Common people: the New Forest women following ancient tradition | Environment

A five-inch stack of old Telegraph newspapers is perched on the front seat of the bashed-up Subaru, while in the back is a long stick for fending off cows. At the wheel is Ann Sevier, a 13th generation commoner whose family has lived in the New Forest since 1650.

“Hello everybody!” she yells to the livestock as she pulls up in the car. We are in Latchmore valley near Fordingbridge, where more than a hundred cows and horses have gathered in the cool breeze that tumbles off the surrounding hills, providing respite from biting insects (behaviour known locally as “shading”). It resembles a congregation of animals you might see around a waterhole, except the horses have letters branded on their backs.

The ponies are excited by our arrival, particularly one male who mounts another behind the car. The abundance of poo and tightly-grazed grass suggests this is a popular haunt. Livestock from four miles around come to stand in this cool valley during the summer months. “They’ve been doing that all my life and all my father’s life. They’ve probably been doing that since the last ice age. It’s just a question of knowing the land,” says Sevier.

In the evening, once the insects have quietened down, the livestock will move back up the hills to take advantage of the longer grass and graze into the night. This large-scale movement of herbivores is replicated in many valleys over the 219 sq miles (566 sq kms) of the New Forest national park, creating a scruffy mosaic of habitats. Free-roaming herbivores are ecological architects, and beyond the modern pressures of rising house prices, people leaving litter, and debates about over-grazing, this is a farming system that has changed little in 1,000 years.

The New Forest is lowland heathland, a landscape created by people constantly using the land for grazing and removing things like bracken for bedding and wood for construction. These materials are no longer valuable so lots of lowland heathland has become overgrown or been developed on – around 80% of the UK’s lowland heathland has been lost in the past 200 years. The New Forest – home to Dartford warblers, nightjars, woodlarks and curlews – is one of the last remaining strongholds of heathland habitats in the UK.

‘There are no books on it. I’ve had to learn to read the landscape’: Gale Gould.



‘There are no books on it. I’ve had to learn to read the landscape’: Gale Gould. Photograph: Peter Flude/The Guardian

Like livestock, people are also wedded to this land and knowledge is passed down through generations. The right to be a commoner is attached to land and not bloodlines (perhaps why so many are resistant to moving out) and there are 700 New Forest commoners, some of whom have up to 300 livestock. Old institutions protect these practices – the Verderers’ Court deals with those who break forest law (by trespassing, for example), and New Forest ponies are still sold in guineas.

Commoners have a right to pasture, mast (acorns in autumn) and fuelwood. The rights to marl (clay to improve agricultural

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Don’t Blame Gender Inequity On Our Ancestors, Ancient Women Were Big-Game Hunters Too

Archaeologists recently excavated the remains of a 9,000-year-old female who was buried with items that suggested she hunted big-game.  Since ancient big-game hunting had been perceived as a man’s job, the finding inspired researchers to dig deeper.  What they found may force us re-examine the way we think about present day gender differences.

Examining all excavations in the Americas from the late Pleistocene and early Holocene periods, the researchers found 27 individuals who had been buried with big-game hunting tools—a surprising 41% (11) were female and the remaining 59% (16) were male. They concluded that big-game hunting was likely a relatively equitable pursuit with respect to gender. In fact, statistical analysis revealed “between 30 and 50% female participation, suggesting that early big-game hunting was likely gender neutral or nearly so,” the researchers write.

Now that we’ve learned ancient females were big-game hunters, we can no longer blame our ancestors for some of the sex differences we have today.

Based on the assumption that ancient men dominated the big-game hunting world, psychologists have attributed a slew of present-day gender differences on this presumed difference in our ancient history. The argument basically says that since, in ancient times, successful hunters were more likely to survive than those who were less skilled, the human male evolved over thousands of years to have skills associated with successful hunting. Studies have asserted that, as a result, men are more likely to assume risk, are more competitive and are even better at navigation, all because their ancient male ancestors had to develop these skills to be successful hunters.  

One study even attributed men’s enhanced ability at certain Nintendo Wii video games to skills acquired from their hunting ancestors.  Another examined the shopping behavior of university students and concluded male students shop more like hunters, and female students shop more like gatherers.

