Ethnography

With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront

North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

What are the feathers in those Amazonian headdresses?

Working at The Field Museum, I get to see some pretty special things. Whether it's because of rarity, antiquity, or something that's just plain weird, the museum provides surprises in abundance. Today was one of those days where routine gave way to surprise when Dylan Lott, a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), showed up needing help identifying feathers. These weren't just any feathers, they were feathers attached to incredible artifacts that a UIC professor had collected from an Amazonian tribe called the Parintintin in the late 1960s.

Science at FMNH : Ep. 43 - Ancient Trade and Exchange in East Africa

Why do people trade? How and what ways have trade, traders, and trading communities influenced society? These are the big questions of Dr. Chap Kusimba's research.  One way that Dr. Kusimba tries to answer these questions is by studying the trade and exchange of glass beads and ceramics across the Indian Ocean from 700 A.D. to 1500 A.D.

Video: Conserving Sticky

J. P. Brown is the Regenstein Conservator for Pacific Anthropology at The Field Museum and his job is to maintain and preserve the objects housed in our Anthropology collections. In this case, JP is using CT Scan technology to understand how the figure of a seated man from the Pacific island of Malekula (Republic of Vanuatu) was constructed. By revealing the different layers that make this fascinating handcraft, JP will be able to make decisions on how to store it properly so future generations can also enjoy it and keep preserving it.

Science at FMNH : Ep. 42 – The Production of Maya Blue

Dr. Gary Feinman, Professor Dean Arnold (Wheaton College) and museum colleagues used elemental analysis to unlock some of the secrets to the productions of Maya Blue - a pigment that the Mayans used to decorate objects, such as murals and ceramics, and paint human sacrifices at Chichén Itza.

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