Rolling the Dice in Uncertain Times

As I write, lead news stories are no longer about the growing severity of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but rather debates about “reopening” the economy. In the US, different states have taken varying approaches, with protests, demonstrations, pleas, and public service announcements against all of them. Media outlets frequently refer to easing of restrictions where infection rates have not declined as a “gamble” or even “rolling the dice.”

An Easter Ritual Figurine of Unknown Function

Happy Easter to all! Since this is probably (and hopefully) the weirdest Easter of our lifetime, Ancient Dan has decided to embrace it and present this unusual archaeological artifact to readers for review. While the object is clearly somehow related to Easter celebrations, I am aware of no exact parallel. Therefore, I will refer to … Continue reading An Easter Ritual Figurine of Unknown Function

Seeking Answers to an Unknown Future in the Distant Past

One of the mixed blessings of being human is the ability to formulate thoughts and make strategic decisions in response to circumstances rather than just react in an innate way. The “curse” aspect of this trait is the frustration of not knowing the future. We realize—often too late—that our plans may be thwarted by unforeseen … Continue reading Seeking Answers to an Unknown Future in the Distant Past

Life, B.C. (Before Charmin): Toilet Practices in the Roman World (Or “How I Learned to Love the COVID-19 Toilet Paper Crisis”)

In these extraordinary times, it is hard to know where the world is going. But, as the children’s book title proclaims, Everyone Poops, so the world has to go somewhere. Apparently, this is innate knowledge to judge from the panic buying and hoarding of toilet paper (or “rolls” for the UK audience). But (pun possibly … Continue reading Life, B.C. (Before Charmin): Toilet Practices in the Roman World (Or “How I Learned to Love the COVID-19 Toilet Paper Crisis”)