Men’s enhanced spatial ability or the ability to picture and rotate objects in space has also been linked to ancient man’s greater participation in hunting. This enhanced spatial ability that men ostensibly acquired from their hunting ancestors has been used to explain contemporary sex differences in math skills.  Some have also asserted men’s history of bringing home the big game resulted in the present-day division of labor where men are stereotyped as family providers. 

As we try to lure more women and girls into STEM fields, arguments that suggest they will underperform in math because their ancestors didn’t hunt are clearly counterproductive. Similarly, evidence that women are genetically less likely to take risks or compete may make them seem less suited for business leadership. Stereotypes of men as providers may also contribute to the gender pay gap. Now, evidence that women were also big-game hunters suggests that there must be an alternative explanation for these sex differences, perhaps one easier to address than evolution.

Lead author on the current study, archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, Randy

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The Wedding-Guest Frame Story in Coleridge’s "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

One thing we learned about literature while completing the PhD is that the frame story matters. You know what I’m talking about even though you probably haven’t thought of it. It’s the story that comes at the beginning and end of the narrative itself. It frames it. Like in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness when Marlowe is on the boat saying “this, too, was one of the dark places of the earth.” Then Marlowe launches into the story of his time in Africa. That frame story is mightily important and helps explain everything about the novel. That’s right: the frame story contains the clue to the entire narrative.

So if you have to write an essay on any work of literature, consider the frame story and try to figure out why it’s there and whether it contains the theme of the entire work. As an example, let’s look at Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” You remember the plot of this narrative poem, I hope. It’s the one where the ship is visited by an albatross, but then the narrator, the Ancient Mariner, kills the albatross for no reason. Then the ship hits some doldrums, is visited by a ghost ship with Death and Life-in-Death. Everyone dies except for the Ancient Mariner himself, and he is taken back to England, where he learns that all of God’s creatures are important, both “great and small.”

It’s a great supernatural tale, no doubt, but there’s this weird frame story about a Wedding-Guest. It’s so important, though. The Ancient Mariner is forced to tell his tale to certain individuals. In fact, “That moment when his face I see, / I know the man that must hear me: / To him my tale I teach.” The Ancient Mariner’s rime is more than merely a story; it’s a lesson, a parable, a lecture. After all, he teaches those that need to hear him. And this particular Wedding-Guest needs to hear him.

The Wedding-Guest is literally that, a wedding guest. He is about to go in and enjoy the wedding celebration when the Ancient Mariner stops him and holds him spellbound while he teaches him this important lesson. Notice what the Wedding-Guest tells the Ancient Mariner: “The Bridgroom’s doors are opened wide, /And I am next of kin; / The guests are met, the feast is set: / May’st hear the merry din.” The Wedding-Guest wants to go party with everyone else! That’s all he cares about. He doesn’t care about the wedding itself; he just wants to party with them. This Wedding-Guest has missed the point of the wedding, though. A wedding was supposed to be a mirror of Christ’s relationship to the church, not just an excuse to party. But this guy doesn’t get that. He doesn’t even mention the wedding, just the party.

At the end, however, his tune has changed. After hearing the Ancient Mariner’s tale of woe and redemption, he no longer even wishes to go to the …

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Scriptio Continua: Ancient Latin Writing Style to Modern Computer Language

Archeologists and historians claim that the early Sumerians in ancient Mesopotamia invented some of the earliest form of writing using wedged shaped characters into small clay tablets known as “cuneiform” as a form of communicating circa 3200 BCE. What they can’t completely prove is if cuneiform influenced a written style of communication one hundred years later among the Egyptian hieroglyphs and Chinese who used pictographs two thousand years later. While Sumerians were developing their written language, the Phoenicians created the first alphabet made up of 22 distinct characters that influenced the way most other ancient civilizations wrote, even though other cultures used forms of drawing pictures to communicate ideas. Roman civilization borrowed a form of alphabet that flourished and even today it has become known as our alphabet in most Western countries.

Numerous cultures in the distant past employed a quirky method of writing called “scriptio continua”, or “scriptura continua”. Both terms are Latin for “continuous script”, or writing without spaces between letters and words in capital letters. Ancient Greeks employed this same script as did the ancient Romans who wrote in all capital letters on parchment or stone monuments. The style also lacked punctuation, accent marks and small letters – none of which had yet been developed. However, the farther back in time we go, the oldest Latin and Greek inscriptions used word dividers, which appeared to be dots called “interpuncta” to separate words in sentences; however, pure scriptio continua without interpuncta thrived primarily in Classical Greek (400 to 500 BCE) and Classical Latin (100 BCE-300 AD) when both empires were at the height of power.

