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Showing blog posts tagged with "Anthropology"

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Cycle of Life

From the Collections posts

Curator Laurel Kendall was visiting Vietnam to collect artifacts for the 2003 exhibition Vietnam: Journeys of Body, Mind, and Spirit when she encountered an exceptional artisan near Hanoi. His medium was paper, and his specialty was creating votive offerings used in funeral rituals by the Kinh people, Vietnam’s majority population.

The Kinh, in common with some other East Asian peoples, believe that a deceased leaves the underworld 49 days after death to begin a new life. Family members burn paper objects—representing  clothing, housewares, and other necessities—to equip their loved ones for the transition to the afterlife.

Tags: Anthropology, From the Collections

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Lab Confidential: Conserve and Protect

Research posts

Each of the 41 intriguing images in Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies tells a fascinating story about research or conservation projects. Here’s the third in a series of four snapshots.

For the past year, a 7-foot-tall totem of an eagle has towered over the well-ordered tables of the Museum’s Objects Conservation Lab, the special department within the Division of Anthropology charged with protecting its collections for future study.

Tags: Anthropology

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A Lumholtz Legacy: Tarahumara Mask

From the Collections posts

For the first expedition organized by the Museum’s Division of Anthropology, to the Sierra Madre range in Mexico in 1890, the Museum recruited a researcher with a truly global resume.

Born near Lillehammer, Norway, Carl Sophus Lumholtz was an ethnologist and naturalist with an intense interest in people and their environments. A pioneer of the participant-observation technique, he had come to the Museum’s attention for his work in Australia, where he spent four years learning the customs of the indigenous Australians while collecting botanical and zoological specimens.

Tags: Anthropology

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New Book by Museum Anthropologist

News posts

Located high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the now-deserted Inka city of Huánuco Pampa was a place of festivals, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from the surrounding area. Only a few hundred people lived in the city year-round, working to prepare the massive complex for religious and political social functions. This unique urban center is explored in a book recently released as a volume of the Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History.

Tags: Anthropology

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Curious Collections: Chocolate Pots from Chaco Canyon

News posts

More than 100 years after joining the Museum’s archaeological collection, a remarkable set of 11th-century pottery excavated in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon is at the center of a delicious discovery.

Found at Pueblo Bonito, one of the great ceremonial complexes of the Ancestral Pueblo peoples, the rare ceramics were collected for the Museum by George Pepper at the turn of last century. Only recently, however, have researchers looked to the set to search for chemical traces of the vessels’ long-lost contents. The results were electrifying: tests revealed the presence of theobromine, the biomarker for cacao, confirming the earliest known use of chocolate north of the Mexican border.

Tags: Anthropology

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