Geography by the numbers: what territory we've covered
Over the last 14 months I’ve written on the order of 200,000 words on this Substack, with the majority focused on particular geographic locales. Indulging my inner elementary-school geography nerd, I totaled up word counts roughly by region. This required the occasional arbitrary judgement call: whereas The Stark Truth About Aryans is clearly about India, the Heritability of Height has no geographic valence, so I didn’t assign it to a particular region. A Whole New World, I awarded to North America, not South, just because the findings that triggered the post were in New Mexico, and a lot of New-World archaeological energy comes out of institutions in the US.
The map above reflects word count by bubble size proportional to how much I’ve written about a topic. For a sense of scale, there were over 25,000 words devoted to the steppe on this Substack; no surprise that this longtime hobby horse of mine represents the biggest category. In contrast, all of Central Asia weighs in at 4,000 words, because I only touched on it in the post on Afghanistan.
The geographic distribution is useful to see, as it does point out future regions that merit more focus. And with all due respect to mighty little Finland, I think I’m done with the Fenno part of Fenno-Scandinavia for a good long while. On the other hand, South America is nearly terra incognita (newsworthy ancient remains aside), and I really haven’t delved into Southeast Asia or Australia in any depth. But before I embark on any of those, I need to read more deeply about those regions and their histories. For example, perhaps I’ll get to Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs in 2022? They say you “write what you know,” and mostly I “write what I read.”
Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t talk about Africa more in 2021. But that’s probably because I’ve been punting on the Bantu expansion for a while. Perhaps this is my cue to finally move that up my long wishlist of posts to find time for.
Here are the posts by region: