I’ve been working all day and working all night. I’ve been schooling all day and schooling all night. Life’s been busy, but looking up 🙌
#work #newdepartment #school #college #collegelife #philosophy #philosophymajor #anthropology #archeology #afistfullofglitter #busy #allnight #vegan #lgbtpride #mygif #selfie #me

For real though, I love picturing myself as a skeleton getting my dirt nap on when all of a sudden the earth above me starts to get scraped away trowel layer by trowel layer.

“PLACES, EVERYONE!” I shout to my various bits.  Roughly 5 feet south, all of my tarsals and metatarsals quickly pawn off their playing cards on some hapless nearby worm and scramble back into rough anatomical order.  “THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD!”

And then the archaeologist uncovers my hands clenched tightly around the metal tablet of nonsense symbols I’ve had pre-made and buried with me just for this exact day and I am the subject of many a conspiracy theory and frustrated grad student’s tear-stained thesis for generations to come.

Yesterday the forensic anthropology team at our Museum of Natural History announced the discovery of four early leaders of historic Jamestown found buried under a excavated church. 

Over on smithsonian3d‘s website, you can explore the site in 3D and take interactive tours created by our anthropologists as they guide you through how they used forensics and historical records to identify these men

Oldest Neanderthal DNA Found in Italian Skeleton

by Charles Q. Choi

The calcite-encrusted skeleton of an ancient human, still embedded in rock deep inside a cave in Italy, has yielded the oldest Neanderthal DNA ever found.

These molecules, which could be up to 170,000 years old, could one day help yield the most complete picture yet of Neanderthal life, researchers say.

Although modern humans are the only remaining human lineage, many others once lived on Earth. The closest extinct relatives of modern humans were the Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and Asia until they went extinct about 40,000 years ago. Recent findings revealed that Neanderthals interbred with ancestors of today’s Europeans when modern humans began spreading out of Africa — 1.5 to 2.1 percent of the DNA of anyone living outside Africa today is Neanderthal in origin…

(read more: Live Science)

photograph by Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Superintendent of the Archeology of Puglia


Some murals from Cacaxtla, Tlaxcala. The settlement was founded by the Olmeca-Xicalanca people who may have been Maya settlers. Cacaxtla may have been involved in the abandonment of Cholula at the end of the Classic period which forced the Cholulans to retreat to a hilltop settlement to defend themselves.

Stunning Viking sword unearthed: 
Warrior who brandished the ornate weapon may have been chosen by King Canute for English battle.

For Viking warriors, swords were not only deadly weapons, but a symbol of power.

A unique example with gold details and a mysterious inscription has been unearthed in southern Norway.

Experts believe the elaborate weapon could belong to one of King Canute’s hand-picked men who fought in battles with King Ethelred of England.

The sword, found in the village of Langeid in 2011 but has not go on display until now, dates from the late Viking age and is embellished with gold, inscriptions and other designs.

It measures 37 inches (94cm) long with a well-preserved handle and is thought to have belonged to a wealthy man because of the use of precious materials.

The weapon was pulled from a grave in a Viking burial ground by archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo.

Keep reading

Calusa: An Aquaculture Kingdom

A tribe we call the Calusa lived in southern Florida since at least 100 CE. They grew into a local power, getting tribute from nearby tribes and building monuments that remain today as testaments to their might.

  • the Calusa depended on the sea, not agriculture, for its food surplus. They fished along the Gulf Coast estuaries and harvested rich shellfish beds.
  • wide and well-tended waterways likely functioned much like streets in a modern town, only for canoes instead of cars
  • “water courts” or large square pools on either side of the main canals, were kept filled with fish. It is believed the water courts were kept as food reserves to feed the city’s large population
  • the Calusa believed each person had three souls—one was their shadow, a second was their reflection, and a third was in the pupils of their eyes
  • the Calusa began expanding around the 1200s CE
  • another neighboring coastal group, the Tocobaga, were also rising in power around this time, and perhaps the Calusa centralized to counter their growing might
  • their capital city was a 51-hectare artificial island constructed almost entirely from oyster, clam, and other shells, called Mount Key
  • the first smaller Spanish forces that landed during and after 1517 were easily chased away by the superior Calusa strength
  • the next 200 years, an increasingly embattled Calusa fought off the Spanish and rival tribes’ attacks, who evened their odds with British firearms

The end came when British slavers in the region offered other native groups, such as the Creek and Yamasee people, a musket for every captive they brought in, they frequently turned up with Calusa men and women. The cities which had survived the past two centuries of intermittent warfare were wiped out within one or two generations.

The Kalash are fascinating. Kalash people are a non-Muslim aboriginal minority living on the fringes of northern Pakistan, the only ones not following the religion in all of Pakistan. Their genetic makeup is so pure and distinct, that they are unlike other human races, thanks to their evolving DNA and rare alleles. Their isolation have helped them to preserve their culture. Even more interesting, most don’t look Caucasian like this girl, but their gene pool creates great variation.