Anthropology Magazine

Anthropology Magazine

Expanding worlds by exploring everything human.

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With the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the SAPIENS Public Scholars Training Fellowship program guides anthropologists on accessible writing and podcasting for nonacademic audiences.
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In a room featuring silver plates, wooden furniture with ceramics on top, and a black pot hanging in a fireplace, a wax figure of a person wearing a beret and red and green kilt holds a book with one hand and touches an object on the mantle with the other.

In Defense of Museums

In response to news of ethical violations by museums, a curator reflects on the past and future missions of such institutions.
A pair of hands arrange two placards covered with images of two different people’s faces on a table covered with a black tablecloth.

Restoring Faces and Dignity to Skeletal Remains

An anthropologist explains how a South African university used community-driven research to honor human remains acquired unethically.
In the foreground, four people wear sombreros and ride on horseback. Three of them carry U.S. and Mexican flags while looking up and gesturing toward a helicopter overhead. A crowd of people walk in front of them.

I Was Penalized for Learning a Language at Home

A researcher explains why the Fulbright-Hays fellowship should change its rules that have kept native and heritage speakers from working where their languages are spoken.
Several pink stemless flowers surrounded by white dust and yellow particles float in mid-air against a black background.

To Wear the Wind

A tribal scholar from the state of Nagaland in India engages with the loss of traditional cultural practices and locates the creation of a new world order where the “natural” is increasingly isolated from the “human.”
A smiling girl with shoulder-length brown hair in a black T-shirt and gray leggings sits on a wooden table in a grassy park and hugs a stuffed animal wrapped in a pink and white blanket.

Raising My Children in an Ableist World

In a new book, an anthropologist and father of three, including a daughter with Down syndrome, reflects on the pressures of parenting.
An ornate engraving in a large stone wall depicts the head of a figure beneath sunrays. To its right are more figures etched into two levels on top of one another. On the left is an engraving of two feet.

What Ancient Egyptians Knew About Meteorites—Long Before Modern Astronomers

An Egyptologist’s study of hieroglyphic texts has revealed that ancient Egyptians likely understood the celestial origins of iron-rich meteorites.
A dog stands on a cement sidewalk along a busy street in front of two people eating at a food stall.

Do Strict Criminal Penalties Protect Animals From Abuse?

In Mexico, a growing animal protection movement often promotes harsh criminal punishment for those who abuse animals. But are these strategies working, or do they lead to further injustices?
Four deer with orange fur stand in a field of yellowing grass with a mountainous incline on the horizon.

Past and Present Approaches to the Management of Red Deer

An archaeologist weighs the pros and cons driving debates around the rising population of Scotland’s renowned animal and explains what historical archaeology could add to the conversation.
A landscape features a grassy complex with a large, tiered structure made of stones that towers upward toward a blue, cloud-filled sky. Mountains taller than the structure are barely visible behind clouds in the distance.

Decoding Diversity and Power at Machu Picchu

New DNA analysis has revealed surprising diversity among remains from burial sites in Peru. A genetic anthropologist explains what this suggests about the 15th century Inca palace.
In the center of a huge, multistory room, multiple computers hanging on a wall display images of city streets. In the foreground, dozens of people sit at cubicles looking at similar computer images on their desks.

Inside Mexico City’s Surveillance State

An anthropologist investigates how one city’s rapidly expanding video surveillance system is transforming criminal investigation—sometimes in deeply flawed ways.
An adult with short hair, a mustache, and glasses, and two young people with long hair held by barrettes—one holding a pen—sit on the floor around a large piece of construction paper, markers, and a camera.

Through Film, Discovering Hope in the Face of Environmental Destruction

In the midst of acute eco-anxiety, can community-based filmmaking help young people imagine a different future?
Colored in sepia tones, a photo shows a person in a dark headwrap and robes with a walking stick traveling behind a herd of sheep and goats on rocky terrain that rises into a steep hill.

What Ancient Goat Teeth Reveal About Animal Care

Unraveling a mystery around millennia-old goat bones, an archaeologist reflects on the harm people can cause their most cherished animals.
In a science lab, a masked person wearing a white hazmat suit, face shield, and bouffant cap holds small objects under the glass hood of a silver metal workstation.

The Hidden Ancestry Extracted From an Ancient Pendant

An anthropologist explains how new forensics tools offer unprecedented answers to questions about who likely held or wore Stone Age objects.
A person wearing a brown floral shirt, red beaded necklace, and feather in their hair closes their eyes. In a blurred background, other people—one holding a red-and-white STOP sign—gather on a lawn in front of a white building.

Archaeological Tropes That Perpetuate Colonialism

Two Indigenous archaeologists from the U.S. Southwest shed light on how “abandonment” and other common archaeological terms continue to cause harm. They offer insights into how to rewrite narratives of the past.
A graphic features a mastodon with its head raised and mouth open on rocky ground in front of a blue sky filled with swirling lights.

Forensic Methods Unveil Clues About Megafauna Extinctions

An archaeologist explains how novel applications of forensic methods—namely, blood residue analyses—have yielded evidence that Paleoindians hunted mastodons, mammoths, and other megafauna in eastern North America 13,000 years ago.
Two people hug in a bathroom, with one seated on a closed toilet and the other kneeling on a tan-and-brown tiled floor. Two standing onlookers flank the image’s foreground.

