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We’re shaking things up this year, and instead of doing a ThanksViking episode, we’re peeking into the world of Maya and Aztec art and writing. The Maya wrote using a system of around 800 glyphs--the Aztecs used as many as 2,000. We won’t get to ALL of these, but we’ll talk about how these writing systems developed, how they were used, and the role…
 
Come along for an exploration of anti-languages and the qualities that make them successful in building community and maintaining safety among the people that develop them. From occupational jargon to survival as a marginalized group to being hip with the kids, we tour a few of these languages, and subject everyone to a 16th century dialogue with t…
 
Anna and Amber are joined by wonderful Special Guest, Kyle Jordan! Kyle is a disabled Egyptologist interested in themes of religion, magic and identity in the Egyptian world, with a specific focus on the appearance and interpretation of disability in Ancient Egypt and Egyptology as a discipline. We had a wonderful-- and long-- conversation with Kyl…
 
Thanks to everyone who came out to our virtual live show! This is the edited audio of that event. We talk about the role of ritual in daily life, how our big round human brains have evolved the ability to think about abstract meaning and ritual significance, and the theory underpinning all of this. We also take a trip to two incredible archaeologic…
 
We explore the evolutionary roots of fear, and the science of how it works. Why do some people love thrills and chills, while others don't? Why does fear make us stinky? And how can we think about something as personal and ephemeral as fear in the archaeological record? Links Why We Physically Feel Fear (University of West Alabama) The biology of f…
 
This week, we lift our spirits (oooOOOooo) with a round-up of monsters. We explore their origins and effects on us, with examples ranging from memories of very real things in the past to a hypothesis that doesn't quite have legs (unlike griffins). Links Why we'll always be obsessed with – and afraid of – monsters (The Conversation) Why the scariest…
 
This week, we're taking a turn for the cryptid and spooking local with the legend of West Virginia native son, the Mothman. For a little over a year leading up to December 1967, sightings of a winged humanoid with glowing eyes were reported in and around Point Pleasant, WV. Since then, Mothman has evolved from evil omen to legend to meme. In this e…
 
SPOOKTOBER HAS BEGUN! This week, we discuss the trope in myth, legend, horror, and adjacent genres of feral children. We won't be directly discussing actual cases of trauma, neglect, or child abuse, but rather the place of the bestial feral child in the mythology of different ancient cultures all the way up to a more recent timeline. Why do these s…
 
This week, Anna and Amber are joined by Andrew Gurza, disabled content creator and fellow podcaster, to talk about disability and care in the ancient world. We talk with Andrew about the need for disabled voices in archaeology, his path to podcasting, and some archaeological case studies that show that humans have always taken care of one another. …
 
Dr. Danielle Macdonald specializes in the prehistory of Western Asia and the stone tools that people made and used in their everyday lives. That’s right, three years in, we’re finally doing an episode on lithics! We’ll also talk about Danielle’s path to anthropology and her ongoing work at the site of Kharaneh IV in what's today Jordan. Links Follo…
 
It’s the episode title that’s been making us giggle for months! We’re FINALLY examining the famous Chalcolithic ice-mummy just in time for the 30th anniversary of hikers stumbling upon his body. We’ll explore the archaeological methods and evidence that tell us about who Ötzi was, what his life was like, and how he died. Umlauts will, no doubt, abo…
 
Remember that time we did a whole series on the human family tree and then finished talking about evolution forever because we were all done? HA! OF COURSE WE AREN'T DONE! There have been some amazing new discoveries in the human fossil record since that series dropped, so we're here to update you on what our family shrubbery looks like now. We jou…
 
This week, Amber tells Anna the story of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, who, mid-kinging, tootled off to the Arabian desert for a decade to worship the moon god, Sin. But is that the whole story? Of course not. Tune in to learn what Nabonidus was maybe really doing out there. Links Cuneiform inscription from last king of Babylon discovered in Saudi Ar…
 
This week, Anna and Amber take a tour of some of the libraries of the ancient world. We visit Mesopotamia for the origins of writing and the heartland of administrative paperwork, hit up Africa for the oral traditions of the Griots, browse the stacks of oracle bones in China, and...yes, talk about the Library of Alexandria. Links The Origins of Wri…
 
It's our 150th episode! Wow! This week we're starting our Back To School series with a short primer on stratigraphy. How do archaeologists divide a site into time periods? How did people first figure out that layers of sediment accumulate over time through different processes? How many dirt/soil/sediment puns is Anna capable of making in roughly fo…
 
This week, we’ve got an episode that started off as a funny title and became a topic. There are many possible reasons for abandoning a site, and there are plenty of examples from the archaeological record. We’ll look into evidence for climate change, conflict, natural disaster, and other reasons for abandonment (not all at once; that sounds like a …
 
This week, Anna and Amber sit down with archaeologist, podcaster, and member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Carlton Shield Chief Gover. We talk about his path to archaeology, an Indigenous perspective on archaeology as history and heritage, how to prank your site supervisor, and more! Contact Email the Dirt Podcast: thedirtpodcast@gmail.com Arch…
 
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