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archaeology



  • David Graeber and David Wengrow Have Given Human History a Rewrite

    by William Deresiewicz

    A new effort at a synthesis of the sweep of human history upends what recent popularizers have presented as a progressive path from hunter-gatherer society to corporate capitalism by emphasizing choice, contingency, and the possibility of doing things differently.


  • 1920s "Tutmania" and its Enduring Echoes

    by Gill Paul

    A remarkable confluence of events and circumstances launched a cultural mania for ancient Egypt in Britain and the US with the 1922 discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. 



  • A Scholarly Screw-Up of Biblical Proportions

    by Ariel Sabar

    The author of a book on the high-profile forgery of papyrus fragments indicating Jesus had a wife discusses how an article based on those fraudulent documents passed peer review. 



  • It’s a Golden Age for Chinese Archaeology — And the West is Ignoring It

    by Rowan K. Flad

    Recent discoveries in Egypt have overshadowed more significant finds in China. This may reflect the romanticized popular culture image of colonial-era tomb-raiders, or the prevalent sense that Western civilization is derived from the Mediterranean world. It's time for a broader view of why the ancient world matters. 



  • What Doomed a Sprawling City Near St. Louis 1,000 Years Ago?

    New research shows little evidence that the civilization centered around Cahokia in the Mississippi valley caused its own demise by environmental mismanagement, indicating that perhaps "stories of great civilizations seemingly laid low by ecological hubris may say more about our current anxieties and assumptions than the archaeological record."



  • What Should Museums Do With the Bones of the Enslaved?

    The Smithsonian is considering how to deal with its natural history collection of human remains, including those of enslaved people. Secretary Lonnie Bunch III suggests that the museum must be guided by the imperative "to honor and remember."