property in a 'display case of finds made during the year. It always goes down a storm and is very much appreciated'. One wonders if they are accompanied by printouts of then PAS records of those items (and the other ones they took over that year)   

    The fact that some people will pay a farmer twenty quid a day (reported here) to get access to a productive site is due to many individual finds, some of them run-of-the-mill ones on the no-questions-asked antiquities market are worth ten to twenty quid (check some of the books pictured in this post, or have a look at the valuation pages of magazines such as 'The Searcher'). So if you are a collector its cheaper to find your own than buy them from  a dealer, and what is surplus to your own collection's needs can go to a dealer who will easily shift them on eBay or wherever. This is why Farmer Silas Brown is constantly reminding all who have anything to do with 'metal detectorists' that a mere permission note is not enough to ensure that finders have items licitly, openly and transparently. Landowners should be ap[praised of the actual value of each and every artefact the collector takes from their property before they can legitimately agree to render title to the finder. 

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    La prochaine journée d’information de l’AFEAF aura lieu samedi 2 février 2019 à partir de 9h30 à l’amphithéâtre Galois de l’ENS, 45 rue d’Ulm à Paris. Cette journée permettra de faire le point sur les nouveautés concernant l’actualité de l’archéologie de l’âge du Fer de l’année écoulée : fouilles préventives...

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  • 12/18/18--02:17: Jewish Book Month
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    Vrijdag keurde de Vlaamse regering de wijziging van het onroerenderfgoedbesluit goed. Een aantal wijzigingen rond archeologie treden in werking op 1 april 2019. De aanpassing van de premieregeling wordt al op 1 januari van kracht. “Met een vereenvoudiging van de premies zorgen we ervoor dat méér erfgoed de kans op een restauratie krijgt én moedigen we gemeenten aan om erfgoed met een publieksfunctie te onderhouden,” aldus Vlaams minister Geert Bourgeois.

    “De premiepercentages worden vereenvoudigd waarbij we de lat voor iedereen gelijk leggen met een basispercentage van 40%. Een bijkomende premie van 10% kan worden toegekend als beloning voor regelmatig onderhoud en goed beheer,” zegt Bourgeois. Een premie van 60% wordt toegekend voor onderwijsgebouwen, beschermde goederen met een publieksfunctie in eigendom van lokale besturen, ZEN-erfgoed, beschermde religieuze gebouwen in gebruik voor een erkende eredienst , open erfgoed en maalvaardige molens.

    De belangrijkste wijzigingen aan het Onroerenderfgoedbesluit zijn:

    • De erkenningen van onroerenderfgoedgemeenten, intergemeentelijke onroerenderfgoeddiensten en onroerenderfgoeddepots zullen fusievriendelijker worden.

    • De erkenning van archeologen krijgt een onderverdeling in twee types: een eerste type erkenning voor archeologen die alle vormen van archeologisch onderzoek mogen uitvoeren en een tweede type erkenning voor archeologen die enkel vooronderzoeken zonder ingreep in de bodem mogen uitvoeren en daar archeologienota’s over mogen melden. Zo zullen er meer archeologen in aanmerking komen voor een erkenning.

    • In plaats van de bekrachtiging van archeologienota’s komt er een meldingsplicht.

    • Het aantal vrijstellingen van archeologisch vooronderzoek krijgt een uitbreiding.

    • Om de planlast te verminderen zal een goedgekeurd beheersplan enkel nog verplicht zijn bij premie-aanvragen voor werelderfgoederen, beschermde stads- en dorpsgezichten, landschappen en archeologische sites, en voor meerjarige subsidieovereenkomsten.

    • De onderzoekspremie voor de opmaak van een beheersplan verdwijnt.

    • Vereenvoudiging van de verschillende premies met een gelijke lat voor iedereen.

    De bepalingen treden op 1 januari 2019 in werking. Deze met betrekking tot archeologie treden op 1 april 2019 in werking. Enkele bepalingen gelieerd aan de lokale beleids- en beheerscyclus treden op 1 januari 2020 in werking.


