I've been viewing archeology and culture films at the Archeology Channel's film festival. So far The Enigma of the Great Menhir has been my favorite, although I thought Chambord: The Castle, the King and the Architect was interesting. Menhir featured standing stones in Brittany (near the "Merchants' Table"), put up in paleolithic times. The stones followed the shoreline, which has moved depending on how much ice was at the pools, and some (presumably) older stone lines are under water. Wavy lines on the menhirs are interpreted as currents and whirlpools in the local waters; the most surprising carving is a symbolic representation of sperm whales. Alpine jade axeheads also appear in the iconography.
Chambord is a French Renaissance castle, financed by Francis I, and possibly designed by Leonardo daVinci. It had a lot of cool photography and videography, but seemed a little light on the "secrets" of its design. The design of the castle is very interesting: a square with a double-helix staircase in the center. The main mystery seems to be that the north tower's floorplan was flipped to accommodate and shorten Francis I's path between two of the towers. There was lots of period costume and scene reenactment, and the film was more historical than architectural.
Other films and shorts have been interesting. I came away from a few wishing that I understood French so I could focus on the interesting artifacts in the film without being distracted by the English subtitles. So far, in these films I think it's obligatory to have
- a flame-lit battle scene with metallic clanking
- Autocad Porn featuring reconstruction overlays
- arch looks from courtiers
- elderly elders ritually chanting
- backlit archeologists scuffling through narrow ducts
- a close-up of a 3-D laser scanner shooting lasers
- earnest young techs crouching over mobile tablet devices
- dramatic video from drones as they buzz around a landscape
Now that I think about it, the one short I saw that didn't have these obligatory elements was a kind of whimsical review of Epicurean Inscriptions, which kind of felt more like a cross between Diogenes 101 and a Research Fund Drive. About half-way through it there was a short segment focused on goats, and after that the lead researcher in the film reminded of the Frank, the Famous Historian from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I kept expecting them to turn over one of the stones of old Oinoanda and reveal an ancient inscription reading "FORTY-TWO", which would then be the object of a chase scene involving Epicureans and Stoics and there would be a shouting match about sex and the greatest good and someone would have to yell, "Nobody expects the Stoics!"
Gym (Saturday): 25 minutes and 250 calories on the elliptical. 5 minutes and 50 calories on the cable row machines. 3x12x60lbs on the pec fly. 3x13x70lbs on the lat pull-down. 3x12 hanging curls on the Roman Chair (I had to stop in the middle because I was laughing too hard at Hearts' "Magic Man" which sounds like it came from the sound-track of a Go-Go Dancer collection, and is right up there with Lead Zeppelins' "Whole Lotta Love" and Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" as far as songs they play in my gym that will make me drop a barbell weight on my foot because I'm laughing too hard). Assorted free-weight stuff.