How Eugenics Shaped the U.S. Prenatal Care System

Black women in the U.S. are far more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy and birth than White women. Two scholars explore how the discrediting of Black midwives helped create these racial disparities—and call for alternative models of prenatal care.
Dark gray clouds hang in a pale blue sky. With orange light shining from behind them, these clouds seem to touch dark rolling hills scattered with trees and buildings.

Speaking in Tongues

A scholar from Nagaland in India offers visceral, familial insights on language and culture loss in her Indigenous tribal community.
A black silhouette of a person contrasts with an illuminated cobalt-blue background with two bright spotlights shining from behind their head.

Bringing Nhakpoti, the Kayapó Story of Star Girl, to the Screen

Over years and across long distances, an international filmmaking team collaborated to bring to life the origin story of how agriculture came to Kayapó communities, Indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon.
From an aerial view, several people in long-sleeved shirts, khaki pants, and boots are shown standing inside a rocky cave. One person in the center carrying a camera points at two sites, one with each hand.

Dating the Arrival of Modern Humans in Asia

A team of researchers explains how the discovery of a human skull and jawbone helps push back the timing of modern humans’ migration into Southeast Asia.
Several people stand on a grassy cliff with green shallow water off to their left and blue water and a mountain range in the distance.

Can Archaeology Help Restore the Oceans?

On the Channel Islands, archaeologists draw lessons in sustainability from historic Chumash fishing practices.
Two people in uniforms—one in black, the other in tan—wearing black boots and hats topped with matching fans face each other and kick one leg up, their feet traveling above their heads. Other people in uniform stand at attention along the roadside behind them.

Imagining Other Worlds at the India-Pakistan Border

For decades, soldiers at the border between Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan, have staged an elaborate ceremony for onlookers. An anthropologist reflects on the ceremony as a legacy of Partition—and imagines other futures for the two nations.
A close-up image features the wrinkled hands of a person wearing a cardigan and printed skirt as they mold clay into a bowl shape.

What Pots Say—and Don’t Say—About People

Archaeologists long abandoned the simple notion that “pots are people”—that people’s identities directly correspond with the pottery they made and used. What, then, can ceramics reveal about past lives?
Four people, one wearing a red baseball cap and another a blue shirt, ride a boat on a khaki-colored river surrounded by dense forest.

Writing Indigenous Oral Tradition to Fight a Dam

In the northern Philippines, the Isnag are documenting their Traditional Stories to sustain their culture and fight a legal battle against dams that would inundate their homelands.
Two people wearing waterproof pants, purple windbreakers, and black caps stand on a teal boat at sea, looking toward a white windmill.

The Persistence of Fukushima’s Fisherfolk

In a new book, an anthropologist with long-term ties to northeastern Japan shares stories of how fishing communities have continued making a living in uncertain waters after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Standing on a wooden pier with water below, a person wearing a headset, navy life vest, and parachute pants bends over to put a yellow life vest on a dog.

On the Quandaries of Aquatic Forensics

A team of scientists, including an anthropologist, explains the challenges and methods for locating, identifying, and retrieving human remains from underwater.
In a sepia-and-white color palette, two hands cup a pile of sand, much of which is falling between the fingers.

Cold Hubris and Fundo

A poet-historian reflects on the legacy of colonial-era collecting practices in Tanzania that tore Black Indigenous ancestors from their communities and history.
A close-up image features a pile of logs glowing red and surrounded by orange flames. Sparks fly up against a dark blue night sky.

Extinguishing the Idea That Hobbits Had Fire

Research has overturned earlier claims that a diminutive human relative, Homo floresiensis, lit fires—but big stories die hard.
Shrouded in darkness, a round stone structure on the photo’s right side is illuminated by a light installed on the left side.

Piecing Together the Puzzle of Oman’s Ancient Towers

In recent years, the Omani government has invested in archaeology and heritage tourism to boost its economy—renewing interest in mysterious 4,000-year-old towers that dot the Southeastern Arabian landscape.
A person with a mustache and beard wearing a red-and-blue checkered shirt sits in a black computer chair and holds a white model of a mandible. Three computer monitors line the wooden desk the person is leaning their elbow on.

A New Take on an Old Fossil Hints at Ancient Migrations

Two anthropologists explain how an enigmatic human fossil jawbone—and its 3D-printed reconstruction—may evidence an early Homo sapiens presence in Europe and shed new light on evolutionary diversity and migration.
A close-up image features two spiders on a stick held horizontally in the hands of a child whose face appears slightly blurred in the background.

What Spider Games Say About Arachnophobia

Many people around the world fear spiders. But in the Philippines, the tradition of spider wrestling often brings people and arachnids in close proximity.
A large furry, horned animal stands on grassy terrain with a forest behind and airborne dust surrounding it.

Why Store 41,000 Bison Bones?

An archaeologist explains why a museum keeps so many bones from the Jones-Miller site, an ice age bison kill on the North American plains.
A person wearing a white dress whose skirt is made of ribbons, each with a name written on it, leans back with their eyes closed. They are on grass with a Black Lives Matter banner on the ground beside them and a circle of drummers and bystanders around them.

The Urgency of Envisioning a World Without Police

An anthropologist working in Baltimore argues that safety for Black communities requires an end to policing. That also means taking a hard look at how policing intersects with patriarchy and intimate partner violence.
Podcast Season 6