Anthropologists, linguists and enthnographers were among the first to adopt sound recording as a tool for research. Physicist Carl Haber of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed technology to restore and preserve historic sound recordings, including California Native American languages, songs and stories that were recorded in the early 1900s on wax cylinders.

(via anthrocentric)


Somaliland was a part of the former Republic of Somalia. For 21 years until his fall, the regime of Mohammed Siad Barre carried out massacres against the people of Somaliland. About 60,000 civilians were killed, thousands were victims of enforced disappearance, and 500,000 individuals were displaced before the declaration of independence, in 1991.

Since its independence, Somaliland has managed to secure the political stability, economic and social development needed to investigate the atrocities committed in the past, through a War Crimes Investigation Commission (WCIC) of 6 members. The forensic Field School in Hargeisa will help to determine the universe of missing people through a systematic approach, ante mortem data collection and research of mass and clandestine graves.

Accepting applications until August 31st, 2014.


CHEPÉN, Peru — A small remote-controlled helicopter buzzed over ancient hilltop ruins here, snapping hundreds of photographs. Below, stone walls built more than a thousand years ago by the Moche civilization gave way to a grid of adobe walls put up only recently by what officials said were land speculators.

“This site is threatened on every side,” said Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, Peru’s vice minister of cultural heritage as he piloted the drone aircraft.

Archaeologists around the world, who have long relied on the classic tools of their profession, like the trowel and the plumb bob, are now turning to the modern technology of drones to defend and explore endangered sites. And perhaps nowhere is the shift happening as swiftly as in Peru, where Dr. Castillo has created a drone air force to map, monitor and safeguard his country’s ancient treasures.

mod note: we had a drone on site this year and it certainly added another dimension to fieldwork.



If you’re British or thinking of studying in Britain and are considering anthropology degrees, check out our league tables as rated by the Guardian. The ratings are based on satisfaction, student staff ratio, spending per student, and whether students found a career within 6 months after graduating. 

Hopefully this may help someone out!

"The culture of a people is an ensemble of texts, themselves ensembles, which the anthropologist strains to read over the shoulders of those to whom they properly belong."

— Clifford Geertz (1973: 452)

(Source: akitla)

"Rescuing particular locales—a battlefield, a mass grave, or a prison—from oblivion is not enough. Archaeology has to guard against their trivialization and preserve their aura. It must keep memory in place, but at the same time it must work against the saturation of memory"

— Alfredo González‐Ruibal 2008, Time to Destroy: An Archaeology of Supermodernity



Walrus Ivory

This is a short section of walrus ivory. Note the indent running the length of the piece. This is a usual feature found on the inner portion of the tusk nearest to the animal. In noting a slight tapering on the right side, this is suggestive for this piece to be one of a left walrus tusk.

When viewing the cross-section of the walrus tusk, three layers are visible. There is the outer cementum, in the middle there is the primary dentin, and at the center, the secondary dentin. This inner layer is often noted to have a “grapey” appearance.

When creating tools, such as harpoon heads or drills, the best portion of the ivory to use is the primary dentin. This is the least brittle and most uniformly structured portion of the tusk. 

In cross-section, walrus ivory can be easily distinguished against mammoth ivory by the presence of Schreger Lines in the mammoth ivory. These are “V” shaped lines which appear at 90 degrees or less in mammoths, and greater than 115 degrees in modern elephants.

Mammoth ivory in cross-section:


Modern elephant ivory in cross-section:


"I see anthropology – all anthropology, even its most hard-headedly positivist variants - as always inextricably engaged with the practice of writing."

— Stuart McClean, anthropologist, in an interview with Cultural Anthropology (via literary-ethnography)


amplivagant said: Hi! So.. I am interested in biological anthropology as my major... my biggest question is about careers. going into college in the fall, people automatically jump to "oh so what about after college". i want to get at least a graduate degree if not phd. my question is, what are some careers you've heard of that are NOT academic. becoming a tenured professor is not what i'm looking for... any real life examples? etc?


Just letting you know, getting a PhD almost completely limits you to an academic career. That’s one of the dilemnas of applying to graduate school. The question of “Should I apply for a MA or PhD program” becomes “Do I want to do applied or be stuck in academia.” If you don’t want a job in academia, don’t get a PhD (exceptions exceptions! I know there’s exceptions). And then when you try to get a job, you don’t need to market yourself as an anthropologist, but rather someone trained in anthropology

It’s a bit confusing and pretty difficult to think long term regarding anthropology if you aren’t already immersed in those courses. Anthropology, I cannot state enough, is a ridiculously large and holistic field. I love it, but sometimes it’s entirely too encompassing. It can touch literally anything. Even its sub-fields are also exceedingly broad. 

