THE ARDENT ENTHUSIAST

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I first read about the Tamgaly Petroglyphs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in a book on the Bronze Age archaeology of the Scythian Nomads called Kurgans, ritual sites, and settlements — Edited by Jeannine Davis-Kimball Visiting that site was the main purpose of my trip to Kazakhstan, and it wasn’t easy to reach. No tours or tourists were interested in such a place, so I had to hire my own driver to get… Read More

I visited Kazakhstan during the summer of 2017, basing myself in the old captital of Almaty. I stayed in a dorm at the Almaty Backpacker’s Hostel, and it was about a twenty minute walk to the center of town. One of my first trips was to the Central Museum to see their collection of Scythian gold. Almaty is the cultural center of the country and it looks like a modern overlay on… Read More

I’m off to Central Asia next week and decided that my usual necklace is too valuable for adventure travel. Thus I created a new one specifically for this trip. One of my goals is to buy more ancient beads and I need examples to show the merchants. This necklace has a Bronze Age pendant–thogchag; from the Gobi Desert, approximately 500BC; a 2,500 BC ceramic bead from Balkh; Tibetan coral; Tibetan turquoise; Afghan… Read More

Matsuyama (松山市) is the largest city on the Japanese island of Shikoku. It has a population of 516,459. The city’s name means “pine mountain”. Matsuyama was founded on December 15, 1889. The city is known for the Dogo Onsen [hot spring], which is among the oldest in Japan, The current Onsen building is a Meiji Period wooden public bathhouse dating from 1894.  Matsuyama castle is on top of a scenic hill in a centrally located park. Eight of… Read More

Itoigawa City– Niigata Prefecture – Japan Golden Week; May 3rd-7th gave me five days to go south and hunt for Japanese jadeite. Part 1 of these notes covered my trip to the Oyashirazu Pier, the Jade Museum there and my interaction with the local jade hunters. In Part 2 I shall relate my adventures in the Kotakigawa Gorge and exploring the ancient Jomon village of Chojagahara. In about 2,500 BCE the Jomon… Read More