Anthropology / Everything Human

History Lost to Sea

Environment

  • 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 Human Palate

    King Ama Nune Benu of Boti sits on his porch, making a bag from fibers grown around him in the forests of West Timor, Indonesia.

    Airplane Food

    Late in January, I boarded a long-haul flight, 27 hours and 5 minutes, 9,405 miles, three connections. I packed emergency Larabars (food for quick energy), ordered gluten-free meals (a topic for discussion another day), and thought about my meeting with the king of Boti. Boti is a small kingdom in the Indonesian state of East Nusa Tenggara on the island of Timor. Centuries ago, this region was populated …

  • 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, …

  • In Flux

    The 18th- and 19th-century fur trade wiped out British Columbia’s sea otter population. The sea otter’s successful recovery today has led to a decline in shellfish in areas where the otters thrive, causing a crisis in sustainable fishing.

    Seafood Fight

    Indigenous peoples on the coast of British Columbia share a deep history with sea otters. But can the two coexist peacefully today?

  • Wanderers

    Anthropologists in Outer Space

    Anthropologists studying outer space might sound like fringe science, like something from “The X-Files” or some “ancient aliens” TV show, but we have been studying outer space as long as we’ve been studying people whose lives are influenced by it. In the fields of archaeoastronomy (how people understood the sky in the past) and ethnoastronomy (current cultural perceptions of the sky), scholars study how humans throughout history have …

  • Wanderers

    Wandering Among the Stars

    As we spend longer in space, and plan to set up human habitation on other worlds, it is no longer a question of whether humans will move into space, but when. Now is the time to ask what kind of future we imagine for humanity in outer space, and what that future will mean for life here on Earth.