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    I was reminded a while back (actually, looking at when I first wrote a draft of this post, it was a couple of years ago, when watching the movie Carmel, which includes Josephus’ account of the Jewish war and other quotes from his writings) that Josephus claimed that his work was translated from Hebrew or […]

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    A number of stone tools dating back to the Neolithic Age have been discovered in a village in north...

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    THink: Research and Resources from Tydale House, Cambridge


    Issue 1 – Winter 2018

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    Shark, Raven, Bird, Human. What does it mean to find these life forms intermingled within a singular piece, in the shape of a rattle? In Tlingit society, the interactions among these beings and the mythologies associated with them represent cultural interpretations of individual and clan relationships. Specific aspects of these relations and beliefs led to the amalgamation of stylized versions of marine animals, birds, and other enigmatic figures in this hand-held rattle carved from wood.

    Tlingit Raven Rattle, NA11761. Photo courtesy of the Penn Museum.

    This “Dance Rattle”— object number NA11761, aptly described as the “Shark on Raven” rattle—was an object purchased by art collector and ethnologist Louis Shotridge (Tlingit) during the 1927 Wanamaker Expedition to acquire Northwest Coast Native objects. During the late 1800s to early 1900s, the Canadian and American governments began pressuring Native people to set aside their cultural objects and adopt aspects of Western culture. Shotridge observed that many Tlingit objects were leaving their communities of origin, and landing in museums. The Free Museum of Science and Art (forerunner to the Penn Museum) had only a small collection of Northwest Coast Native objects, but Shotridge was determined to improve the representation of Tlingit culture at Penn. He persuaded Museum Director George Byron Gordon to fund travel expenses to Southeastern Alaska to collect objects for the Museum.[1] According to Associate Curator Lucy Fowler Williams, these were the first University Museum expeditions led by a Native person, and Shotridge “found the Museum to be a safe haven for Native materials.”[2]

    Kayla Holmes and Lucy Fowler Williams. Photo by Margaret Bruchac.

    Although Shotridge was very thorough in his documentation, he was young and still learning; thus, there are still mysteries surrounding some of the objects in his collection.[3] This rattle was purchased by Shotridge in 1927 for $30.00.[4] On a page that lists the contents of package No. 15 sent to Philadelphia, this object was described as a “Ceremonial Dance Rattle, Beautifully carved to represent the ‘Shark and Fish Hawk’ crest objects, supported by the ‘Raven.’”[5] Shotridge did not record the meaning of this specific iconography in this instance,[6] but these figures suggest that this rattle is perhaps related to the Sitka Kaagwaantaan Clan.[7] This rattle clearly contains aspects of transformation that mirror Tlingit beliefs and society, entangled with the mythology of the Raven.

    Human, Bird, and Animal Relationships

    The bulk of this Tlingit rattle is carved into the body of the raven, and on the raven’s back lies a shark, identifiable by the flat rounded head, eyes and down-turned mouth and teeth painted onto the sides of its face. The shark is held in place by the beak of another bird that sits at the base of the rattle near the handle. What does all of this mean? What are the relationships between these figures, and why are they present on a single rattle? What was this rattle’s purpose? In the absence of an interview with the rattle’s owner, it is difficult to discern an absolute answer, but there are some possibilities.

    Shark’s head rests on Raven’s head. Photo by Margaret Bruchac.

    “All of these Tlingit objects hold stories that relate to families. . . families have these stories that connect them to what I like to call an undivided Native world.”[8] Raven rattles are actually very common; dozens of them survive in museum collections, and they are still in active use in tribal communities today.[9] These rattles illustrate the Northwest Coast Native worldview by portraying the relationships among humans and animals; within some creation myths, the two kinds of being are interchangeable. For Tlingit society, Raven is the central character of creation myths, seen as both trickster and creator. In one version of the Raven myth recorded in Wrangell, Alaska, for example, Raven “went under the sea and visited all of the fish people, teaching men afterwards, that fish are really human beings.”[10] If the worlds of animal and human are seen as interchangeable, and if fish are another form of humans, this could explain why the shark on Raven’s back has a human face. This belief also illuminates the underbelly of the rattle, which contains a set of faces that bear characteristics of human, animal, or bird-like features.

