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    On foot, by boat: Distribution methods of raw materials suitable for lithics in Central Europe in c. 4900-3400 BCE

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    Thanks to long-term efforts to identify the stone raw materials of Neolithic lithics, a dataset of the proportional raw material composition at Neolithic settlements for the eastern part of Bohemia and the Morava River Basin in Central Europe has been created, which can be analysed in the period c. 4900-3400 BCE The focus of this study is on four issues: (1) the chronological evolution of the mode of distribution of the raw materials of lithics and its relation to settlement dynamics; (2) the relationship between the rate of imported raw materials and settlement density; (3) the importance of navigable rivers for the long-distance transport of raw materials; and (4) a comparison of the spatial distribution of stone raw materials and ‘archaeological cultures’. In terms of chronological variations in distributional structures, it is clear that population size was an important factor affecting extra-regional distribution, particularly when compared with settlement numbers and radiocarbon density. In contrast, settlement density was not a determinant of the occurrence of imported raw materials. Navigable rivers are an important factor in the transport of goods, which is represented in the archaeological record by stone raw materials. The most evident relationship between imported raw materials and navigable rivers is in c. 4800-4500 BCE. At the end of the period under study, the construction of fortified hillforts is a significant social phenomenon, which, despite the problematic find circumstances of lithics, suggests a change in the distribution pattern. The presence of archaeological cultures (ceramic style) cannot be an explanatory factor for the changes in the distribution of stone raw materials, as the changes in internal and extra-regional distribution are not related to its changes

    Diversity amongst Decision Makers?: Workplace Inequality, Black Underrepresentation, and the Afterlife of Colonialism in NHS Governance

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    Whereas senior management within NHS England was once so monocultural that it was dubbed the ‘snowy white peaks of the NHS’, recent data suggests that things have begun to change. However, Black staff in particular are still underrepresented. Interviews with Black and White NHS managers from four London trusts found that though the acronyms ‘BME’/‘BAME’ lack subtlety, management considered quantitative data important. The #BlackLivesMatter movement impacted NHS staff as a potential catalyst for change, though momentum fizzled out. Barriers to diversity and promotion have been seen to include microaggressions and negative stereotyping of Black staff. This article interrogates such underrepresentation, and uses the concept of ‘the afterlife of colonialism’ to suggest that NHS management hierarchies follow colonially-introduced hierarchies of ethnicity and discrimination, creating structural issues that are difficult to address. Taking a feminist framework of analysis, I will argue that diversity race work, including that of #BlackLivesMatter, is anti-hierarchical at its core, suggesting that it is difficult to assimilate within the hierarchically minded world of management. I will conclude that for ethnic diversity amongst staff to be realised, all staff must be committed to supporting this agenda, regardless of their race.&nbsp


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    EAR 38 No.1 Editoria

    Bàrdachd Baile – Ath-mheasadh

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    In the twentieth century, several prominent Gaelic scholars argued that nineteenth-century bàrdachd baile (‘township poetry’) was cliché-ridden, and therefore of limited literary merit. In reassessing such opinions, this article considers a representative sample of the poetry from two points of view. First, it demonstrates through close analysis that these local poets used a wide range of literary techniques to convey meaning and sentiment. Second – and perhaps more important – it shows how expressions which some have considered clichés are in fact vital to the effect of the poetry. The argument is informed by insights from the field of ethnopoetics, and by a detailed consideration of the imagery used. Finally, the author argues that proper evaluation of this poetry, much of it orally composed and transmitted in a society in which the oral traditions were still strong, requires different aesthetic criteria from those applied to poetry that depends upon the written word

    Bio-imaginaries: ‘Biologics’, Bricolage, and the Making of Pharmaceutical Knowledge

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    What does it mean when pharmaceuticals are called ‘biologics’? This article follows a pregnant person who has been hospitalised on a Norwegian rheumatology ward after being taken off her monoclonal antibody (mab) medication. She is painfully trapped in a crisis that is medical and existential, but also epistemological. Weighing the debilitating consequences of her disease against concerns about pharmaceutical risks for herself and her unborn child, she creates and adapts her own knowledge of mabs as ‘biologics’. Far from being passively receptive, she thus becomes part of a complex project of semantics where analogies and oppositions of biologic and chemical, natural and man-made, health and unhealth work to render some knowledge plausible and some implausible. Placing the individual and the pharmaceutical label at the centre of this semantic economy, the article suggests that pharmaceutical labels play an important albeit unacknowledged role in the making of pharmaceuticals as safe and efficacious