For biological anthropology, consider what it is you’re interested in. And take a shitton of classes in that area and a shitton of classes in other disciplines semi-related to that area. 

Now for actual careers related to biological anthropology:

  • Forensics. Now this one is tricky. Depending on where you’re applying, the exact position, and what you will actually be doing the qualifications for this is different. Overall, they’re 1. Hella impossible to get (I was told by an FBI forensics specialist, special agent, and their supervisor that an FBI spot doesn’t open unless someone dies and even then they already almost always have a candidate in mind), 2. depending exactly what you want to do, you might have to go to med school, 3. you will need to get specialized degrees and possibly even a PhD for this. 
  • CRM (Cultural Resource Management). More relevant to archaeologists but bear with me a moment. It does not necessarily require a MA or PhD depending on where you are and what position you’re applying for.
  • Bioarchaeologists. This is, for the most part, academic. There are some people who like to dig and not do the academic writing and stress related things, but they usually work for CRM’s or other things like that and are called/hired to help/consult on digs.
  • There’s of course, always lab techs. Which are also heavily sought for. You’ll have to be diligent about those. 
  • Applied Anthropometry. So the private sector is always a good place to go to. You will work with engineers and designers to create biomechanics engineered for humans. (coughNASAcough)
  • Museums! Don’t forget the museums route. It’s also super, super competitive and I’m sure the museum people on Tumblr, while nice and amazing as they are, would probably kill you if you take their job from them. 
  • Public Health/Global Health/Epidemiology. Do I even need to go into detail with this? You’ll usually need at least an MPH for these jobs, but oh boy would it be worth it. 
  • Medical Anthropology. Speaking of health, there’s medical anthropology. Usually requires a PhD and is for the most part academic, but there are definitely applied programs and organizations that definitely needs medical anthropologists. 
  • Zookeeper and Research. You can be a zookeeper! Or you can also do animal research in a captive setting. It’s pretty great, but I’m also biased here. 
  • Conservation. Now that we’ve started talking about animals, you can consider doing conservation work. Usually conservation work is publicized as helping just the animals, but actually, it’s so much more than that. It’s helping the animals, ecology, and the people living there. But again, I am also pretty biased. 

No matter where you end up going, there’s always a lot of options, but the problem is whether or not those options are open and available to you. While this is something that seems like an issue to just anthropology majors, it’s not necessarily the case — this problem applies to literally everyone of all fields. The job market is scary and it’s always uncertain whether or not you will make it regardless of your major. You just gotta buckle down and get to know as many people as possible, because in the end, your connections and relationships to others is potentially what will decide your unemployment status. 

Best of luck!


Anonymous said: hi, do you have any good articles on rehabilitating primates?


Yes, there’s a good bit of work on rehabilitating primates — as for papers, I’ll see what I can do. There’s also some research on re-introductions, but I’m always a bit hesitant on those because, although it is with good intentions, re-introductions don’t always work.

Rehabilitation and Reintroduction 

"Emotions are materially constituted and material culture is emotionally constituted (p. 39)"

— Gosden, C., 2004: Aesthetics, intelligence, and emotions. Implications for
archaeology, in E. Demarrais, C. Gosden and C. Renfrew (eds), Rethinking materiality. The engagement of mind with the material world, 33–40, Cambridge.



Why we are not all multiregionalists now

  • by Chris Stringer

"Recent revelations that human genomes contain DNA introgressed through interbreeding with archaic populations outside of Africa have led to reassessments of models for the origins of our species. The fact that small portions of the DNA of recent Homo sapiens derive from ancient populations in more than one region of the world makes our origins ‘multiregional’, but does that mean that the multiregional model of modern human origins has been proved correct? The extent of archaic assimilation in living humans remains modest, and fossil evidence outside of Africa shows little sign of the long-term morphological continuity through to recent humans expected from the multiregional model. Thus, rather than multiregionalism, a recent African origin (RAO) model for modern humans is still supported by the data” (read more/open access).

(Open access source: Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29(5):248-251, 2014; bottom image: National Geographic)


This is awesome!

(Source: anthropologyadventures)

"Anthropology should, I believe, lead us to question, not to confirm, our own presumptions."

— Vincent Crapanzano - Tuhami (via sensationalsegue)

"The materiality of the material world and of the workaday world is far too easily taken for granted, especially in societies with advanced technology. What is required now as the world lurches toward ecological and political self-destruction is continuous surprise as to the material facts of Being."

— Michael Taussig 2004