Blogs & Videos: Living Cultures

Left: Pieces of eggshell and small bones laid out in rows. Right: A young boy and an older woman carry live turkeys by the feet through a market.

Archaeological Excavation Unearths Evidence of Turkey Domestication 1,500 Years Ago

The turkeys we’ll be sitting down to eat on Thursday have a history that goes way back. Archaeologists have unearthed a clutch of domesticated turkey eggs used as a ritual offering 1,500 years ago in Oaxaca, Mexico—some of the earliest evidence of turkey domestication.

Saving a River from Poison

The Putumayo River is home to some of the purest water in the Amazon basin—but maybe not for long. The huge Amazon tributary forms the border between Colombia and Peru, draining from giant Amazonian forests, orchid-covered peatlands, and, most presciently, soil bearing traces of gold. But mining that gold has the unfortunate side-effect of poisoning the water with mercury.

I had the same question

Since November I have spent my Fridays combing through the Museum’s vast China collection. Though we have thousands of vases, jades, and theatrical masks we only get to share a few in the new China exhibition. The first time I see an object from our collection my head fills with a million questions. But, those questions vanish by the time I finish the task of photographing and processing that object.

Using Modern Technology to Construct Ancient Ritual

Ceremonial structures like the 5,000-year-old temples I have been investigating at Huaricanga are marvels to behold. Often such buildings are well-maintained and represent the dedicated effort of ancient individuals who invested considerable time and materials in their construction. Walls and doorways tend to have elaborate decorations as well. When discovered, temples and churches receive quite a bit of attention from public media. 

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