Curating the collections with communities and scholars

Anthropology Curation Portal

Welcome to the Anthropology Collections Curation Portal! Know something we don’t know about objects in the anthropology collections at the Field Museum? Please use this portal to add new information to the Museum’s collections database.

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Published: July 1, 2013

Floor Stains and Ancient Ales

What do floor stains and ancient ales have in common? Well, archaeologists use similar techniques when analyzing residues on ancient surfaces or reconstructing prehistoric beer recipes.

Published: April 10, 2013

Putting Heads Together

Jared Berent, Media Producer

Properly piecing together a rare early human skull (12,000 to 15,000 years old!) is a difficult task, but Robert Martin and JP Brown are pioneering the usage of medical technologies to give us a better picture of what Magdalenian Woman really looked like.

Properly piecing together a rare early human skull (12,000 to 15,000 years old!) is a difficult task, but Robert Martin and JP Brown are pioneering the usage of medical technologies to give us a better picture of what Magdalenian Woman really looked like.

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Published: April 2, 2013

Using Modern Technology to Construct Ancient Ritual

Matthew Piscitelli, Graduate Research Assistant

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. 

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. 


Matthew Piscitelli

I am an anthropological archaeologist investigating the role of religion in the emergence of social complexity. How do early leaders use religious ritual as a base of power? Why do many societies across the globe develop a tradition of building ceremonial architecture as they transition from hunting and gathering to sedentary agricultural villages? For my dissertation research I used modern scientific techniques to reconstruct ancient religious rituals at the Late Archaic (3000-1800 B.C.) of Huaricanga along the north-central coast of Peru. To learn more about this investigation, please visit the Huaricanga Archaeological Research Project (HARP) website.

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Published: November 7, 2012

Flakes, Cores, and Groundstones Oh My!

Thanks to the generous support of the Field Museum's Women's Board, I have been able to purchase a high-powered microscope to conduct micro-analysis of stone tools from the Late Archaic (3,000-1,800 B.C.) site of Huaricanga in the Fortaleza Valley of Peru's north-central coast. The Late Archaic is also known as the Late Preceramic because it was a epoch BEFORE the advent of ceramics in ancient Peru. Therefore, stone tools represent the predominate artifact recovered from archaeological digs.

Thanks to the generous support of the Field Museum's Women's Board, I have been able to purchase a high-powered microscope to conduct micro-analysis of stone tools from the Late Archaic (3,000-1,800 B.C.) site of Huaricanga in the Fortaleza Valley of Peru's north-central coast. The Late Archaic is also known as the Late Preceramic because it was a epoch BEFORE the advent of ceramics in ancient Peru. Therefore, stone tools represent the predominate artifact recovered from archaeological digs.

Published: August 30, 2012

Piecing Together Early Societies

Katherine Webbink, Information Systems Specialist, Information Technology

Bill Parkinson studies 6500-year-old societies in eastern Europe. How did those societies form? How have they changed into the world we see today? How can anthropologists find out about them after all this time, with all the dirt, mud, and rocks in the way? It seems to take a village--a multidisciplinary, long-term village of devoted researchers including Attila Gyucha and Rick Yerkes with the Koros Regional Archaeological Project. 

Bill Parkinson studies 6500-year-old societies in eastern Europe. How did those societies form? How have they changed into the world we see today? How can anthropologists find out about them after all this time, with all the dirt, mud, and rocks in the way? It seems to take a village--a multidisciplinary, long-term village of devoted researchers including Attila Gyucha and Rick Yerkes with the Koros Regional Archaeological Project. 


Katherine Webbink

In the Technology Department, Kate works on cataloging the Field Museum's digital media--how do we preserve the digital media bits of natural history? For now, the answer here seems to involve a lot of DNGs. Going forward, digital formats and the workflows that go with them change all the time, so collections need to stay on their toes if they don't want to lose data and the ideas that go with them.

Published: December 2, 2011

In the X-Ray Fluorescence Lab

At the Field Museum, the use of new and non-destructive technologies has allowed researchers to uncover fascinating stories from objects in the collections.

At the Field Museum, the use of new and non-destructive technologies has allowed researchers to uncover fascinating stories from objects in the collections.

Published: November 25, 2011

Gilded Lady, The Mummy

Using state of the art technology, Anthropologists from the Field Museum had the opportunity to examine Egyptian mummies for the first time. Check out the amazing images that they produced using a portable medical CT scanner. These mummies have been part of the Museum collections for many years and thanks to proper conservation methods, researchers are now able to work with them without causing any damage.

Using state of the art technology, Anthropologists from the Field Museum had the opportunity to examine Egyptian mummies for the first time. Check out the amazing images that they produced using a portable medical CT scanner. These mummies have been part of the Museum collections for many years and thanks to proper conservation methods, researchers are now able to work with them without causing any damage.