The Romans adopted this writing style from the Etruscans – the previous tribe that inhabited Italy, who lived long before Rome became a dominant world power. In fact, many ancient people communicated in more primitive ways such as pictures. Since the Etruscan alphabet was limited, they used fewer letters which were only capitalized when written. Later, the Romans modified their alphabet with small letters, punctuation and breaks between words, which the Western world recognizes today.

An example In English, written using scriptio continua resembled this: THEHISTORYOFTHEUNITEDSTATESGOESBACKMORETHANFOURCENTURIES which reads, “The history of the United States goes back more than four centuries.” Obviously, this sentence looks cumbersome and somewhat hard to read, but writing in scriptio continua had several advantages. Roman scribes saved expensive ink and papyrus, as well as the stone on which they engraved their language. Also it saved space for more words and extending ideas. The greatest requirement for Roman scribes was to be thoroughly acquainted with their alphabet in capital letters, simplifying the writing process for them.

Eventually, scribes in Europe who copied ancient Latin manuscripts began spacing between words while using small or “minuscule” letters emerged in Ireland in the 7th to 8th centuries A.D. Carolingian period of France in the 9th century A.D. At the same time, German scribes began writing in the same manner. Of course, today, writing in Western civilization followed the same pattern which is a …

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Ancient Beauty Secrets: The Beauty Staple of Cleopatra and Helen of Troy You Can Start Using Now

Apple cider vinegar was used by both Cleopatra and Helen of Troy as a facial toner. It is a skin renewal, acting as a natural exfoliate. It balances and restores the skins PH and is an antibacterial-which makes it a great acne inhibitor.

PH balanced skin makes a huge difference in the health of your skin. When your skin is PH balanced, bacteria, acne and clogged pores simply cannot occur. The malic acid in Apple cider vinegar smooths out the skin and also helps to reduce wrinkles.

HOW: To get the benefits of this ancient beauty regimen try your hand at an apple cider vinegar based facial toner. If you don't want to purchase a beauty enhanced facial toner you can simply make your own basic toner by diluting quality apple cider vinegar with water.

To make a basic apple cider based facial toner take: 1 part raw organic apple cider vinegar to 2.5-3 parts distilled water (not spring), depending on your preference and simply dab or spay on your face after washing daily. Let it dry and then apply your moisturizer as usual. Shake well before each use and store in a dark cool place. This should last up to one month.

TIP: Apple cider vinegar has been toted as an effective acne treatment for some time. It is even known to reduce or even eliminate the exasperation and formation of acne within a few days.

Natural plant-based body care vs. traditional chemical-laden products:

Natural body care is a powerful tool if you choose to use it. Sometimes, the most simple plant-based ingredients are all we need to resolve many of the skin issues we incur.

Plant-based ingredients contain antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients that make them a powerful non-toxic way to obtain and maintain healthy, beautiful skin and have been used by ancient cultures for thousands of years-because they work.

Why are so many body care products plagued by un-natural chemicals?

The cosmetics industry as a whole has very little regulation. This means, they can use almost any chemical, toxic or not, just as long as they are not in large amounts and will purposely harm consumers after a few uses-this is why the long-term use of these products is a concern for many people. These chemicals-such as sulfates and parabens-preserve the product and create the lather, consistency, coloring and fragrance that consumers have come to expect-they're also cheaper than plant-based alternatives.

Source Article

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History and Clothing in Ancient Japan

Japanese history includes alternating periods of isolation and revolutionary influences from the rest of the world. As early as the Jomon period from about 14000BC to 300 BC, Japan had a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; wooden stilt houses, pit dwelling, and agriculture. Weaving was still unknown and the ancient Japanese clothing consisted of fur. However, some of the world's oldest pottery is found in Japan, along with daggers, jade, combs made form shell and clay figures.

The period thereafter to 250 BC saw the influx of new practices like weaving, rice sowing, iron and bronze making influenced by china and korea. Chinese travelers describe the men 'with braided hair, tattooing and women with large, single-piece clothing.' Initially ancient Japanese clothing consisted of single piece clothing. The ancient and classical Japan begins from the middle of the 3rd century to 710. An advanced agricultural and militaristic culture defines this period. By 645, Japan rapidly adopted Chinese practices and reorganized its penal code.

The peak period of ancient Japan and its imperial court is from 794 to 1185. Art, poetry, literature and trade expeditions continued with vigor. Warlords and powerful regional families ruled ancient Japan from 1185 to 1333 and the emperor was just a figure head. By the Japanese Middle Ages, Portugal had introduced firearms by a chance landing of their ship at Japanese coast; samurai charging ranks were cut down; trade with Netherlands, England and Spain had opened up new avenues. Several missionaries had entered Japan as well.

Distinct features of the lifestyle, ancient Japanese clothing and women is difficult to decipher for the simple reason that it is super-imposed by the Chinese culture. Ancient Japan readily adopted other cultures and practices and most of its own culture is lost among these adaptations.

Ancient Japanese clothing was mostly unisex, with differences being in colors, length and sleeves. A Kimono tied with an Obi or a sash around the waist was the general clothing and with the advent of western clothing are now mostly worn at home or special occasions. Women's obi in ancient Japanese clothing would mostly be elaborate and decorative. Some would be as long as 4meters and tied as a flower or a butterfly. Though a Yukata means a 'bath clothing', these were often worn in the summers as morning and evening gowns. Ancient Japanese clothing consisted of mena and women wearing Haori or narrow paneled jacket for special occasions such as marriages and feasts. These are worn over a kimono and tied with strings at the breast level.

The most interesting piece of ancient Japanese clothing is the ju-ni-hitoe or the 'twelve layers' adorned by ladies at the imperial court. It is multi-layered and very heavy and worn on a daily basis for centuries! The only change would be the thickness of the fabric and the number of layers depending on the season. Princesses still wear these on weddings.

Since the Japanese people don't wear footwear inside their homes, tabi is still worn. These are split -toe socks woven …

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Chinese and Japanese Ancient Clothing

The Chinese were always a fashionable race and Chinese ancient clothing was largely influenced by all the dynasties which ruled it. The Han Chinese clothing or the Hanfu has the longest history of clothes worn. The Hanfu rules of dressing were followed strictly as a mark of respect for the culture. On the other hand, ancient Japanese clothing kept changing with every dynasty that ruled Japan. Since the Kimono is a national dress, it has always been mistaken for very ancient clothing worn by the Japanese people which is incorrect.

The basic design of the Ancient Chinese clothing Hanfu was largely developed during the Shang Dynasty. The Shang had two basic styles – the Yi which was the coat worn on top and the Shang whichwas the skirt worn beneath it. Buttons on any ancient Chinese clothing was substituted by a Sash. The clothing was in warm tones. The Zhou dynasty in western China varied in the sleeves being narrow as well as broad. The length of the skirt varied from knee length to the ankle and the different sizes and styles created a distinction between the people who wore them. Ancient Chinese clothing used minimal stitching on the garment and the use of embroidery and silk sashes to design the dresses.

Japanese ancient clothing was majorly influenced by Chinese clothing. Vigorous trade between Japan and its continental neighbors brought in Chinese dresses and styles into Japan during the Han Dynasty. The Tang styles and Sui dynasty from China influenced clothing in Japan while it was developing from a collection of loose clans to an Empire. All robes in Japan were to be worn from left to right just like the Chinese. Right to left was considered barbaric in China and the 'left over right' became the conventional rule of wearing a Kimono ever since. During the Heian period (894 specifically), Chinese influence began dying out and Chinese characters began being abbreviated in Japanese script. The Heian court was taken to sensitivity of art and subtle beauty and wardrobe became much more detailed. Colors, combinations and fabric textures changed and separated themselves from Chinese influence.

After the Heian period, the Kamakura period saw a number of clashes and war clans within Japan. The ancient Japanese clothing soon underwent another change and now clothes became more functional. The number of layers and broad sleeved clothes were shunned for more usable clothing. Soon the imperial land split into a southern and northern court and these people lives got influenced by the soft court life. Fights resumed and the gradual decadence is obvious in the elaborate dresses of the period. Women had stopped wearing the Hakama and the robes were lengthened to ankle level. Veils and robes over the head were some strange ways experimented and worn during this time.

Japanese ancient clothing was mainly robes and most of the patterns and designs were religious and auspicious. Dragons were printed with nine yellow dragons and five cloud patterns. These heavily embroidered robes were …

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