Guided by the Past


Hosts Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez and Yoli Ngandali share how they found their way to archaeology and what it means to be Black and Indigenous archaeologists. From defying the status quo in a classroom to diving through sunken ships, Ora and Yoli bring listeners on a journey of reclaiming stories and reimagining history.

In this first episode of a special season of the SAPIENS podcast, new hosts Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez and Yoli Ngandali tell their stories about how they found archaeology, their struggles and successes in the field, and what it means to be Indigenous and Black archaeologists today.

This episode lays the foundation for the season, as Ora and Yoli welcome listeners into their world and explore the foundational concepts and principles of an exciting new form of archaeology that includes a diverse range of knowledges, values, and experiences. This will be a SAPIENS podcast season like none other.

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 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 1, we welcome Yoli Ngandali, one of the hosts of the SAPIENS series and a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, for a conversation on how we can achieve real and lasting change in the stories archaeology tells and, just as importantly, who gets to tell them. This episode was made possible by financial support from the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. We want to thank our panelists for leading our conversation today: Jarre Hamilton (University of California, Berkeley), Iman Nagy (University of California, Los Angeles), and Javier García Colón (University of California, San Diego). This episode was hosted by CIAMS graduate students Alma Cortez Alvarez and Liam McDonald, and the sound engineer was Rebecca Gerdes. 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.