Four Stone Hearth is the anthropology blog carnival. It owes its origin* to Martin Rundkvist of Aardvarchaeology, who administered the site for four years before passing the torch to Afarensis Martin Rundkvist of Aardvarachaeology, Kambiz Kurani of, and Afarensis. The Hominin requested a temporary host a few months ago while he dealt with some health problems, and I volunteered—and the job sort of stuck.

But the carnival has sort of languished recently. Interest has been low despite a few recent rallying attempts, and after polling the anthropology community, some changes were made to make the carnival a bit more media friendly:

Will it be enough? Time will tell. We may have to close up shop on this endeavor for good depending on interest over the next few months. We need hosts for November and December (and beyond). If you're interested, please drop me a line using this page. The process is a simple one. You contact me for hosting duties, a CFP gets posted on the website, you collect submissions (or select notable posts from around the web), and you write a post linking to the writing you'd like to share. You can be as creative or as straightforward as you would like to be. Simple right? But it only works if the anthropology community is interested ...

In the meantime, here is a look at new and recent discussions in anthropology around the web:

  • At Powered By Osteons, Kristina Killgrove tackles Witches and Prostitution in Medieval Tuscany: "The other burial, they suggest, may have been that of a witch. Her skeleton revealed that she was about 25-30 years old at the time of her death. She was likely buried directly in the ground without any casket, but additional details reveal a rather aggressive burial treatment for this woman. Seven curved nails, each about 4cm long, were found in her mouth. In addition, 13 more nails were found in an outline around her body, which the archaeologists suggest reflect her being nailed to the ground by her clothing. Alfonso Forgione, an archaeologist on the project, uses the term "revenant" to describe what the community may have been trying to prevent in their burial of this woman."

  • At The Gambler's House, teofilo talks about The Mysterious Mimbres: "The Mimbres are best known for their pottery, some of which features elaborately painted naturalistic designs unlike anything else known from the prehistoric Southwest. This pottery was painted with black paint on a white slip, as was Anasazi pottery from Chaco and other areas at the time, and many of the abstract geometrical designs that form the bulk of the decorated pottery are reminiscent of Anasazi styles. There’s no equivalent among the Anasazi to the naturalistic designs, however, which show elaborately detailed people, animals, possible mythical scenes, and much else."

  • Blogging at Cognition and Culture, Pascal Boyer asks Why Are Human Beings So Interested in Explaining Misfortune?: "Why do people the world over think about misfortune, and construct elaborate theories to explain it? Here surely is one of your massive, elephant-in-the-room quasi-universals of culture, crying out for explanation, and (as usual) thoroughly neglected by standard social sciences. In all human groups, it seems, people notice and remember cases of misfortune, tally them, detect regularities – and most important, try to explain misfortune."

  • At Neuroanthropology, guest blogger Mark Flanagan tackles Mindfulness and Stress: "In American society, multi-tasking (especially mental multi-tasking) is a considered a requisite for everyday life and concentration on one single item is generally seen as un- or under-productive. The irony is, the more we take on, the less we seem to be able to accomplish."

  • In Barbara J King's recent guest feature on NPR, she connects Sex, Dancing, and Chaz Bono: "The practice of early, urgent, and secret surgical sex assignment in cases of intersexuality is no longer popular among physicians in this country. But sex is still socially constructed when people born male choose as adults to become female, or those born female choose to become male. The case of Chaz Bono tells us that enormous unease still exists in our society when individuals celebrate, rather than hide, that transformation."

  • At The Primate Diaries, Eric Michael Johnson continues the discussion on the link between commodities and unrest in Commodity Traitors: "Research now shows the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East this year were triggered by spikes in global food prices fueled by speculators betting on the price of agricultural commodities."

  • At Context and Variation, Kate Clancy investigates recent research revealing why Parenting Is Not Just for the Ladies: "Parenting, caring for offspring, and the work-life balance are issues usually relegated to women. There are many men who take care of their kids, and increasingly men in the US and other countries who invest at least as much or more than mothers, but these men are considered both outliers and, often, heroes. The biological imperative to parent, and the reproductive burden, is supposed to fall squarely on women, and it is only our wonderful cultural sensitivity broadening that perspective more recently."

I'm sure that there are a ton of other great posts out there that I haven't covered. If you know of one—even if you are the author—please drop a link below in the comments. And if you'd like to host, please let me know.


*Afarensis corrected the information concerning the carnival's origins, which I have updated accordingly.