William Tsosie, a Tribal archaeologist for the Navajo Nation Heritage and Preservation Department, speaks with us today about the history and archaeology of the Navajo Nation. We touch upon Will’s early life growing up a pastoralist community and some of the issues that the Navajo people are confronting today. It’s a rare and fascinating look into Native American culture and life. For Americans, who know little about the Indigenous communities of the United States, this is an important podcast. For those of you who hunt and/or forage, there is an excellent discussion about some of the traditional foods of the Navajo people. Will shares with us a traditional method for roasting prairie dog and sheep’s head. Hope you enjoy it!
Joining us in this exciting podcast is Bill Schindler, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Washington College. Bill is an expert in experimental archaeology and primitive technologies who has a very real and deep passion for archaeology. This is an inspiring interview with a person who has thrown himself into his subject. Bill is a humble guy who loves to share his knowledge whether it is about primitive technologies, foraging, or food. It’s all there in this interview! He takes us through his younger years of hunting and foraging and brings us right up to one of his current projects working on the television show “The Great Human Race” produced by the National Geographic Channel. Bill delivers on the recipe end of the spectrum as well. Check out his recipe for roasted marrow bones and wild greens!
Roasted Marrow Bones with Wild Greens Salad
(Adapted from Fergus Henderson’s The Whole Beast: nose to tail eating)
Marrow bones, about 3 inches long
Celtic sea salt
Place the bones in a bowl of ice water to cover, add 2 Tablespoons salt, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water 4 to 6 times and adding 2 more tablespoons salt to the water each time.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drain the bones and pat dry. Stand them up in a lightly oiled roasting pan, and roast for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the marrow has puffed slightly and is warm in the center. To test, insert a metal skewer into the center of marrow, ten touch it to your wrist to see if it is warm. There should be no resistance when the skewer is inserted, and a little of the marrow should have melted and started to leak from the bones.
While the bones are roasting, prepare the wild greens salad, if serving it, and toast the bread.
Wild Greens Salad
3 cups mixed slightly bitter wild greens
1 Tablespoon finely diced shallot
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the leaves, shallot, and capers in a medium bowl. Whisk together the oil and lemon juice in a glass measuring cup or a small bowl, then season very lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.
Roeland Paardekooper from EXARC joins us to speak about his work with open-air museums, education, and archaeological tourism. Roeland’s passion for archaeology goes back several decades. His passion and devotion to the field come across in our talk. If you are curious about open-air museums then this is a talk you must listen to. In our discussion, we learn about the educational value of open-air museums and how they connect young people and the general public to archaeology. We also talk about the growing industry of archaeological tourism which is connected to educating the public about our shared past. Roeland also reveals his current project of creating a repository for archaeological documents. This is a monumental task and one that truly shows Roeland’s passion for archaeology and his belief in educating the public. Finally, Roeland presents us with a delicious and simple recipe from the Stone Age.
Recipe for Stone Age patties
There are dozens of cookery books written by archaeologists or living history people. A good book is by Achim Werner and Jens Dummer “Steinzeit Mahlzeit” (2013). “Stone Age Meals, from the first farmers to Ötzi”.
For 30 – 35 fried patties
250 g young nettle ends or sprouts (Nesselspitzen)
50 g wild garlic
400 g full corn wheat bread
250 g breadcrumbs
150 g pig lard
1 l buttermilk
1 tsp salt
Full corn wheat flour (as much as you please)
Break the bread into small bits; let it soak for 30 minutes in the buttermilk then press it into smaller pieces with a fork. Cook the nettle leaves shortly in boiling water, cut them in large pieces and knead them together with the soaked bread, the roughly chopped wild garlic, the bread crumbs and salt to a smooth mass. Store it cool for 2-3 hours. Then form patties of a size of about 6-8 cms, dust them with the wheat flour and fry in the pig lard gold brown by turning regularly.
Source: Werner & Dummer, 2013. Steinzeit Mahlzeit, p. 42.