Anthropology

Roughly two million years old, this tool, known as the Kanjera stone, was part of a new Stone Age technology that helped make better-fed, smarter hominins.
 

This Is the Oldest Human-Made Object in the Smithsonian Collections

Roughly two million years ago, simple items like the Kanjera tool sparked a revolution in the way humans lived

Part of the Field Museum’s new permanent exhibition "Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories."

Past Imperfect

Field Museum Confronts Its Outdated, Insensitive Native American Exhibition

Co-created with Indigenous partners, the new permanent installation reckons with past harm

Researchers dated the skulls to between 900 and 1200 C.E.

Skulls Thought to Belong to Modern Murder Victims Actually Date to the Pre-Hispanic Period

Found in a cave in Mexico in 2012, the 10th- through 13th-century bones may have been displayed in a ritual tower of craniums

Archaeologists found the calendar fragment among a total of 249 pieces of painted plaster and painted masonry block. 

Cool Finds

Fragment of Oldest-Known Maya Calendar Discovered in Guatemalan Pyramid

A glyph representing "7 Deer" marks the earliest known use of the historical system—for now

Archaeologists and members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe worked together on the project, which revealed the longstanding genetic roots of the region's Native peoples. 

Innovation for Good

This Native American Tribe Wants Federal Recognition. A New DNA Analysis Could Bolster Its Case

The new findings could help Mukwema Ohlone prove they never went "extinct"

In 51 B.C.E., Julius Caesar noted that people in Britain did not eat hares due to their religious significance.

The Ancient Origins of the Easter Bunny

A scholar traces the folk figure's history from the Neolithic era to today

The Roman elite viewed public toilets as an instrument that flushed the filth of the plebes out of their noble sight.

How the Ancient Romans Went to the Bathroom

A new book by journalist Lina Zeldovich traces the management of human waste—and underscores poop's potential as a valuable resource

Early Etruscans had advanced knowledge of art, farming and metallurgy, leading some historians to believe the civilization originated elsewhere before settling in what is now Italy. DNA analysis shows they were actually locals.

New Research

Where Did the Ancient Etruscans Come From?

A new DNA analysis suggests the enigmatic civilization was native to the Italian Peninsula

The Tuxtla statuette, discovered in Veracruz, Mexico, in 1902, now resides in the National Museum of Natural History.

What Secrets Does This 1,800-Year-Old Carved Stone Hold?

The Tuxtla Statuette illuminates an endangered Latin American culture

Edward Sherriff Curtis, Diomede Mother and Child

Trove of Unseen Photos Documents Indigenous Culture in 1920s Alaska

New exhibition and book feature more than 100 images captured by Edward Sherriff Curtis for his seminal chronicle of Native American life

A bone tool from Contrebandiers Cave likely used for making clothes out of the skin of predators.

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World's Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

The cranium of an adult male, likely 25 to 30 years old, shows healed trauma affecting the upper jaw. The injury was probably caused by a punch from another individual in a fight.

Human Remains From the Chilean Desert Reveal Its First Farmers Fought to the Death

Three thousand years ago desert dwellers fatally stabbed and bashed each other, possibly due to diminishing resources

A recreation of Dragon Man

A 146,000-Year-Old Fossil Dubbed 'Dragon Man' Might Be One of Our Closest Relatives

A mysterious Middle Pleistocene skull from a Chinese well has inspired debate among paleoanthropologists

While this year’s Arctic sea ice extended further than last year’s, there still wasn’t as much of it as there was only two decades ago. Thinner and younger sea ice in winter and less ice in the summer are two of the many elements of the Arctic’s new reality.

Smithsonian Voices

Climate Change Redefines Meaning of Normal in the Arctic

As Earth’s climate changes, people around the world are witnessing insidious changes and responding to their new normal

L to R: Zelia Nutall, Mary Mahoney and Bertha Parker

Women Who Shaped History

Looking Beyond the Female Firsts of Science History

Two authors ask readers to change their understanding of what science is and who gets to participate

The defeated Carthaginians constructed this Temple of Victory at Himera, Sicily, following the first Battle of Himera in 480 B.C.

Contrary to Popular Lore, Ancient Greek Armies Relied on Foreign Mercenaries

Scientists studying fifth-century B.C. soldiers' teeth found evidence of military support from faraway lands

“We think of fire often as this destructive tool,” says lead author Jessica Thompson. “That doesn’t have to be the case.”

Cool Finds

Did Stone Age Humans Shape the African Landscape With Fire 85,000 Years Ago?

New research centered on Lake Malawi may provide the earliest evidence of people using flames to improve land productivity

A virtual reconstruction of the child’s remains found in Panga ya Saidi cave in Kenya

Scientists Discover Oldest Known Human Grave in Africa

The unearthing of a tiny child suggests Africa’s Stone Age humans sometimes practiced funerary rites and had symbolic thoughts about death

The Sts’ailes forest garden near Vancouver, British Columbia seen from the air.

New Research

Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia Tended 'Forest Gardens'

Found near villages, research suggests the Indigenous population intentionally planted and maintained these patches of fruit and nut trees

Scientists excavate bones at Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria. Four modern human bones were recovered from this layer along with a rich stone tool assemblage, animal bones, bone tools and pendants.

Some of Europe's Oldest-Known Modern Humans Are Distantly Related to Native Americans

Genome sequencing shows some individuals share family ties with surprising populations, and all boast plenty of Neanderthal relatives

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