Anthropology / Everything Human

History Lost to Sea

Archaeology

  • Unearthed

    The remains of a 500-year-old Inuvialuit village are sliding into the ocean as the coast gives way. Archaeologists are moving quickly to excavate the most impressive of the semi-subterranean dwellings to understand the people who lived there.

    History Lost to Sea

    Researchers are racing to record—and save—the cultural treasures of the western Canadian Arctic before they fall victim to climate change.

  • The Dirt

    Lucas van Valckenborch painted a cold winter landscape set near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1575. Europe was then in the midst of the Little Ice Age.

    Cold Enough for Ya?

    Every winter, on either the first or second cold snap, I hear the question “Cold enough for ya?” as I get on the bus, exit the Metro, or eavesdrop on colleagues’ conversations. We hear these words often and smile or join in the complaint. Weather is inherently used to initiate a conversation, resuscitate a stalled one, or to serve as a point of shared misery. But in archaeology, …

  • Curiosities

    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

    To my mind, a well-made Acheulean hand ax is one of the most beautiful and remarkable archaeological objects ever found, anywhere on the planet. I love its clean, symmetrical lines. Its strength and heft impress me, and so does its persistence. Acheulean hand ax is the term archaeologists now use to describe the distinctive stone-tool type first discovered by John Frere at Hoxne, in Suffolk, Great Britain, in …

  • Unearthed

    Stones with names of towns and villages, where the victims came from, are seen on the grounds of the former German Nazi Death Camp Treblinka.

    The Darkest Truths

    After the Nazis' three so-called Operation Reinhard camps swallowed more than a million and a half Jewish lives, the camps were themselves destroyed. Forensic archaeologists are finally exploring what lies beneath the earth—but not without resistance.

  • The Dirt

    Past Imperfect

    Let’s start with some old dirt. Who were the first people to arrive in North America more than 12,000 years ago? Did these intrepid explorers originate in Siberia and cross the frozen straits of Beringia? Or were they mariners who bravely struck out into the Pacific, heading east into the blue unknown? Who were the people to first call North America home? For more than a century, archaeologists …