50 Years of Publications, 500 Books, FREE from the Met

If there’s one thing I love more than finding a good book, it might be finding a good book for free. The Metropolitain Museum of Art has made over 500 titles available for free download.

A few that caught my eye (and might catch yours):

Primitive Technology: Forge Blower

I invented the Bow Blower, a combination of the bow drill and forge blower to make a device that can force air into a fire while being easy to construct from commonly occurring natural materials using only primitive technology. I began by fanning a fire with a piece of bark to increase its temperature. It is this basic principle I improved on throughout the project.

river of monks | gregfallis.com

Interesting…Des Moines as “the Monks” never quite settled with me. I look forward to learning more about this alternative explanation:

But there’s more. One of the first people to call the river by its European name was the French Jesuit missionary and explorer Jacques Marquette. He’d encountered natives of the Peoria tribe at the confluence of this river and the Mississippi. Asking about other tribes who inhabited the river basin, the local natives told Marquette this branch of the river was controlled by Mooyiinkweena. Marquette interpreted that as a local variation on ‘moingona.’ According to one linguist, however, mooyiinkweena actually meant ‘shit-face.’ The local tribe members had apparently been insulting their neighbors.

via river of monks | gregfallis.com.

Buried tree, more uncovered in Iowa’s mammoth mystery | Local News – KCCI Home

I love that this history (pre-history) is being unearthed so close to home.  I want to teach the kiddos to be excited about this type of news!


Buried tree, more uncovered in Iowa’s mammoth mystery | Local News – KCCI Home.

Grandeur Lost: The Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit | WebUrbanist

Detroit is arguably one of the most fascinating modern cities in the world. This is thanks to the city’s unique balance between its former identity as a manufacturing mecca and its current state of sectional abandonment and iterative renewal. It is neither deserted nor wholly occupied, but exists in tension between destruction, creation and everyday living, with beautiful stories on all of these fronts. French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre saw the abandoned parts of this compelling urban landscape as no less fascinating than the ruins of ancient civilizations and set out to document it in their 2010 book The Ruins of Detroit.

via Grandeur Lost: The Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit | WebUrbanist.

Indy Goes Geek: Laser Mapping Helps Archaeologists | Wired Science | Wired.com

Newish technology applied to the oldest of human investigation. It’s great to see the progression from eyes on the ground (looking for mounds/hills) in early archaeology to the introduction of the airplane and cartography to heat mapping and other more modern technologies to finding ancient settlements.

Indy Goes Geek: Laser Mapping Helps Archaeologists | Wired Science | Wired.com.

Woman and Infant Found Buried in Des Moines

Well, not recently and without foul play.

I suspect it’s because I don’t read the papers, but I’m glad to learn a year later that “the Palace,” a well preserved 7000 year old prehistoric settlement (with woman, infant, and housing foundations) was discovered a short drive from the old homestead:

“It’s always fun to find the oldest of something … but the real significance lies in how well-preserved it is,” State Archaeologist John Doershuk said. “This site is important because it was intensively occupied and very quickly river floods sealed the deposits and very quickly preserved items that otherwise could have been lost. It’s all about preservation context, and that’s what this site really has in abundance that other sites don’t.”

Read more at the Gazette.