There’s Always Next Year…

Thanks to the Maya Long Count calendar, the year 2012 has become something of a pop culture phenomenon.  You’ve probably seen plenty of TV, movie, and internet references to the upcoming “end of the world” on December 21st or December 23rd (it depends).  It’s a real bummer because the hope of “next year” is the... Continue Reading →

Happy Birthday Indy!

June 12th is the 30th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones remains the world’s most famous archaeologist.  How many real-life archaeologists are household names?  In honor of Indy's birthday, I’m posting a revised excerpt of an essay I wrote for the Society for American Archaeology’s Archaeology for the Public website several... Continue Reading →

The Anthropology of War

In light of the recent U.S. intervention in Libya, Scott Atran has a new post on the anthropology of war at Despite human attempts to conduct war in a calculated manner, he concludes that the decision to go to war is never completely rational. That is, war is more an emotional matter of status... Continue Reading →

Anthropocene Now?

By Jay Fancher To paraphrase Carl Sagan, science has a way of deflating human conceits.  Anthropology reveals that humans are special - just not for many of the reasons proposed throughout our history.  Thanks to biology, astronomy, and geology, we now know that: Modern humans are one species among many, not the pinnacle of all... Continue Reading →

Evolution 101: People Don’t Look Like Goats

On the lighter side of anthropology...  The Onion takes a satirical look at what outrageously pseudoscientific research into human origins might look like.  Their headline reads: "Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back To One Large Goat" 'Wait, That Can't Be Right,' Scientists Say" In addition to being funny, the article, by contrast, helps show the strict... Continue Reading →

It’s Food, I Think…

A hunter-gatherer mother sits stirring a pot of stew over an open fire.  Her young son, eagerly anticipating the evening meal, approaches the pot and asks, "What are we eating?"  "Not sure.  Meat, I think.  Probably some other stuff," she replies. Okay, I made that up.  The preceding exchange would never occur between hunter-gatherers.  Or... Continue Reading →

I Believe in Evolution

Do you believe in evolution?  Forty percent of Americans don't (more on that later).  A student asked me this question on day one of the first introductory anthropology class I ever taught.  I believe that any difficult-to-answer question is a good one, and this one baffled me with its simplicity. Short answer: yes, I believe... Continue Reading →

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