Review with notes and dialogue below.
“In October 2014 we sent twenty volunteers to a hunting reserve in Bulgaria to take part in a social experiment..”
“The aim: to survive eight weeks in the stone age without any twenty first century help…”
(Nb. See also Preview of 10,000 BC in note to my readers-posted 20th February 2015)
Review & thoughts on the first few episodes of 10,000 BC
So there is the reality show: 10,000 BC. Currently on UK TV Mondays and Tuesday nights. Very interesting.
As always with this type of reality programme like Bear Gryhillis-Island (written about here on this Blog) it becomes quickly clear from the viewers point of view and most likely the people taking part themselves: that there is a seriously dangerous back-log in terms of time regarding food supplies.
It seems so kind of the programme makers to have provided the people with “a few days supply of food” at first. Then you realise-as must the people taking part-that they really do not have the knowledge and indeed generations of teaching of the highly valuable and specific skills needed both to hunt and to survive.
Not everyone realises the urgency of the matter of food. Until its too late…
I was interested to hear the Archaeologist conjecturing about how neolithic people dealt with hygiene issues. Nobody knows apparently. As we watched, up close, the awful result of leaving meat out too long without cooking it and the plethora of maggots eggs growing on both meat and animal skins. Official ugh.
The Archaeologist has a special name which denotes that he is one of those Archaeologists who actively make neolithic tools and knows how to hunt. Specific to his speciality period of study.
However can I issue a plea or is it just me:
(and this is not a new phenomenon as I have noticed it in other supposedly documentary programmes on Archaeology and ancient times)
stop calling fire (or indeed any new invention or discovery) as Klint Junilus the Archaeologist does in 10,000 BC:
“a gateway technology”!
Fire is not a technology, Nor is fire a gateway technology. Fire is just fire. The word technology was not invented then. Call the discovery of fire a discovery or call it an invention if you must. But don’t call fire a technology.
This heinous sin of wordage is akin to calling writing an index in a notebook or sticking a piece of sticky tape on it’s binding:
“a notebook Hack”.
This is not a “hack”! This is just doing some very minor stuff, like writing in or sticking tape to your notebook..
“Gateway technology” in this case is just so wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. Stop post-historically and retroactively re-designing the description via words and thereby the very definition of history: by 21st Century standards.
(This severely misplaced subjectivity would seem, you would think, pretty important in the study of archaeology)
First few episodes.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.
“In October 2014 we sent 20 volunteers to a hunting reserve in Bulgaria to take part in a social experiment”
“Can 21st century people live like cavemen?”
“to survive eight weeks in the stone age”
“Without any twenty first century help”
“not everyone made it”
“Happened out there?”!
Volunteer to camera:
“You can’t undo thousands of years of evolution..”
“Six days ago twenty modern Britons entered the Stone Age…”
“A Stone age Archaeologist”
“Paul, lorry driver and amateur hunter”
The volunteers, mostly so far: have taken to the experience surprisingly well. Many of them have been on survival courses.
They have all been terribly British and stoical so far.
“I want to be that hunter gatherer,I want to be that 21st century caveman…”
Finally: someone walks in the stream bed in order to find the lake.
It does seem as if organisation and working as a team is probably as important a survival skill as anything else.
Klint Junilus, Stone Age Archeologist:
What they really need to be doing is strategising long term”
“This will maximise the statistical probability of them finding food”
No shit Sherlock.
More thoughts: on archaeology documentaries in general.
The language used by the Stone Age Archaeologist is is seriously annoying me. OK not really seriously. However this business-speak mixed with modern day themes and terminology is annoying. I thought Archaeology was meant to be a scientific subject. yet i am not wondering if archaeology is the new sociology. Of the 21st century.
I have noticed this odd tendency before in other avowedly documentary programmes about archaeology. In which one moment the archaeologist is describing actual finding which are facts. The next moment they have veered off inexplicably into a theme which is entirely subjective in origin and yet with which they proceed to fully explain historical artefacts.
This theme is a self-sufficient story in that the archaeologist clearly believes it to be an all encompassing explanation of the artefacts of the historical site. However this theme has all the hallmarks of the latest fashionable concept that as taught to the archaeologist. Presumably at University.