    Faces on Raven’s belly. Photograph by Margaret Bruchac.

    Tlingit Family Hierarchies

    Shark and Raven are interconnected not only within mythology, but in Tlingit family structures. Every person within the Tlingit community has a kinship relation rooted in belonging to one of two moieties—called by the Tlingit “clans” or “sides”—divided into separate halves: Raven/Crow (Tléixʼ Laayaneidí) and Eagle/Wolf (Tléixʼ Shangukeidí).[11] Originally, each moeity contained around 30 groups who were further organized into “tribes” – “family lineages, or house groups of related families, descending from a common ancestor.”[12] In both Haida and Tlingit societies, which are matrilineal, children receive their clan, tribe, and lineage based on their mother’s family.[13] Each moeity/clan is exogamous, meaning one is expected to marry outside of one’s group; therefore, a Raven would be expected to marry an Eagle/Wolf and vice versa. Some groups within the Eagle/Wolf clan also use animal crests, including the wolf, eagle, bear, petrel, killer whale, halibut, thunderbird, shark, and many others.[14]

    Since the shark crest was used by members of the Eagle/Wolf clan, I wondered if the rattle might represent kinship between someone within the Raven clan and someone within the Wolf/Eagle clan? Through subsequent research, we learned that the shark apparently lost its luster as a clan emblem during the era when Shotridge was collecting.[15] He noted that people of the Kaguanton (Kaagwaantaan) tribe were known as adventurous and brave warriors, but the emblem of the shark (apparently based on the slow-moving basking shark) failed to convey their ferocity. One of his informants, Chief Stuwuka, stated, “If this Shark is to maintain its rank in our history, why does not this indolent animal appear in a true man’s dream?” The shark, despite its “rows of sharp teeth,” was replaced by the wolf who was thought to be more aggressive and “bold.”[16] Even so, the shark “was still looked upon with respect, because it represented the efforts of the men who founded the party.”[17] Might that story be represented on this rattle? If so, what does the presence of the bird with its beak resting on shark signify?

    Raven, Salmon, Fish Hawk, Kingfisher, and Shark

    Perhaps the images on this rattle reflect oral traditions that surround the Raven. In a Sitkan version of the Raven creation myth, for example, after Raven brought the stars, the moon, and light into the world, he went off to explore. Along his journey, he caught a big spring salmon by using a piece of wild celery (yâ’naet) as a weapon. “Then, Raven, carrying along the spring salmon, got all kinds of birds, little and big, as his servants” to help cook the fish.[18] On this rattle, the bird’s beak appears to be holding the shark’s tail firmly in place. Does this indicate that the bird is helping Raven to carry away the shark? Shotridge describes the bird as a “Fish Hawk,” but hawks were typically represented with a curved rather than a straight beak, so this bird might be a Kingfisher, a bird with special “powers that related to its association with water and its access to other realms, namely land and sky.”[19] Are there other meanings?

    Unlike Northwest Coast First Nations “crest art,” which tends to represent a specific clan or nation, these rattles (called sheishóox in Tlingit) appear to have been made as personal objects of power to be used by chiefs and other prominent individuals.[20] Since the motifs on Raven rattles often symbolize some aspect of initiation ceremonies, a “reclining figure” on Raven’s back can represent a novice seeking assistance from a more powerful being.[21] On this rattle, Shark is the initiate being touched by the beak of a bird. On another Tlingit Raven rattle in the Penn Museum, object #NA6844, there is a reclining human figure being tended to by a similarly feathered bird.[22] On these and other Raven rattles, the creatures on Raven’s belly represent the various forms of a “wealth-bringing, supernatural, sea monster.” [23] When these rattles are danced, they are held belly-up to make these beings visible; although Northwest Coast traditionalists consider that to be the proper position, most museums follow Euro-American directional norms by displaying these rattles with Raven upright in a flying position.[24]

    Bird’s eye view of figures on Raven’s back. Photo by Margaret Bruchac.

