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[Blog post] Skills Shortage! Or The Replicator’s Conceit

Today we’re reblogging from our friend, Dr Annemieke Milks. Mieke is an archeologists who thinks critically about the role of experience in the development of skill. Check out her blog ‘Sticks and Stones’ here.


Experimental archaeology has run as a thread throughout my postgraduate studies, and I’ve conducted a number of different types of experiments on Pleistocene hunting weapons. Something that was clear early on in designing my experiments is that we have a present-day skills shortage in terms of how humans used early hunting spears.

Once upon a time I was a professional violinist, and it always amused (read: annoyed) me when people assumed that being in a professional orchestra wasn’t that difficult. Typically it would be a middle-aged businessman joking at a post-concert dinner, but it also often arises in public commentary regarding orchestras on strike. I started violin at age 4, and practiced and rehearsed most days, building up to 3 to 5 hours per day during my teenage years, and significantly more at university. I probably under-practiced compared to many of my peers. Those years of study didn’t just involve…

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