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Anthropology headlines in CAS News

  • New study suggests Mayas utilized market-based economics

    More than 500 years ago in the midwestern Guatemalan highlands, Maya people bought and sold goods with far less oversight from their rulers than many archeologists previously thought.

    That’s according to a new study in Latin American Antiquity that shows the ruling K’iche’ elite took a hands-off approach when it came to managing the procurement and trade of obsidian by people outside their region of central control.

    In these areas, access to nearby sources of obsidian, a glasslike rock used to make tools and weapons, was managed by local people through independent and diverse acquisition networks. Overtime, the availability of obsidian resources and the prevalence … » More …

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  • What is anxiety?

    National Public Radio’s Rhitu Chatteriee interviewed WSU anthropology professor Ed Hagen, among others, to expand understanding of anxiety.


    Americans are anxious. Nearly three years of a pandemic, political unrest and ongoing economic instability have left people feeling fearful, ill at ease. This week, we’re spending some time understanding anxiety. We will kick off the series with a simple question – what is anxiety? NPR’s health correspondent Rhitu Chatterjee went looking for the answer and brings us this story.

    RHITU CHATTERJEE: Most of us have experienced anxiety at some point in our lives, and we know how it shows up in our bodies … » More …

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  • Ancient dart throwing provides introduction to experimental archeology

    The first complex weapon system developed by humans is helping Washington State University students learn about both ancient technological innovation and modern-day experimental archeology.

    Originating in Europe over 30,000 years ago, the “atlatl” consists of a short stick or board with a cup at one end that enables the wielder to throw a dart further and with more force than a spear. The weapon pre-dates the bow and is still used around the world today to hunt large game.

    On a cloudy afternoon earlier this semester on the Thompson Flats at WSU Pullman, students in Shannon Tushingham’s archeological methods and interpretation class had the unique … » More …

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  • We’ve Been Worried About Overpopulation for Millenia

    Our population has just reached 8 billion people, but we are not the first ones to worry about overpopulation.

    In November 2022, the United Nations announced that for the first time the world’s population had reached 8 billion people. The milestone, says the organization, is both a unique opportunity to celebrate our diversity and to understand our shared responsibly in taking care of the planet. It matters more than ever because while the number of humans is growing, the world’s resources are shrinking because of climate change.

    But overpopulation isn’t a new problem — it’s been around long before the number of … » More …

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  • Cultural sites are being revealed by a dwindling Lake Powell

    More cultural sites have been revealed, presenting new challenges to land managers as well as opportunities for new archaeological research.

    As Lake Powell began to fill in 1963, the Sierra Club published a best-selling coffee table book that featured photographer Eliot Porter’s images of Glen Canyon.

    The book’s title, “The Place No One Knew,” framed a narrative that would find its way into future conservationist elegies for the Colorado River canyon in southern Utah.

    Glen Canyon, the story went, was in such a wild, remote part of the United States that nobody — from lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to Bureau of Reclamation engineers to activists … » More …

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