    This Raven rattle thus alludes to many cultural characteristics and practices within Tlingit society, where the world is seen as ever balanced and related. The relations among different clans and different beings are most poignantly expressed when these symbols are actively brought into ongoing traditional ceremonies.[25] All life—people, animals, birds, fish, plants, landforms, etc.—are related to and come from “mythological time,” an era when Raven provided humans and animals with all they needed to survive. Just as Raven is the backbone of all life, Raven is the backbone of this rattle, and Shark and Fish Hawk/Kingfisher are fittingly situated along Raven’s back. In mythological time, Tlingit people and animals could conceptually move back and forth between worlds; they also do so in this rattle, which eloquently depicts nested relationships and transformations among many different beings.[26]


    [1] J. Alden Mason, “Louis Shotridge,”Expedition 2 (2) (1960): 10-16.  Shotridge served as a curatorial assistant at the University Museum from 1912-1915, when he was appointed as an Assistant Curator, a position he then held until 1932. Also see The Louis Shotridge Digital Archives: Tlingit Art, Culture, and Heritage, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) website.
    [2] Lucy Fowler Williams, Associate Curator and Sabloff Keeper at the Penn Museum, interviewed by Kayla Holmes on November 28, 2018.
    [3]The Louis Shotridge Digital Archives: Tlingit Art, Culture, and Heritage. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
    [4] List of objects collected in 1927 within the manuscripts (1926-1927) folder; Louis Shotridge Papers, Box 1.2; Penn Museum Archives.
    [5] Document from Louis Shotridge describing the contents of package No. 15 within the manuscripts (1926-1927) folder; Louis Shotridge Papers, Box 1.2; Penn Museum Archives.
    [6] Letters from Louis Shotridge to Jane M. McHugh, acting director of the Penn Museum from 1927-1929 within manuscripts (1926-1927) folder; Louis Shotridge Papers, Box 1.2; Penn Museum Archives.
    [7] The figures of Shark and Fish Hawk were combined on a helmet collected during the same expedition in 1929, discussed in Louis Shotridge, “The Kaguanton Shark Helmet,”The Museum Journal, 1929, 20 (3-4): 341. In 2011, the Penn Museum repatriated the shark helmet to the Tlingit Kaagwaantan Clan of Sitka, Alaska. See “Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA.” Federal Register 76 (32) (February 16, 2011), 9049-9051.
    [8] Lucy Fowler Williams, interview by Kayla Holmes.
    [9] Raven rattles are similarly made and used by the Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples. See Aldona Jonaitis, “Liminality and Incorporation in the Art of the Tlingit Shaman.” American Indian Quarterly 7 (3) (1983): 52.
    [10] John Reed Swanton, Tlingit Myths and Texts, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 39. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1909, 430. Swanton notes that this version from Wrangell differs from the version recorded in Sitka, Alaska.
    [11] X̲ʼunei Lance Twitchell, Lingít Yoo X̲ ʼatángi: Beginning Tlingit Workbook (Juneau, AK: Sealaska Heritage Institute, 2017), 75.
    [12] Erika Edwards and Raymond Bial, The People and Culture of the Tlingit (New York: Cavendish Square, 2017), 27.
    [13] Among the Northwest Coast peoples, all beings—human, animal, bird, fish, and supernatural beings—are conceptually associated with a particular clan and side. See Marianne Boelscher, The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1989, 29.
    [14] Edwards and Bial, The People and Culture of the Tlingit, 30-33.
    [15] Shotridge, “The Kaguanton Shark Helmet.
    [16] Ibid, 341.
    [17] Ibid, 343.
    [18] Swanton, Tlingit Myths and Texts, 5.
    [19] See Jennifer Chambers Gould, The Iconography of the Northwest Coast Raven Rattle, Master of Arts thesis (University of British Columbia, 1973), 61, 75-76.
    [20] Gould, The Iconography of the Northwest Coast Raven Rattle, ii-iii. Also see “Rattle” on Alaska Native Collections: Sharing Knowledge, Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution on-line.
    [21] Gould, The Iconography of the Northwest Coast Raven Rattle, 20. Also see Jonaitis, “Liminality and Incorporation in the Art of the Tlingit Shaman,” 52.
    [22] This other Raven rattle, with the bird and reclining human figure, object # NA6844, was collected by Shotridge on November 22, 1924 from the Snail House family in Hooniah, Alaska. He called it “Raven the Pilgrim,” and noted that it was “used on the occasion of the call-together to the rebuilding of the Snail House.” See specimen card in Alaska State Library, ID: asl_ms37_404.jpg, in the Louis Shotridge Digital Archives: Tlingit Art, Culture, and Heritage, Penn Museum.
    [23] Gould, The Iconography of the Northwest Coast Raven Rattle, 20.
    [24] Nuxalk traditionalist Sxnakila (Clyde Tallio) suggests that a carved Raven rattle displayed in a flying position might inadvertently come to life. See Jennifer Kramer, “Möbius Museology: Curating and Critiquing the Multiversity Galleries at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia,” in The International Handbooks of Museum Studies: Museum Transformations, Volume 4, edited by Annie E. Coombes and Ruth B. Phillips (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2015), 502-503.
    [25] For photographs and essays on living Northwest Coast cultural traditions, see Rosita Worl, Celebration: Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian Dancing on the Land, edited by Kathy Dye (Juneau and Seattle: Sealaska Heritage Institute and University of Washington Press, 2008). For an example of an event where Penn Museum objects were re-incorporated into present-day ceremonies, see Robert W. Preucel and Lucy Fowler Williams, “The Centennial Potlatch.” Expedition 47 (2) (2005): 9-19.
    [26] Susan A. Kaplan, Kristin J. Barsness, and Adria H. Katz, Raven’s Journey: The World of Alaska’s Native People (Philadelphia: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1986), 12.

