Stones and features on KI

Eric H Cline’s very interesting book Three Stones Make A Wall gets its title from an axiom that is taught to archaeologists:

One stone is a stone.

Two stones is a feature.

Three stones is a wall.

Four stones is a building.

Five stones is a palace.

(Six stones is a palace built by aliens.)

Meaning, everything that’s been long buried can all just look like rubble, and the size of the pile of rubble you uncover can hint at just what it used to be.

The final line is added in as a joke, because people are always saying that aliens must have built the Pyramids, Stonehenge, etc, as there is absolutely no way in the world humans could make something so large, apparently.

As promised, here are more photos of stones and features from quaint Kangaroo Island.

There is a beach at Stokes Bay which you have basically have to go caving with your life to find (exaggeration).

A mysterious sign

When you emerge from out the other side there’s a secluded beach that was hidden behind a huge (natural) wall this whole time. That’s where I took a photo of the diagonal rocks.

If you walk around the town of Penneshaw you’ll see a good number of very cleverly made sculptures shaped from iron, by a guy named Phil Baines, who’s been doing this for longer than I’ve been alive.

There’s a whole little trail in this town dedicated to displaying sculptures made by artists.

On this trail you will find a bridge which was built over a small ravine, to replace another built by a hobbyist almost a century ago.

Around 1920 LE Clarke built a recreational bridge that spanned this ravine… from iron cables, packing case wood and local eucalyptus timber.

I was thinking that it’s interesting that these days it would seem that people can’t go around building random structures easily in case one breaks while someone is climbing it and it makes you liable and opens you up for for lawsuit.

Thanks for reading about KI! I’ve come back to work feeling slightly better about facing the grind again.

Semester 1 of the Graduate Cert in Archaeology starts in mid February.

How’s everyone?

Australia, journal

Kangaroo Island: Fire and Water

Vivonne Bay

Here we went exploring. This bay is the second place in a row I’ve learnt that was named after a very nice lady, Catherine de Vivonne.

(The other place and person was Adelaide, the Queen in the 1830s, who was kind and 27 years her husband’s junior. She influenced King William to cut out swearing and drinking, and was loved by all.)

Anyway, over at Vivonne we found some ruins!

Stairs from the beach to nowhere

These weren’t terribly old ruins – the charred bits indicated they were probably burnt in the 2019-2020 bushfires – that time when pretty much all of Australia was ablaze.

There were no signs saying NO CLIMBING, so we went up for science.

The view at the top.

The fires on Kangaroo Island that summer ravaged 48% of the whole place. This report also details the destruction of habitat for various species. That summer, you could see red skies and smoke from more than 150km away.

A lot of animals died, sadly. But there still is surviving wildlife. Like this jewel-like bug…

… and this endangered and rare bird, the hooded plover:

Seal Bay

At Seal Bay (which would probably have been better named Sea Lion Bay), there are often many sea lions on the beach. You can pay to watch as animals flaunt the life we runners of the rat race all dream of (although to be fair, they do spend 3 days at sea hunting, and 3 days recuperating).

Zzzz. The dream!

A little inland lies the skeleton of a young whale that was maybe trying to do the same thing as the sea lions, but never made it back to the water. Poor thing.

The young whale, which conservation park has fenced off for teaching purposes. RIP.

Dolphins at Penneshaw

Driving along the coast, the partner spotted some blobs in the water and wondered aloud if they were dolphins, at which I yelled “WHERE?” and jumped out the car.

So now I can say I’ve seen the rival species to our intelligence in the wild. Seriously, if you have ever seen pictures of a dolphin’s brain you would possibly be alarmed, and glad they don’t have feet and opposable thumbs, or the world might have been theirs while we were fluffing around in caves, discovering fire. Maybe.

Ever explored some old abandoned sites/tempered your SO’s language/beached yourself/seen interesting creatures?


Hi from K.I

Greetings from an island, which I just learnt is ominously named ‘The Land of the Dead’ by Australian Aboriginal people, but it is more widely known as Kangaroo Island. The reception is intermittent but the pleasant views endless. It has taken us many hours of driving plus a ferry to get here.

The partner and I have been making silly bets with each other on this road trip. This has mainly been about estimated arrival times, and whether or not the roads we take would be properly sealed à la modern civilisation, or reddish dirt paths that rattle your car around like an unhinged washing machine as you drive on them (KI has both).

We were both in for a surprise. While discussing islands, I was surprised to find out that it takes about one hour to get from the ferry to the middle of the island – I’d thought it was much smaller.

Using the size of a fingernail as a scale while scrolling across a glitchy/laggy Google Maps to compare KI with the size of New Zealand, I estimated that KI would fit into the North Island 20-30 times*.

The partner expressed surprise that the North Island of NZ is much, much bigger. He thought they were similar. Which made me wtf-surprised that my own SO, who has traveled 15 countries, would mistakenly think I grew up on an island the size of KI, which has 4700 inhabitants and, like, 4 roads. (It’s probably a bit more than 4 but it’s what it feels like.)

I haven’t yet gone to any museums, but have encountered ants that look about 3cm long (geez, Australia) and one of them was bullying a weird prehistoric looking bug but ran away as I approached.

I now know about the existence of pie dish beetles.

Probably best not to eat

Also, looking at some geological formations, I’ve been thinking about how archaeologists and geologists are probably BFFs in the world of -ologists. Looking around on KI I had a few questions, eg Why do rocks form diagonal lines?

And is this a volcanic rock?

In other interesting encounters, I met Spongebob:

Anyway, here are some more of those aforementioned pleasant views.

Fun fact: KI was where colonial settlers first tried to, well, settle in South Australia, but realised the tiny island couldn’t sustain everyone, so people moved to the mainland and set up Adelaide.

Will add new learnings in later posts. I realise it’s been a little while since I last blogged. How is everyone?

*Turns out my fingernail estimation was right, because Land mass of North Island, NZ: 113,729 km². Land mass of KI: 4,405 km².

Land mass of NZ/Land mass of KI = 25.8