Anthropology Magazine
A light-brown cross section of a tree shows narrow and wide tree rings.

Tree Rings Are Evidence of the Megadrought—and Our Doom

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Two Pioneering Female Archaeologists

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A black-and-white photograph shows the profile of a Black person on a horse in an open space.

A Hidden Figure in North American Archaeology

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The Blockbuster Exhibit That Shouldn’t Have Been

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A collection of tall, thin wooden statues of different heights rests against a wall.

Do Stolen Sacred Objects Experience Culture Shock?

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How Museums Can Do More Than Just Repatriate Objects

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Mesa Verde Ancestral Puebloan - Stone axes used by Ancestral Puebloans left distinctive jagged marks on wood, as seen on this beam end from a tree cut down around A.D. 625.

The Phantom Forests That Built Mesa Verde

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do twins share soul - The author and his twin pose with ère ìbejì on display at a 1967 Field Museum exhibition.

Do Twins Share a Soul?

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archaeology marijuana - Commercial marijuana products in the U.S. have proliferated since recreational use has been legalized in 11 states.

An Archaeology of Marijuana

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wildfire archaeology - The first poster of Smokey Bear, the U.S. Forest Service’s now famous mascot for forest fire suppression, appeared in 1944.

Wildfire Archaeology and the Burning American West

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Total hip replacement surgeries, using titanium parts such as those shown, have become a routine medical procedure.

Two Surgeries, 800 Years Apart

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A Curator’s Search for Justice

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history of masks

The Masked Man

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radiocarbon dating

The Scientific Sorcery of Radiocarbon Dating

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panic buying coronavirus

Why We Buy Weird Things in Times of Crisis

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Sensory deprivation tanks purportedly help floaters enter a deeply relaxed state.

What Modern Extremes Taught Me About Noise in the Ancient World

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In this undeveloped section of Rio Rancho Estates, New Mexico, roads have been cut, but virtually no homes have been constructed for decades.

A Tale of Two Ruins

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Stela 3 from Caracol was on display at DMNS but is currently in the museum’s basement.

What Do Monuments Reveal About Their Makers?

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stone age myths - Stone Age hominins probably also used wood and other materials to make tools, as in this diorama from the National Museum of Mongolian History.

Stone Age Myths We’ve Made Up

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This red chalk drawing, circa 1515, is considered by many experts to be a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

What Would Leonardo da Vinci Think of the Future?

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fat acceptance

Who Decided It Was Bad to Be Fat?

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Zuni artist Ronnie Cachini works on his painting in his studio.

What Google Maps Don’t Show You

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A wide shot features a collection of artifacts on tables with four additional floors towering overhead. A crowd of people gathers in a line in the background.

The Skeletons in the Museum Closet

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These are the caves where many of the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947.

How Do We Know Which Historical Accounts Are True?

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These well-preserved ancient sandals came from Tularosa Cave. For an idea of their size, the center one is about 24 centimeters long.

Why Are Some Caves Full of Shoes?

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This astrological calendar—found circa 1900, in Uruk, Iraq—was created by the Sumerians, who probably devised the world’s first linear calendar around 3000 B.C.

Is Cyclical Time the Cure to Technology’s Ills?

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ancient roman bathrooms - To ancient Romans, the practice of sitting on a shared toilet in an open room full of people was entirely ordinary.

What Did Ancient Romans Do Without Toilet Paper?

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embalming culture - Cremations are sometimes conducted on funeral pyres, which range from simple piles of wood to beautiful, elaborate structures. The one pictured here was built for an important Buddhist holy man in northern Thailand.

The Weird, Wild World of Mortuary Customs

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Members of the Hopewell culture obtained materials from across North America.

Transcontinental Travel—2,000 Years Ago

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Tree ring dating - Wooden beams used in ancient structures in the Mesa Verde region, such as this one examined by the author in June 2007, hold clues about the area’s previous residents.

How Archaeologists Uncover History With Trees

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Peace Medals

Were Peace Medals the Price of Loyalty?

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Uncirculated Carson City, Nevada, Morgan dollars were made available for purchase in the 1970s.

The Surreal World of Money

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Folsom site - A Folsom spear point was discovered between the ribs of an extinct species of bison—but was it really proof that humans had killed the animal?

Why the Famous Folsom Point Isn’t a Smoking Gun

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Folsom point - A flash flood in 1908 exposed this profoundly important archaeological site near Folsom, New Mexico.

How the Folsom Point Became an Archaeological Icon

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Prison art - “Prisoners,” a sculpture by Vasily Konovalenko, depicts the harsh reality of Soviet labor camps during Joseph Stalin’s rule.

Capturing the Art of Imprisonment

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The Many Hands shirt was created around 1910 by Bessie Black Horn to commemorate the “multiple handshakes” that Chief Daniel Black Horn had with European dignitaries.

The Many Hands Shirt: Reuniting a Family and an Heirloom

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Dendrochronologist Henri Grissino-Mayer and colleagues study the tree rings in the Karr-Koussevitzky double bass. Their analysis ultimately determined that the instrument was built much later than previously thought.

A Double Bass, Tree Rings, and the Truth

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The Huey helicopter has become one of the most widely recognized military vehicles of all time.

The Sound and Fury of the Huey Helicopter

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Clovis point

A Relic of the Past Soars Into the Final Frontier

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The Revolutionary Genius of Neanderthals

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silk road

The Silk Ribbon of Highways

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culture time

The Long Count

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A baseball cap can say a lot about someone, including the person’s social identity and status. How Trump wears his signature hat, for example, communicates a certain message to appeal to voters.

The Way Trump Wears His Hat

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Tupilaq, a malevolent spirit-monster known to Indigenous people in Greenland, can employ different guises in order to wreak vengeance on behalf of its creator.

Spirit-Monsters and the Curse of the Chicago Cubs

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In Ohio in the early 1920s, archaeologists excavated a beautifully stylized effigy hand that was made from a single sheet of mica.

Is a Hand Wave a Universal Greeting?

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Forget Not the Mighty Zipper

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It would be hard to guess, but this arrangement of bamboo sticks and cowrie shells makes up a map of the ocean and the greater Marshall Islands region.

Lost or Found? A Stick Chart From the Marshall Islands

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Moscow Route

How Did We Ever Live Without GPS?

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The archaeological record tends to preserve stone tools rather than perishable remains, such as this split-twig figurine found in Dolores Cave, near Gunnison, Colorado.

Did Women and Children Exist in Prehistory?

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Tree-ring cores, like this one collected at Mesa Verde, can provide accurate and precisely dated information about an archaeological site.

HH-39: Why Good Science Doesn’t Need Eureka Moments

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The Right to Own Living Memorials

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Skeleton Sex Pots

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Vasily Konovalenko’s Martin Luther King in Sapphire was sculpted from the world’s largest known black sapphire.

Martin Luther King Jr., in Sapphire

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This Acheulean hand ax was collected in 1960 in Saudi Arabia, and is now held by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is almost perfectly symmetrical, about the size of an adult’s hand, and made of a rough quartzite. Developed in the Stone Age, the Acheulean hand ax is one of the most durable technologies the world has ever seen.

The World’s Most Sustainable Technology

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blackhawks racist

Confessions of a Blackhawks Fan

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