    Sources Cited:

    Boelscher, Marianne. 1989. The Curtain Within: Haida Social and Mythical Discourse. Vancouver: UBC Press.

    Edwards, Erika, and Raymond Bial. 2017. The People and Culture of the Tlingit. New York: Cavendish Square.

    Gould, Jennifer Chambers. 1973. The Iconography of the Northwest Coast Raven Rattle. Master of Arts thesis. University of British Columbia.

    Jonaitis, Aldona. 1983. “Liminality and Incorporation in the Art of the Tlingit Shaman.” American Indian Quarterly 7 (3): 41-68.

    Kaplan, Susan A., Kristin J. Barsness, and Adria H Katz. 1986. Raven’s Journey: The World of Alaska’s Native People. Philadelphia: University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.

    Kramer, Jennifer. 2015. “Möbius Museology: Curating and Critiquing the Multiversity Galleries at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.” In The International Handbooks of Museum Studies: Museum Transformations, Volume 4, edited by Annie E. Coombes and Ruth B. Phillips, 489-510. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    Mason, J. Alden. 1960. “Louis Shotridge.” Expedition 2 (2): 10-16.

    “Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA.” Federal Register 76 (32) (February 16, 2011), 9049-9051.

    Preucel, Robert W. and Lucy Fowler Williams. 2005. “The Centennial Potlatch.” Expedition 47 (2): 9-19.

    Shotridge, Louis. 1929. “The Kaguanton Shark Helmet.” The Museum Journal 20 (3-4): 339-343.

    Swanton, John Reed. 1909. Tlingit Myths and Texts. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 39. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

    Twitchell, X̲ʼunei Lance. 2017. Lingít Yoo X̲ ʼatángi: Beginning Tlingit Workbook. Juneau, AK: Sealaska Heritage Institute.