The trouble is that there is not enough scientific evidence for this entirely subjective extrapolation. They are making it up. They do not know any of this story to be true.
We do not know exactly why ancient peoples did things. Nor their motivation. We just don’t. These Documentaries are 10% facts and 90% supposition. So just stop presenting righteously right on modern day takes or suppositions: as facts.
When you start suspecting an actual archaeologist in a documentary of pushing a political agenda via a suspiciously over excited and aerated exclamation of the wonderful:
“technology” brought to Britain by the Beaker people: then things have really stopped being scientific.
Er yes. So the Beaker people apparently brought:
“exciting new technology to ancient Britain”
By introducing copper and beaker shaped vases. Which:
“revolutionised” Britain. But flint seemed like pretty good stuff.
May I point out that in that particular Documentary we were also told that a mile long “palisade” was (then) built outside Stonehenge.
“Separating the movement of peoples from East to West”.
And a man was shot/ arrowed to death in a temple. This was just after the Beaker people came.
Still, I digress.
Meanwhile back in the reality programme 10,000 BC it’s fairly obvious, as the archaeologist Klint Junilus said: that the volunteers need to be foraging daily. But they are not. it is unclear whey they decided, unwisely to my mind, to leave the burdock root in the ground. Which we were told were a complex source of carbohydrates and do not need two days of preparation like the acorns do.
“All they brought back from the lake is…ten crayfish and a mouse”
The fireman, Mike:
(you might not want to look as the mouse hangs by a bloody tail, skinless)
“I’m taking to this rather too well!”
some notes and dialogue on first watching.
“It’s late October..”
The tribe to each other:
“My hands are freezing!”
Winter has come early..
“the tribe’s new supplies are already running low..”
As one of the women shows off their pitiful hoard one does worry for their supplies for the winter.
Finally: sensible Alex has organised joint foraging.
“It’s about to get a lot worse…”
“Overnight,t he temperature has plummeted”
“and the mood in the camp is icy..”
(really? its not thought is it-you just made that bit up-didn’t you)
So then it snows.
“Jeez, man, no wonder the caveman died at thirty five!”
Klint Junilus-Stone Age Archaeologist:
“We are the product of thousands of years of people dying” (or something)
“The Mesolithic period, this would not have seemed such a severe change in temperature”
“The Mesolithic tribe, would know what to do, they would have the right clothes, the shelters were certainly sufficient..”
“But these, (the volunteers) do not know what to do..”
No shit Sherlock.
I am beginning to think that the people who left were better exercising their survival skills by leaving.
(cheerfully and seductively)
“It’s looking like they tribe might be near extinction…”
The Production team man: (rather sinisterly really)
“We have nice warm outdoor weather gear…”
“What are the risks?” (on the phone)
“Frostbite, hypothermia, cold nips..”
The voice-over is sounding self chastened now:
“Well there was four hours of snow..”
Production team man:
“Quite a lot could go wrong really”!
So I thought that Klint Junilus had the minor look of a mad scientist earlier. Now he is putting the tribe through a Mesolithic boot camp.
Now they or two of the men volunteers have branches tied to their heads.
Oh no. Klint takes the men outside to check out a boar. Behind the boot-camp restaurant. Klint is insane. But correct at the same time.
“I don’t know if they know what it’s like, to kill an animal, be right in front of a boar..”
“Is the number of seven suitable for a hunter gatherer group?”
“No, there is much work to be done!”
“It’s sort of like going to war!”
“We’re giving them a live rabbit..”
To the tribe:
“There’s your rations and this is part of your rations too”
I’m not looking.
One of Klint’s most important lessons was that of teamwork.
next few episodes.
some notes and dialogue on first watching.
“This time, Mike and Paul lose the plot,..
Can JP save the tribe?”
“It’s early morning in mid-November, there are two weeks of the experiment still left”
“I’ve already lost two and a half stone”
“My stone age ancestors, I’ve got a lot of respect,”
“We think we’re a lot more intelligent than them,”
“Its encouraging to see them setting snares, but they need to be setting a lot more, ten times that much..”
