Forensic Methods Unveil Clues About Megafauna Extinctions
Christopher R. Moore
An archaeologist explains how novel applications of forensic methods—namely, blood residue analyses—have yielded evidence that Paleoindians hunted mastodons, mammoths, and other megafauna in eastern North America 13,000 years ago.
How Eugenics Shaped the U.S. Prenatal Care System
Dána-Ain Davis and Kelley Akhiemokhali
Black women in the U.S. are far more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy and birth than White women. Two scholars explore how the discrediting of Black midwives helped create these racial disparities—and call for alternative models of prenatal care.
Speaking in Tongues
Beni Sumer Yanthan
A scholar from Nagaland in India offers visceral, familial insights on language and culture loss in her Indigenous tribal community.
Bringing Nhakpoti, the Kayapó Story of Star Girl, to the Screen
Paul Chilsen, Glenn H. Shepard Jr., and Pat-i Kayapó
Over years and across long distances, an international filmmaking team collaborated to bring to life the origin story of how agriculture came to Kayapó communities, Indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon.
Dating the Arrival of Modern Humans in Asia
Kira Westaway, Meghan McAllister-Hayward, Mike W. Morley, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, and Vito C. Hernandez
A team of researchers explains how the discovery of a human skull and jawbone helps push back the timing of modern humans’ migration into Southeast Asia.
Can Archaeology Help Restore the Oceans?
Todd Braje, Emma Elliott Smith, Juliette Meling, and Torben Rick
On the Channel Islands, archaeologists draw lessons in sustainability from historic Chumash fishing practices.
Imagining Other Worlds at the India-Pakistan Border
For decades, soldiers at the border between Attari, India, and Wagah, Pakistan, have staged an elaborate ceremony for onlookers. An anthropologist reflects on the ceremony as a legacy of Partition—and imagines other futures for the two nations.
What Pots Say—and Don’t Say—About People
Archaeologists long abandoned the simple notion that “pots are people”—that people’s identities directly correspond with the pottery they made and used. What, then, can ceramics reveal about past lives?
Writing Indigenous Oral Tradition to Fight a Dam
Karminn C.D. Daytec Yañgot
In the northern Philippines, the Isnag are documenting their Traditional Stories to sustain their culture and fight a legal battle against dams that would inundate their homelands.
The Persistence of Fukushima’s Fisherfolk
In a new book, an anthropologist with long-term ties to northeastern Japan shares stories of how fishing communities have continued making a living in uncertain waters after the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear disaster.
On the Quandaries of Aquatic Forensics
Paola A. Magni, Edda Guareschi, and Rossella Paba
A team of scientists, including an anthropologist, explains the challenges and methods for locating, identifying, and retrieving human remains from underwater.
Cold Hubris and Fundo
A poet-historian reflects on the legacy of colonial-era collecting practices in Tanzania that tore Black Indigenous ancestors from their communities and history.
Extinguishing the Idea That Hobbits Had Fire
Elizabeth Grace Veatch
Research has overturned earlier claims that a diminutive human relative,
, lit fires—but big stories die hard.
Piecing Together the Puzzle of Oman’s Ancient Towers
In recent years, the Omani government has invested in archaeology and heritage tourism to boost its economy—renewing interest in mysterious 4,000-year-old towers that dot the Southeastern Arabian landscape.
A New Take on an Old Fossil Hints at Ancient Migrations
Brian Anthony Keeling and Rolf Quam
Two anthropologists explain how an enigmatic human fossil jawbone—and its 3D-printed reconstruction—may evidence an early
presence in Europe and shed new light on evolutionary diversity and migration.
What Spider Games Say About Arachnophobia
Many people around the world fear spiders. But in the Philippines, the tradition of spider wrestling often brings people and arachnids in close proximity.
Why Store 41,000 Bison Bones?
Stephen E. Nash
An archaeologist explains why a museum keeps so many bones from the Jones-Miller site, an ice age bison kill on the North American plains.
The Urgency of Envisioning a World Without Police
Brendane A. Tynes
An anthropologist working in Baltimore argues that safety for Black communities requires an end to policing. That also means taking a hard look at how policing intersects with patriarchy and intimate partner violence.
A Call for Anthropological Poems From Within “Zones of Conflict”
SAPIENS is seeking poetry submissions for a curated collection that will publish in early 2024. Deadline September 15, 2023.
What Happens When Catholic Medals Become Mainstream Jewelry
Retailers are selling medallions cherished by Catholics who favor conservative gender roles. Are secular buyers sporting anti-feminist symbols?
Lost in Translation
Scientists Uplift Indigenous Human-Horse Histories
William Taylor and Yvette Running Horse Collin
An archaeologist and a Lakota genomics scientist explain how combining archaeology, DNA, and Indigenous knowledge can help revise colonial human-horse narratives largely associated with the western U.S.
Fair and Balanced—Weighing Coca With a
Jordan Dalton and Sarah Bennison
An Andean community’s use of weighing scales shows how meanings of fairness and justice differ across cultures.
What Indiana Jones Gets Right About Archaeology
As Dr. Jones returns to the big screen, a real archaeologist acknowledges the movie franchise's shortcomings while espousing its merits.
Collaborating So a 200-Year-Old Pipe Can Continue Its Work
Justin Jennings and Duke Peltier
A museum curator and a First Nations leader explain how a treaty pipe, sold at auction, exemplifies a new path for repatriations in Canada.
A multidisciplinary poet-scholar and suicide attempt and multi-suicide loss survivor unveils complex anthropological threads that shape suicidal ideation.
Do Washing Machines Belong in Kitchens? Many Brits Say “Yes.”
An anthropologist moves from Canada to the U.K. and finds herself reflecting on what home design patterns reveal about a society.
How Power Pervades Portrayals of Human Evolution
An evolutionary scholar examines racist and sexist depictions of human evolution that continue to permeate science, education, and popular culture.
Unearthing Culinary Pasts—With Help From Llama Poop
Katherine L. Chiou
A food archaeologist investigates everyday eating and lean times among the ancient Moche of Peru through a remarkable discovery of thousands of llama “beans.”
What Bigfoot Teaches Us About Public Mistrust of Science
In the 1960s, credentialed scientists, including physical anthropologists, hunted for the legendary Sasquatch. How did they fall for the hoax?
Feeling What We Are/
Delmar Ulises Méndez-Gómez
An anthropologist and writer from the Tseltal community speaks back to a colonialist history of suppression—instead claiming his identity, language, and people.
Excavating a 19th-Century Detroit Saloon
A filmmaker highlights the work of urban archaeologists who are excavating the site of a woman-owned business that opened in the late 1800s.
Why Nahua Pilgrims Carry Thousands of Papers Up Sacred Peaks
Alan Sandstrom and Pamela Effrein Sandstrom
Along mountain pilgrimages, two anthropologists learn how an Indigenous Mesoamerican religion helps people practice a reciprocal relationship with the Earth.
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An editorially independent anthropology magazine of the Wenner-Gren Foundation
& University of Chicago Press