    University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The Louis Shotridge Digital Archives: Tlingit Art, Culture, and Heritage.

    Worl, Rosita. 2008. Celebration: Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian Dancing on the Land. Edited by Kathy Dye. Juneau and Seattle: Sealaska Heritage Institute and University of Washington Press.

    This object analysis was conducted for the Fall 2018 University of Pennsylvania course “Anthropology of Museums.” Students are examining Native American objects in the American Section of the Penn Museum by combining material analysis (elements, construction, design, condition, etc.) with documentation (texts, photographs, ethnographic data, etc.). Since some objects have minimal provenance data, we seek out and consider similar materials, research articles and archives, Indigenous knowledges and histories, and non-material evidence (oral traditions, ecosystems, museum memories, etc.) that might illuminate these objects. This research is designed to expand our understandings of object lives, using insights and information gathered from inside and outside of the Museum.

    For more blogs from the 2018 Anthropology of Museums class, see the following articles, edited by Margaret Bruchac:
    • With Erica Dienes. “The Salmon Basket and Cannery Label.”
    • With Erica Dienes. “Choctaw Beaded Sash: Crossing Histories.”
    • With Lilianna Gurry. “Moose Hair Embroidered Birchbark Trays: French, Native, or Both.”
    • With Lilianna Gurry. “Blackfeet Moccasins: Gifts for Charles Stephens.”
    • With Kayla A. Holmes. “Investigating a Pipe Tomahawk.”
    • With Ben Kelser. “The Kaskaskian Beaver Bowl.”
    • With Ben Kelser. “Children Among the Caribou: Clothes for a Young Innu.”
    • With Leana Reich. “Lady Franklyn’s Quilled Mi’kmaq Box.”
    • With Leana Reich. “The Mysterious Beaded Collar.”

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    Grand Forks is a pretty interesting little town if you pay attention to what’s going on. This past week, the long simmering news became pubic that Lyon’s Garage, a Tudor Revival style building built in 1929. It will be replaced by a predictably bland, brick-clad, steel and glass “mixed use” building with commercial or retail space on the ground floor and modern apartments above.

    1280px Lyons Garage 214 218 North 4th Street Grand Forks ND

    What has drawn my to the story of Lyon’s Garage is that it is the last operating business from the old automobile district in downtown Grand Forks. According the National Register nomination and a quick scan of the Sanborn Maps showed that as early as 1916, the northern part of downtown Grand Forks had become home to a number of garages and auto repair businesses. Their location at the edge of the commercial district downtown was convenient because it provided access to travelers on the Meridean Highway and the U.S. Route 2. Travelers stopping in Grand Forks could get their vehicles serviced or park their cars over in one of the several garages in the area. Grand Forks residents could purchase their vehicles in this neighborhood as well, and Lyon’s Garage sold some rather more obscure brands – including the humorously named Hupmobile – across the street from the Oldsmobile dealer. To the northeast of Lyon’s stood the Norther Pacific passenger depot and to the southwest was the Great Northern railway siding in town. In other words, Lyon’s Garage stood amid a network of roads and rail connection linking Grand Forks to the rest of the nation.

    The decision to tear down Lyon’s Garage speaks a bit to how we current view the history of Grand Forks. There is no doubt that a light industrial outfit like Lyon’s fits awkwardly within the developing plans for the city. The emphasis on making downtown Grand Forks a walkable city with street level shopping and higher density residential space makes the rather single-story buildings with generous set backs rather less efficient uses of space. In fact, most efforts to promote new urbanism frown on the inefficient use of space associated with downtown car dealerships, even though they were a regular feature in mid-20th century communities (See for example, the efforts to move Select Ford from downtown Williston, North Dakota.) The effort to reimagine downtowns remain steadfastly nostalgic, however, even as they overwrite part of the urban past in the name of new urbanism. The loss of Lyon’s Garage – and the closing of Odin’s Service Station on Belmont – mark two of the older, and continuously functioning, monuments to Grand Forks automotive past. The automobile and Grand Forks developed more or less simultaneously and even today single family homes and tidy neighborhoods extend north and south along the thoroughfares that follow the line of the old Meridian highway. In effect, Grand Forks was designed for sprawl and suburbanization. The disappearance of Lyon’s Garage (and possibly Odin’s!) erases some of the historical monuments that defined the early-20th century character of Grand Forks. 

