Column / The Dirt

  • The Dirt

    Cultural heritage - In 2012, Islamic extremists severely damaged nine historic mausoleums in Timbuktu, Mali. Local masons, like the man shown here, rallied to rebuild them before they were further degraded by exposure to the elements.

    The Problem With Heritage

    From Palmyra in Syria to Timbuktu in Mali, a wave of destruction has erased monuments to humanity’s past. Does their loss really matter?

  • The Dirt

    The “domestication” of water has been central to the development of agriculture.

    Domesticating Water

    For thousands of years, humans have worked to control water. But how will the looming water crisis change our trajectory?

  • 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?

    Archaeology gives us the ability to see the impacts that natural events like the little ice age can have on human culture.

  • The Dirt

    Past Imperfect

    Genetics can offer scientific answers to questions about biological relationships, but archaeology provides deep insight into people’s cultural lives.