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Periodicity

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  • Avery Austringer
    ... Unlikely for a number of reasons. First, go a day without using pronouns, I dare you. Second, there are many things which we know existed in
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 21, 2005
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      > I have a dream that the living history world will
      > one day stop using the terms "in period" and "out
      > of period" and instead specify times and places.

      Unlikely for a number of reasons.

      First, go a day without using pronouns, I dare you.

      Second, there are many things which we know existed in
      <place, date> for which we lack a significant
      population of artifacts (sometimes any artifacts) from
      which we can draw meaningful conclusions.

      Let's say we have an example of a turnip twaddler from
      England that is dated to 1500, but we have found
      dozens of turnip twaddlers from Bavaria dating from
      1100s to the early 1900s.

      We might conclude that there was one turnip twaddler
      in all of England, used in 1500 and that was it. Or
      we might conclude that all of Europe and a good chunk
      of Asia and Africa had twaddler technology from as far
      back as the Roman empire.

      The truth is, likely, somewhere in between. We can
      demonstrate the movement of other technologies between
      England and Bavaria, look for references to twaddlers
      in wills and inventories and artwork, examine the
      relevance of turnips in the respective local diets, or
      look for reasons why so many twaddlers survived in
      Bavaria and why that might not have been the case in
      England.

      The fact is, unless we have a time machine, we can
      never be sure. We can do some research, make some
      educated guesses and throw some mental error bars
      around the phrase, "It seems highly likely that a
      turnip monger in York in 1350 would have had such a
      thing." If our mental error bars are tight enough and
      overlap our target enough to make us happy we can sum
      things up by saying, "it's period". (Because let's
      face it, most people aren't that interested in your
      turnip twaddler research.)

      And yeah, there is always going to be the guy who
      thinks that a low budget movie about knights made in
      1962 is good enough to set his error bars wherever he
      damn well wants. Unless you have a time machine there
      is nothing you can do about him.

      If you do have a time machine you can take him back in
      time and leave him in front of a hungry tyrannosaurus!
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