    It’s interesting to think of places like Lyon’s Garage as an expression of the tension between Grand Forks as a “logistics city” that supported the regional and national flow of material through its borders and Grand Forks as a central place that privileges residents over participation in the global supply chain. The auto district of Grand Forks, served the movement of people and goods through our community (as well as residents).

    More than that, it embedded the mechanics of Grand Forks as a logistics city in its urban fabric. The rail lines, auto district, warehouses, and boarding houses that characterized the northern and western parts of downtown created opportunities for genuine mixed use development. Over the past decade, however, many of the older light industrial sites in Grand Forks have moved further outside the city, in part to take advantage more, cheaper space and better connections to rail and the interstate. This shift to industrial activity outside the city itself, however, impacts downtown as it transforms the diverse environment supported by genuine mixed use urbanism into a more homogenized space of commercial, retail, and residential. In fact, the absence of light industrial activities in the urban core may well mitigate against a certain amount of economic diversity as these installations likely syncopated the spread of higher rent and high cost development that would ensure both space for less well-heeled operations and moderated the expense of downtown living. The risk of a downtown built on higher cost residential, white collar commercial, and retail and service is that the folks who work in those street level retail outlets and in the service industry can’t live downtown. As a result, they have to drive to work in the walkable urban core.  

    As a brief coda to an admitted rambling post, I was struck by the rise of new businesses in town that have adopted the formal character of the garage. Sickie’s Garage for example, is a burger place that initial built a garage-like building well outside of downtown before moving into a restaurant space in East Grand Forks that they have decorated to look a bit like a garage. Vinyl Taco, another new eatery – uses garage doors to open their restaurant to the outdoors during the three or four weeks a year which this is desirable. While, I’d be loath to suggest that a place like Lyon’s Garage or Odins become local “bar ’n’ grills,” but they stand as nice example of our nostalgia for these kinds of light industrial landscapes. The visible presence of brewing equipment in both of the downtown breweries similarly evokes and tempers urban industrial landscapes making them safe for upscale retail and service. All this both reminds us of a more dynamic urban past while keeping the smells, working class people, and noise of real industrial work at a distance. It’s a local version of the famed Meat-Packing and Garment districts of New York City.

    All this is to say that it will be a bit sad to see Lyon’s Garage disappear. It’s not that it was such a remarkable building or that I even patronized the business (I did, however, got to Odin’s regularly), but I do appreciate what that kind of business stood for in a town like Grand Forks and wonder whether our walkable future would do a bit better to preserve the working class landscape of our city’s automobile past. 

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    Scholars in Press: An interview with Daniel Rodriguez

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    On December 12, 2018, the ACCG asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its forfeiture case.  Specifically, the Guild has requested the Supreme Court to consider the following questions for review:


                This case arises from the civil forfeiture of ancient Cypriot and Chinese coins under the Cultural Property Implementation Act (“CPIA”), 19 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. The coins are of types that appear on “designated lists” subject to import restrictions.  Congress limited the reach of such import restrictions to archaeological objects “first discovered within” and “subject to export control by” a specific State Party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention, and further placed the burden of proof on the Government to establish that such designated material was listed in accordance with these criteria.  19 U.S.C. §§ 2601, 2604, 2610. Congress also ensured such import restrictions are entirely prospective.  They only apply to designated archaeological material illicitly exported from the State Party after the effective date of the implementing regulations.  Id. § 2606.  The questions presented are:

    1.         Did the courts below violate the Guild’s 5th Amendment Due Process Rights when they authorized the forfeiture of the Guild’s private property without any showing that the Guild’s coins were illicitly exported from Cyprus or China after the effective date of import restrictions?