    Relations as Immunity: Building Community Resilience

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    Resilience—a term that originated in mathematical ecology—now commonly refers to the ability to thrive in the face of trauma and adversity. This Position Piece reflects on both the charisma and political lability of resilience in the early 21st century. On the one hand, resilience is easily compatible with neoliberal discourses that demand that individuals protect themselves in the absence of state or community support. On the other hand, resilience can be an important corrective to narratives about the damage caused by trauma, focusing attention on our innate ability to heal. We argue that the ambivalence of resilience requires theoretical and empirical attention to both the wider appeal of the term and the situated definitions deployed by diverse actors. In particular, we look at the rise of the term ‘community resilience’ popularised by academics, community leaders, and activists, which seeks to avoid the pitfalls of the neoliberal definition of resilience and argues that strong interpersonal relationships can support health equity. Despite the ambivalence of resilience, we find “community resilience” to be promising in a time when collective visions of health and immunity are desperately needed

    The Last of the Great Auks: Oral History and Ritual Killings at St Kilda

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    The story of the killing of the ‘last’ great auk (Pinguinus impennis) in Britain, apparently put to death as a witch at Stac an Armin in the St Kilda archipelago c. 1840, is well known. However, other accounts claim that an auk was killed on the main island, Hirta, having been condemned to death by the celebrated men’s ‘parliament’. The historical veracity of three differing stories, which recount discreditable deeds in a deeply Christian community, is evaluated; it seems that fewest difficulties are raised if two great auks were killed, one on Hirta and the other on Stac an Armin. It is argued that this kind of avicide was a ‘ritual’ killing, to be understood in its historical context. The auk-killing probably took place in the mid to late 1840s, after the St Kilda minister had departed in the wake of the Disruption of 1843 - a particularly unsettling time within this small island community. A possible sighting of a pair of great auks on Soay (St Kilda) in 1890 is also briefly discussed

    Connecting arrowheads: Differential transmission of information at the dawn of the Bronze Age

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    The study of the relationships between prehistoric social groups is one of the main targets in present day archaeology. A useful tool to entangle this issue is social network analysis (SNA). Some of the advantages brought by this mathematic approach refer to the possibility of studying relationships through the material culture items, or its capability to integrate different scales of analysis (macro-micro). Moreover, SNA combined with the application of bayesian statistical methods of chronological attribution can create long range diachronic series of relational information, connected with prehistoric social groups dynamics. This methodology enables archaeologists to study archaeological big data from a totally different perspective, not only focused on a descriptive or morphometric point of view. The objective of this work is to apply an SNA procedure, together with a recently developed bayesian tool of chronological attribution, to archaeological sites located in the East of the Iberian Peninsula during the 4th and 3rd millennium cal. BCE using chert arrowheads as an archaeological proxy, due to the chronologic implications their morphology has, in the referred geographic frame. It is our specific target to analyse the transition between the Bell-Beaker world and the Bronze Age, through the differential transmission of information and the time-space variability present in the archaeological record, through the study of relationships between chert arrowheads assemblages. In order to do so, we will build a relational framework between the social communities present in the Late Neolithic-Copper Age through the chert arrowheads morphologic typologies, and we will apply SNA to characterize the resulting networks. Furthermore, we will propose a new metric to quantify the cultural fragmentation using community detection algorithms, in a diachronic axis, to identify groups of sites with homogeneous technological behaviour, to check the initial hypothesis which points to the existence of periods of cultural homogeneity followed by others in which fragmentation-regionalization is dominant

    Mapping Microbial Selves: Field Notes from a Dirty Parenting Project

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    Microbes exist everywhere on, in and around us. They are both ubiquitous and largely invisible, at least until they make their presence, or absence, felt. Recent years have seen a heightened sensitivity to microbial threats in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread concerns about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to antibiotics. At the same time, there is also a growing interest in the microbiome as a source of ‘wild immunology’. From this viewpoint, the human body is comprised of, embedded within, and dependent on its exposure to an ecosystem of microbes, and the absence of such exposure is linked to the development of auto-immune conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Inspired by an emerging body of work in the humanities and social sciences which looks to engage with so-called lay knowledge and understandings of microbial forms (including bacteria, viruses, and fungi) and processes (such as contagion or digestion), this Field Note explores the piloting of ‘body mapping’ as a research method to engage with families to explore their collective understanding of their children’s microbiome

    Synergies: The Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology, MAT, and a Shared Vision

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    Editorial for the April issue, 2024


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