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Anthropology | CAS News and Events

Anthropology headlines in CAS News

  • Uncovering Ancient Maya

    In the third episode of season three, Mae and Alyssa interview Dr. Rachel Horowitz, assistant professor of anthropology at Washington State University.

    Listen in as Dr. Horowitz discusses how Classic Maya communities in Belize made and used chert stone tools, and what analyzing tool production processes can tell us about the ancient economy. Alyssa, Mae, and Dr. Horowitz discuss the broader socio-economic implications of chert quarrying and production and what stone tools can tell us about rituals related to the underworld.

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  • Are anxiety and depression social problems or chemical disorders?

    Two anthropologists question the chemical imbalance theory of mental health disorders.

    Twentieth-century science was supposed to change everything. Indeed, thanks to vaccinations, antibiotics, and improved sanitation, humans thrived like never before. Yet in that mix was thrown pharmacological treatments for mental health disorders. On that front, little progress has been made.

    It can be argued—it is being argued, in a new paper in American Journal of Physical Anthropology—that we’re regressing in our fight against mental health problems. As Kristen Syme, a PhD student in evolutionary anthropology, and Washington State University anthropology professor Edward Hagen argue, psychopharmacological treatments are increasing alongside mental health disorder diagnoses. If … » More …

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  • Guide on how to use climate data to inform human adaptation

    A framework for combining climate and social data could help scientists better support climate change adaptation ahead of future weather-related disasters.

    The Washington State University-led research draws on the expertise of climate and social scientists to show how data on different characteristics of climate variability can be used to study the effectiveness of various human responses to climate change. It could ultimately help policymakers and organizations determine where and under what conditions different climate adaptations have worked in the past and where they may work in the future.

    “Our framework enables researchers across many fields to better study the relationship between characteristics of climate and … » More …

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  • Modernizing an archaeological map collection for the next generation

    In 1972, two archaeologists began a project on Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah. The project combined their interests in settlement patterns and statistical applications to archaeology based on probabilistic sampling theory. Little could the two archaeologists know that the project would lead to a 50-year collaboration that resulted in numerous significant contributions to the field of southwestern archaeology, or that Cedar Mesa itself would become involved in a contemporary fight for Indigenous control of ancestral lands as part of Bears Ears National Monument.

    Bill Lipe brought the Cedar Mesa project to Washington State University when he joined the faculty in 1976. By the time he … » More …

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  • Aging societies more vulnerable to collapse

    Societies and political structures, like the humans they serve, appear to become more fragile as they age, according to an analysis of hundreds of pre-modern societies. The study, which holds implications for the modern world, provides the first quantitative support for the theory that resilience of political states decreases over time.

    Triggers of societal collapse have been well studied and vary from conquest and coups to earthquakes and droughts. This new study shows that the risk of states ending because of these events increased steeply over the first two centuries after they were formed. The research identifies several mechanisms that could drive these aging effects, … » More …

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