Redrawing the Boundaries


The second episode of season 4 of the SAPIENS podcast features stories about what it means to unearth African history on the Caribbean island of St. Croix and why Black archaeologists are searching for sunken slave ships.

For many, archaeology means digging up historical artifacts from beneath the ground. But to some, that framework is also violent and colonialist. What would it mean to leave ancestors and belongings where they’re found?

In this episode, Gabrielle Miller, a doctoral student studying African diaspora archaeology at the University of Tulsa shares a story about excavations on the island of St. Croix. And Dr. Ayana Flewellen and Dr. Justin Dunnavant discuss how Black archaeologists began uncovering sunken slave ships.

SAPIENS: A Podcast for Everything Human is produced by House of Pod and supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. SAPIENS is also part of the American Anthropological Association Podcast Library. This season was created in collaboration with the Indigenous Archaeology Collective and the Society of Black Archaeologists, with art by Carla Keaton and music from Jobii, _91nova, and Justnormal

Listen also to SAPIENS Talk Back, a companion series by Cornell University’s RadioCIAMS. In episode 2, we welcome the featured guests of Episode 2 of SAPIENS Season 4: two of the co-founders of the Society of Black Archaeologists, Justin Dunnavant, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA, and Ayana Flewellen, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside; and Gabrielle Miller, a PhD student studying African Diaspora Archaeology at the University of Tulsa. This episode was made possible by financial support from the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology at the University of California, San Diego. We want to thank our panelists for leading our conversation today, Jordan Griffin and Loren Clark from the University of California, San Diego. This episode was hosted by Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate Maia Dedrick and CIAMS graduate student Ayesha Matthan, and the sound engineer was Anna Whittemore. SAPIENS Talk Back is produced at Cornell University by Adam Smith with Rebecca Gerdes as the production assistant. Our theme music was composed by Charlee Mandy and performed by Maia Dedrick and Russell Dedrick.

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Read a transcript of this episode here.

Back to Season 4 homepage.