Anthropology

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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.
3D virtual reconstruction of two-million-year-old ear. Rolf Quam

Testing ancient human hearing via fossilized ear bones

Beyond the cool factor of figuring out hominin hearing capacities two million years ago, these findings could help answer the tantalizing question of when did human vocalized language first emerge.
isaravut/Shutterstock.com

Review: Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island is certainly an epoch-defining novel, at least inasmuch as it revolves around the task of defining our epoch.
Excavating stone artifacts that date from 3.3 million years ago in Kenya. MPK-WTAP

Our stone tool discovery pushes back the archaeological record by 700,000 years

Stone tools excavated in Kenya date back 3.3 million years – making them about a million years older than the oldest known fossils from our own hominid genus Homo. Who made and used these tools?
Films such as Avatar idealise indigenous people as Noble Savages, enjoying simple and uncorrupted lifestyles until contact with colonisers. Nicole Hanusek

Anthropologists do well in movies, indigenous peoples not so much

In a recent study, of the 53 films watched that had at least one anthropologist as a character, just under half belonged to the horror genre. Why should that be the case? And how were indigenous peoples in those films portrayed?

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