Most People seem to agree that we cannot and do not want to go back to the past, but the reason given is often wrong; that time has moved on and what was can never be again. The truth is that we cannot go back to what we never left. Our home is the earth, our time the Pleistocene Ice Ages. The past is the formula for our being.
(Paul Shepard)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

love life idiots

  One of my favourite ways to enjoy rabbit is to make a tomato and bacon sauce. It produces a pretty cheap and very tasty meal, Rabbit is so lean that I have found one must add some fatty meat to it to make it taste better and to avoid feeling unsatiated.
ooh watch the salt!
 Anyhow we use tinned tomatoes  for convenience and cost, this is pretty much the only tinned food I eat. The tomatoes from Tesco come in old fashioned metal tins but I have noticed over the past year alot of products are now coming with a plastic sheathed tin. This is the BPA coating that the EU recently banned for use in baby products but that our wonderful NHS has declared safe.
  These tomatoes come from the "upmarket" supermarket Waitrose and part of the execrable "love life" range. You will of course immediately noticed that these tomatoes are marketed as healthy and feature the traffic light system telling customers that this product is "green" so go on stuff your face.  In addition to coming in a toxic can (but presumably as adults we devlop some organ or gland that can deal with BPA unlike when we were babies) these tomatoes have also inexplicably had sugar added to them.....
Yes that actually says SUGAR

This is a pretty much neutral food in the healthy choices section from a pretty decent supermarket...... so tell me why does anyone think that labelling is going to help with obesity epidemic???

Friday, 20 July 2012

sexist hunters

Many thanks to Dr McDougall for giving me a shape for this post, I have a languishing, mostly written piece on the paleolithic non-origins of hierarchy that I can't seem to get into shape to post up.
 I have long been working out a way to present my refutations of two more egregious and widely believed "facts" about Hunter gatherer societies. variations on " actually they eat mostly plants" or "women do most of the work/provide most of the food" or "maybe they should be called "gatherer hunters" etc.
 Here is the small portion I will be working with. it is so dense in assumptions, misunderstandings and if I am feeling generous downright lies that it is all I need to work with;

 “Primates, including humans, have practised hunting and gathering for millions of years. I know of no large populations of primates who have been strict vegans (ate no animal foods at all). However, plants have, with very few exceptions, provided the bulk of the calories for almost all primates. This truth has been unpopular in part because of a well-recognised human trait, sexism. Grandparents, women, and children did the gathering, while men hunted. Glory always goes to the hunters.”

 It is from a piece titled " The Paleo diet is uncivilised" which is at least true. It is quite an unfair article and as I have suspicions about the comments being filtered I won't supply a link.