    2.         In a civil forfeiture action implicating the Guild’s 5th Amendment Due Process Rights, did a prior decision upholding import restrictions under a highly deferential ultra vires standard of review “foreclose” consideration of legislative history, judicial admissions, and other  information relevant to the Government’s burden of proof?

    The Guild's Petition for Certiorari in its entirety can be found here

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  • 12/18/18--11:30: Theosis for Dummies
  • I recently posted a link to my co-authored essay on “Theosis and Theological Anthropology.”  In that essay, I extended my work on theosis and Paul to focus on the later theological appropriations of theosis in Maximus the Confessor (with regard to Christology) and T.F. Torrance (with regard to the Trinity).  Being that that essay is still rather academic, I got a request to put the cookies on the lower shelf.

    As a follow-up to that essay, I wrote a short piece for a blog that summarized the key biblical points: “‘Man as a God in Ruins’: Theosis in the Christian Tradition.” Using Psalm 82 as a lens on deification, I walk through the key ideas that undergird patristic views on theosis. The Bible is itself a witness to humans/believers being called ‘gods’, and I briefly walk through what that terminology entails through key biblical texts, in the OT and the NT (especially with the apostle Paul).

    Of course, if you want the longer version check out my book Christosis: Engaging Paul’s Soteriology with His Patristic Interpreterswhere I spell out the issues related to Paul and theosis in excruciating detail. : )

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    WARSAW, POLAND—Science in Poland reports that researchers led by Jacek Tomczyk of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University have reexamined 8,000-year-old bones that were unearthed in the 1950s near the Narew River with electron microscopy and computed tomography. The bones are believed to be the remains of a male hunter. It had been previously thought that the man’s damaged skull showed signs of cannibalism, but the new study suggests he actually lived for seven or eight days after being struck on the front of the head with a sharp tool. “It turns out that the damaged skull shows traces of healing that cannot be seen with the naked eye,” Tomczyk said. The partial burning of the bones may have been part of a Mesolithic burial practice. For more, go to “Off the Grid: Krakow, Poland.”

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    Bolivia Tiwanaku PumapunkuBERKELEY, CALIFORNIA—According to a Gizmodoreport, archaeologist Alexei Vranich of the University of California, Berkeley, employed historical data, 3-D printed pieces, and architectural software to create a virtual reconstruction of Pumapunku, a ruined 1,500-year-old temple in western Bolivia. Built by the Tiwanaku culture between A.D. 500 and 1000, the temple was restored and reused by the Inca between A.D. 1300 and 1570, and described by Spanish conquistadors as a “wondrous” structure with “gateways and windows carved from single blocks.” Vranich and his team manipulated architectural fragments of the structure, re-created with a 3-D printer at four percent of their actual size, to build a hypothetical model, and then fed that information into architectural software. “What we found out is that it appears they were making prototypes for each type of stone type, and then would have copied one after the other,” he said. “It’s almost like it was a pre-Columbian version of Ikea.” Vranich’s reconstruction also suggests the temple’s gateways were built in graduated sizes to produce a mirror effect. “It would create an effect as if you were looking into infinity in the confines of a single room,” he said. For more, go to “The Water Temple of Inca-Caranqui.”

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    Reef fish species at the extremes of the food chain--those that are strict herbivores or strict fish predators--evolve faster than fish species in the middle of the food chain with a more varied diet, according to a new study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Reef fish [Credit: University of Tennessee at Knoxville]The paper, co-authored by Samuel Borstein, a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology,...

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    New research by scientists at the University of Toronto (U of T) offers novel insights into why and how wind-pollinated plants have evolved from insect-pollinated ancestors. Fly pollinator visiting a female flower of Thalictrum pubescens (tall meadow-rue). Females of this species  produce stamens with sterile pollen grains, presumably to reward pollinators [Credit: David Timerman]Early seed plants depended on wind to carry...

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