“They have got hungry and don’t have the energy..”
You can tell that the guys Paul and Mike are on their last legs so to speak.
It is a good thing that the rest of the tribe, mainly made up of the women and JP (who just sems to get firewood and sleep) have organised the foraging and minimum rations.
However it is becoming clear that these rations are not enough as she, Mel, hasn’t really factored in physical exertion, shivering and so on, into her calculations.
So Mel is wrong and Paul is right. (about hunting)
As Klint Junilus explains. The tribe should have been hunting and should have been right from the beginning. At the very least: practising at hunting.
I’d like to be the one who came in as an idiot”
“a selfish boy,”
“and leave, a hard working respected man..”
“Yes, we’re going to use JP until his destruction,”
“well not his destruction.. he has more reserves than us, we can use his energy.”
“Call that a river Mike?!”
“Here comes Leaping Bear!”
(brilliant-that is his alternative native spirit and or mesolithic name.
(JP is triumphantly digging burdock root)
“My Mum would be very proud of me,
“She likes gardening”!
“As night falls the temperature drops below zero”..
I love the little rush covered door of the tribe’s hut.
“Sunrise, Paul has recovered his strength”
“This group is at a disadvantage, they didn’t have generations of hunting knowledge passed down,”
“So now, they are modifying their behaviour..(the men)
“these are experiments..”
Mike is seriously losing it: (to Paul)
“It’s just so vast...”
He looks around the landscape..
“Patience is a virtue..”
Paul is a genius.
“I think it’s too big,”
“I don’t think we’re gonna get a kill..”
I do think its a shame that the rest of the tribe have not been supporting either verbally or physically, the hunters. Granted that there probably would have bee an organised group of foragers in the tribe. Yet I doubt that the hunters would have been so alone and unsupported by their tribe in the Mesolithic period.
Foraging and hunting would likely had equal but different importance. The activities would have to have been planned and organised (timetabled even) and would have followed the land, the weather, the seasons. I guess.
What has transpired sadly is a kind of prejudice against hunting from the rest of the group.
(a 21st century attitude perhaps)
The rest of the tribe make comments about egotistical males, proving themselves and being: determined to kill. Mel even conjectures that Paul:
“might want to kill something so much he would kill us!”
Err.Yeah. Not really. Think he’s just trying to get Y’all summat to eat.
“When you go into starvation mode, you get cognitive dissociation,”
“You loose your memory, concentration..”
“the body is starting to shut down..”
Paul is back at camp, too tired to hunt,”
“But old habits die hard..”
(Paul kills a mouse by throwing a rock at it)
“Something for dinner, he grins”
JP is exploring his inner Mesolithic self. He has fashioned his own, incredible pale greeen hooded outfit. (he looks fantastic-really great in fact) Then JP goes and dips his hands in the mud and smears his face. His eyes look out over the blackness. His transformation is complete.
JP is now sitting in a tree looking completely at home, the mud dried to a clay brown, baked on his face. Night falls from sunset.
Mike (to tribe-sitting around the fire in the hut)
“Back in the day,being on your own, alone, hunting would have been a rite of passage, a boy to a man..”
“The charge of a boar, tusks, can be fatal..”
“It’s too dangerous”!
(voice from the shadows)
JP tells his story:
“Get this, four or five pigs, I stood there…”
“Day forty one down at the lake, it has been six days since they were last here..”
“The fish are tiny, Mike has set out to get something bigger..”
“Hello lovely lake, I’ve missed you!”
She would have go, she she is seriously annoying. However has useful psychopathic tendencies. which are apparently very good for survival. Keep a psychopath around.
So basically as Mike deconstructs, we are watching people start to starve.
The men, because of their different metabolic make-up are feeling it worse. The starvation.
Mel hums The Funeral March. What did I say.
Mel and Josie get to it. (foraging)
Mel doesn’t seem to have realised that Jodie and Josie (Mother and daughter) are looking suspiciously fat. Fatter than everybody else. This is because they sit at camp in the hut making (acorn) protein paste and stuffing their faces with the paste. A Mesolithic energy bar we are told.
Operation Stonehenge-What Lies Beneath.BBC Four & others.