Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cactus Hill Site, Virginia

The Cactus Hill site in southern Virginia is often mentioned as an important candidate for a pre-Clovis site. I visited the site in late 2001 when the Fairfax County (Virginia) archaeologist was excavating there. (I think his name was Michael Johnson. I lived in Fairfax County at the time, and he was very kind and professional.) I was accompanied by Timothy Beach, a geoarchaeologist from Georgetown; Sheryl Luzzadder Beach, a hydrologist and geographer from George Mason University; Kevin Pope, another geoarchaeologist; and Walter Witschey, then Director of the Science Museum of Virginia (now he's at Longwood University). Walter brought with him the director of a science museum in northern Europe (Finland? Norway?). We took the trip shortly after 9/11 and this European gentleman, who had been visiting Walter's museum, was trapped in the U.S. because air travel had been canceled after the terrorist attacks. With typical grace, Walter took the man home and settled him in the guest room.

Michael Johnson's excavations at Cactus Hill appeared to be very meticulous. You can see the individual artifacts marked with film canisters.

Unfortunately, you can see in the photos that the stratigraphy is poorly defined. The site is buried in an ancient sand dune. The sand is pretty heavily leached, obscuring the definition of the strata.

When I was there, someone--not Johnson--had excavated long trenches across the site with a backhoe, destroying parts of the site. This was sad because even if the site is not pre-Clovis, it defintiely has a major Clovis occupation, making it significant by any definition.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Correlated Walks down the Babylonian Markets

Last week, we had a paper on econophysics accepted in European Physics Letters. The paper is entitled "Correlated Walks down the Babylonian Markets," and the authors (in order) are Natalia E. Romero, Qianli D. Y. Ma, Larry S. Liebovitch, Clifford T. Brown, and Plamen Ch. Ivanov. Look for it soon. The journal seems to publish their papers promptly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Book on Fractal Analysis for Social Scientists

My friend Larry Liebovitch and I have written a small monograph entitled Fractal Analysis, and I'm pleased to announce that is coming out this week. Sage Press published the volume in their well known Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences series.

Here's what the back cover says:
A specialized presentation of fractal analysis oriented to the social sciences

This primer uses straightforward language to give the reader step-by-step instructions for identifying and analyzing fractal patterns and the social process that make them. By making fractals accessible to the social science students, this book has a significant impact on the understanding of human behavior and the patterns that people create.

Key Features
  • Detailed examples help readers learn and understand the analytical methods presented.
  • Matlab codes for programs allow the user to implement some of the techniques described in the text on their own.
  • Clear and logical explanations of fractals and their analysis enable the instructor to easily teach and student to learn about fractals.
This is the only book designed to introduce fractal analysis to a general social science audience.

I should add that we selected examples from many different fields of social science so that social researchers of all kinds could appreciate the relevance of fractal geometry to their work. We even managed to include a few examples from the obscure discipline of archaeology.

Click on the picture of the cover or the title of this post to go to the publisher's web site.