Articles on Anthropology

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Rose and Groote Eylandters Nertichunga, Machana and Nabia, Groote Eylandt, 1941. Courtesy of SLNSW, Frederick Rose papers, Box 5

The red professor and the white anting that continues to this day

The book Red Professor: the Cold War Life of Fred Rose tells of a progressive anthropologist who was stymied by non-Indigenous people in powerful positions. Sadly, it's a narrative that still resonates today.
Watercolour painting of a Haida painted wooden mask. Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford 2014.89.1a

Here’s why you should care about the scrapping of A-level anthropology

With the refugee crisis, Brexit, and the rise of populist extremism, we must defend the teaching of anthropology. And in doing so, we might expand and rethink ideas of "the humanities".
Volume rendered image of the external morphology of the foot bone shows the extent of expansion of the primary bone cancer beyond the surface of the bone. Patrick Randolph-Quinney (UCLAN)

What can a 1.7-million-year-old hominid fossil teach us about cancer?

Cancer is a deadly disease and would have been particularly lethal before the recent development of effective treatments. So why didn’t it – or our susceptibility to it – die out long ago?
This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man, carefully sculpted around the morphological features of his skull, suggests how he may have looked alive nearly 9,000 years ago. Brittney Tatchell, Smithsonian Institution

Kennewick Man will be reburied, but quandaries around human remains won’t

A 9,000-year-old skeleton became a high-profile and highly contested case for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. How do we respectfully deal with ancient human remains?
Ancient human figures painted in red on a rock shelter in northern Australia (Source: Google Art Project, Griffith University). Wikimedia Commons

Ancient Australia: world’s first nation of innovators

For the first couple of centuries of European occupation of Australia the history of its Indigenous people, as written by white fellas, drew heavily on adjectives like ‘primitive’. As both a white fella…
On the hunt for other cultures. Shutterstock/Gorosi

What does an anthropologist actually do?

Ask any anthropologist what they do and they will find it hard to give you a direct answer. But it ultimately comes down to studying people and their culture.
Yuttasak Jannarong / shutterstock

Have humans always gone to war?

Archaeological remains, traditional tribes and conflict among chimpanzees can tell us much about the history of human warfare.
Illustration of ritualised human sacrifice in traditional Hawaiian culture, as documented by the French explorer and artists Jaques Arago in 1819. Arago, Jacques. (1822). Promenade autour du monde: pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820, sur les corvettes du roi l’Uranie et la Physicienne, commandées par M. Freycinet

Why did early human societies practice violent human sacrifice?

Human sacrifice seems horrifying and costly. But there might be a reason so many early human societies practiced it.

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