Re: Dead men tell no tales?

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Posted by Michael Wendorf on April 26, 1999 at 10:46:32:

In Reply to: Dead men tell no tales? posted by Steve Price on April 26, 1999 at 09:38:49:

: Dear Marvin, et al.,

: You wrote: "Wow! That's quite a task: interpreting the intent of the dead? Can we really do that? Marvin"

: I think sometimes we can. Here's a little exercise:
: Q. Why did the (dead) pastoral nomads live in woolen houses?
: A. Because it was easier to transport than most other kinds of houses and besides, they had lots of wool.
: Q. Why did the (dead) pastoral nomads keep their stuff in woolen containers?
: A. More or less the same as the one above.
: Q. Why didn't the Turkmen make big woolen boxes, like the NW Persians did?
: A. Funny you should ask. I've been wondering about that, too.

: The first two demonstrate that we can make guesses about the intentions of people who are now dead, and feel pretty comfortable about the likelihood that those guesses are correct. We (I should say, "I") don't have a very good guess about the third, but the fact that the people are dead doesn't automatically make their intentions unguessable.

: Regards,

: Steve Price

Dear Steve:

Maybe the Turkmen did not make big woolen boxes the way the nomadic pastoralists did in NWP because they did not need to. Maybe the Turkmen were more sedentary in the 19th century and needed only objects to hold objects in and decorate the tent or a brigand's mount and the people living in NWP needed big woolen boxes that they made in pairs because such boxes or mafrash balanced on either side of a pack animal made their seasonal migrations easier.
One thing I am fairly certain of, neither the Turkmen nor the nomadic pastoralists living in NWP historically made items they had no use for.
Regards, Michael

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