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The real reason for Viking grave goods...


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I went to a small college that only offered engineering, math and science degrees.  For a lark, I took a class on anthropology.  It happened to be taught by a visiting professor who had never been to this particular college before.

 

There was a fair amount of culture clash between the anthropologist, and ~20 smart-alecky engineering students.

 

One day, very early in the term, the professor was explaining how it is hypothesized that homohabilis, or homoerectus (Or some people around then) were when early people started to have a concept of after life, or a circle of life.  When pushed on how that was possible to know, the prof told us it was primarily because people were buried in a fetal position.

 

All of us got quiet, and were giving each other strange glances to the extent that the prof stopped and said, "What?"  I piped up and said, "Wouldn't it be more plausible they were buried that way because you don't have to dig as big of a hole?"

 

We actually all got along very well after that, and it turned out to be one of the more interesting courses I ever took.

 

 

 

 

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Another puzzle solved by application of Ocham's Razor.

Edited by Joshua States
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And there we have the difference between anthropologists and archaeologists!  :lol:  Archaeologists always look for functionality first, and only resort to mysticism when we can't explain it within the limited framework of what we actually know.  Anthropologists usually go in the other direction. But don't tell my wife the anthropologist I said that...:ph34r:

Except she's a functional materialist too. ;)

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17 hours ago, Brian Dougherty said:

 

All of us got quiet, and were giving each other strange glances to the extent that the prof stopped and said, "What?"  I piped up and said, "Wouldn't it be more plausible they were buried that way because you don't have to dig as big of a hole?"

 

I'm a "mechanic" and honorary Vulcan, and I've been giving unpopular answers like this to "business" people for years........love this! :lol:

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

And there we have the difference between anthropologists and archaeologists! 

We actually talked about that in the class.  Engineers are supposed to come up with the simplest possible solution for a given circumstance.  Anthropologists tend to come up with the most elaborate hypothesis possible :)

 

It's been 30 years since I was in that class...

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