Lets break this paragraph down it is one of the first paragraphs and is clearly an important one. Later paragraphs talk about meat being disgusting and cannibalism, from a doctor this is pretty shoddy stuff it reads like something a fruitarian would write!.
Primates, including humans, have practised hunting and gathering for millions of years yup that's true I know of no large populations of primates who have been strict vegans (ate no animal foods at all). vegetarian societies are also pretty hard to find the caveat strict is not required he could have written "there are no vegan primates". However, plants have, with very few exceptions, provided the bulk of the calories for almost all primates. yes, what's your point? If we are one of those exceptions (we are) then why would what other primates eat be relevant? It should be noted that McDougall argues strongly that starch consumption is the "natural" and healthiest human diet. Primates do not eat much in the way of starch especially roots.   This truth has been unpopular in part because of a well-recognised human trait, sexism hmmmm Grandparents, women, and children did the gathering, while men hunted. Glory always goes to the hunters.” well at least he admits that hunter gatherers actually became grandparents instead of dying at age 12. 
 The assumptions are; primates eat primarily vegetables  therefore so should we, that we should eat meat OR vegetables, men hunt exclusively and that the gathering of food or economic activity is the activity with the most worth to a society.
 The archaeological evidence is overwhelming that meat played a large part of the diet in our paleolithic ancestors rising to near carnivory in northern people during the ice age. Plant foods are more ephemeral in nature but must have been significant and indeed there is very good evidence for omnivory through all populations of hominids in all environments. While there are some specific examples of grains being utilised quite far back in prehistory it should be noted that the processing materials (huge stones) are rarely found and are considerably more archaeologically visible than bones or arrow heads etc.  In Europe querns are used as the definition of farming sites. Grains may have been consumed by some peoples in some areas but meat was consumed by everyone everywhere. We will never know the proportions of food eaten in the paleolithic, oh wait we will because we have the tooth isotopes which show that meat was at least as important if not more important than plant food, this simple truth is known to anyone who has "survived" on wild plants. Meat is so important to human primates that we have actually evolved to become better at eating it.
 Described hunter gatherers are usually omnivorous even in regions hostile to plant life.In the tropics by volume plants can make up well in excess of 50% of the diet but by calories meat makes up close to half. The proportion of plants drops off as latitude increases. The fluctuation and rather chaotic nature of hunter gatherer life means that actual quantities are hard to obtain but over the year it usually even out that men and women provide about half the calories consumed each. The main difference in productivity is with age, in both hunting and gathering age is the best correlator with foraging success. Duffy reports the old men among the Efe often spend alot of the afternoon hunting alone and are highly successful.
 The idea of the man the hunter is true to an extent in that men tend to hunt in general but in fact women hunt and men gather according to circumstance. Hadza men will gather baobab seeds if they return empty handed while most women with kill or pick up tortoises and other small game, Hadza women gather lots of bird eggs and baby birds. For the Mbuti Pygmies net hunting is conducted by both sexes. A friend of mine witnessed South American Indian women preparing a tortoise for cooking which she described as "harrowing"! Haida women are very active in salmon fishing.
 Women of the Hadza and San will also gang up and drive predators off of kills. The anthropological literature simply does not support a statement that men hunt while women gather though in general this would hold for most cultures.
 But even if it were true how would it be sexist? 

Monday, 2 July 2012

World atlatl day and the Prehistoric archery champs UK

 The howling winds screaming round my house now (2nd of July) will be bringing yet more rain tomorrow in the season we call "summer". However Wakan Tanka obviously loves the fact that we are slowly remembering the old ways of stick and stones (and spears) and granted us good weather for the PAAS (prehistoric archery and atlatl society) Prehistoric archery championship 2012 and World Atlatl day.
Mr Medlock
 World atlatl day was hosted by Steve Medlock in Dawn Wood in Sussex. We assembled an elegantly sized team and were quite happy with the results. The event was held at the same time as some kind of lizard monster celebrated 70 years or so of oppresion and thieving from the British people which kept some folks away.
 The results were;


(from what has been turned in)


New York vs Pennsylvania - New York by default (no show Pa.)
Wyoming vs Texas - Wyoming 193 Texas 84
California vs New York - New York 185X California 184


Ohio 208
Wyoming 193
New York 185X
California 184
United Kingdom 156
Connecticut 141 (did 2 man teams)
Arizona 88X (did 5 man teams)
Texas 84

there are still results to come in but that is not such a bad showing from ol' blighty. You see we can do well (when no-one turns up).
Throw IT!
 There is a nucleus of a northern group of atlatl throwers based in the North West of England if you are interested in throwing contact me directly and I will pass your details on. It would be nice to get two UK teams for next year and have ISACs held in several British locations.
fire by friction at the champs
 The Prehistoric champs was the second time thsi popular event has been held at Magna Cart Field Archers. The atlatl made its usual distracting appearance and proved hugely popular yet again, we left many with the bug much thanks has to go to the fantastic Wayne Wells of New York state who came over to see us. His company was a complete delight and he was instrumental in giving excellent tuition on the atlatl range and being hugely supportive for those who wanted to know more. Food was yet again of the highest quality with plenty of game and assorted evil smelling liquors being passed around in the evening.
 The winners of the archery shoot were Brenda Boulton and Ian Watkins who went home with fantastic hand made (in the good way!) prizes donated by Jutta Stiller and David Sinfield.
 This very popuar event was sold out (again) and will hopefully continue to attract more of the wonderfully relaxed and skilled archers and bowyers present this year. Needless to say there is continued talk of an atlatl course and even contest for next year.

 The next ISAC is planned for the 22nd of July and I believe it is to be held at Dawn Wood. Obviously given that we live in a hurricane we can expect to get no practice in at all! Contact me for details of Northern meets and I will pass your details on.