Prehistoric Fiction Writers and Readers Campfire discussion

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message 1: by Claire (new)

Claire | 33 comments Hello, all! I know we already have a discussion open about 'best places to research' but I wanted to open up a discussion where we could list all of our specific material resources (books, articles, etc.) used to study prehistoric times since it's often hard to sort out truly reliable information.


message 2: by Gina (new)

Gina M Jordan (awolgina) | 7 comments Personally I love actual archaeologists and anthropologists (such as W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O'Neil Gear) as their resource information is always impeccable. However people in those fields often aren't as good or prolific at writing at they are. In the backs of all of their books they give huge bibliographies that might be helpful to other authors in this filed for finding reliable research. Another author who gives extensive biblios is Diana Gabaldon who often writes about the past (15th centurey) & present in one book, which I also love. Just an idea. :)


message 3: by Mary (new)

Mary Black (goodreadscommarysblack) | 134 comments I would say there is no one or "best" place to research your novel. It depends on the time period you want to write about and the specific place. I say "specific" because what happened in one place 10,000 years ago is NOT the same as what happened in another. Think of what was going on in Africa at that time (What was going on? I have no clue) versus what was going on in Britain. Or North America.
Part of writing prehistoric fiction is to get the "place" right, and that means the right flora, fauna, and geography. From those things, the people made their tools and took their food. Geography was important for water sources as well as movement. And don't suppose for a minute that the climate that provided for these flora and fauna was the same as it is today. Again, that varies greatly by exact time and place.
My advice? Read as much as you can about the specific site and time period you want to write about. Use the internet to find archaeological technical reports, and then, once you get past the procedural descriptions--which are huge, but don't really apply for the novelist, use that information. So, go for primary sources like these reports as much as possible. Then use whatever secondary sources you can find.
Cheers, Mary


message 4: by Ishtar (new)

Ishtar Watson (emberofanewworld) | 97 comments I have heavily used my universities online peer reviewed journal access. Peer reviewed journals provide a wealth of amazing detail and accuracy.

If you have an alma mater, consider joining their alumni society. It's usually cheap (under $100 a year, mostly) and often provides you with access to their online libraries (check this part out first, of course).

When I researched my book I found dozens of sites and "valid" information suggesting things indigenous to ancient Europe. Subsequent research into peer reviewed journals proved this to be wrong! If I had not read the length journals, I would have made historical mistakes.

Example: It is commonly believed that woad paint existed in early Neolithic Europe. Deeper analysis of peer reviewed papers indicates that this is not true.


message 5: by Ishtar (new)

Ishtar Watson (emberofanewworld) | 97 comments Mary wrote: "I say "specific" because what happened in one place 10,000 years ago is NOT the same as what happened in another..."

100% correct!!! When the Neolithic period was early and starting to occur in what one day would be France and Germany, it was still effectively the late Mesolithic period in what would one day be the UK.



Also, as a side note:

I suggest that folks contact university folks. I had amazingly revealing discussions with a Dietary anthropologist which lead me to better understand how food was prepared and what was eaten in my books.

I'd also suggest trying to do some of the things you write about yourself. Trying hiking around, make a fire the hard way, brew some ancient alcohol, etc.


message 6: by Mary (new)

Mary Black (goodreadscommarysblack) | 134 comments Contact local archaeological societies in your area. Not pot-hunter groups, mind you, but scientifically focused groups. That's a good way to experience some of the things you want to write about and make some great contacts.


message 7: by Claire (new)

Claire | 33 comments Just wanted to show everyone a website I found:
http://www.donsmaps.com/

it has fantastic information including flora and fauna, ancient trade routes, archaeological sites and relics, etc.


message 8: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen | 72 comments Claire wrote: "Just wanted to show everyone a website I found:
http://www.donsmaps.com/

it has fantastic information including flora and fauna, ancient trade routes, archaeological sites and relics, etc."

Don's maps is a great site - full of information and well-documented.


message 9: by Ishtar (new)

Ishtar Watson (emberofanewworld) | 97 comments If you are looking to get your ethnicity correct, a good website to help with tracking Y-DNA Haploid groups is: http://www.eupedia.com/europe/Haplogr...

For example, my main chracter was likely from group G2a, as were the three men she meets. The small trader group she meets would be from haploid group I2a1a or I2a1b, and the final place she visits is from haploid group I2a1b (L161.1).

This can be of use when tracking the cultures and how the changed.

You can cross reference with these maps: http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turki...

Afterward, looking the haploid groups up in a peer reviewed jounral can help you get facial features correct. :)


message 10: by Ishtar (new)

Ishtar Watson (emberofanewworld) | 97 comments And so it came to pass... I took for granted that heating gold would make it softer for tooling (though it would not melt until it hit 1947 f).

It turns out that heating gold to 500f (like a camp fire) does not actually soften it, but actually hardens it. This makes my gold softening scene slightly suspect... all though I could argue that the camp fire was made extremely hot with something like oak and a hand fan. :|

This is why everything needs to be checked. I let one thing slip by, and poof! it was wrong.

I guess I can fix that when I release my second edition with the sequel.


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