Current Issue

Current Issue

Horses And People

By Julian Smith One of the most enduring icons of the American West is a Native American rider on horseback, galloping into battle or chasing down a herd of buffalo. For all of its cultural...

The Maya Collapse Revisited

By Mike Toner Ever since explorers John Stephens and Frederick Catherwood stumbled out of the Yucatán Peninsula’s jungles two centuries ago with headline-making tales of crumbling stone ruins, scholars have struggled to explain what happened...

Sacred Objects From The Heavens

By Tamara Jager Stewart The Bloody Basin meteorite was in the Red Creek Ruin in the Tonto National Forest when it burned down around 1385. It’s not known if the ruin’s occupants venerated the meteorite....

Racing For A Purpose

By David Malakoff Conducting field research on Arizona’s Perry Mesa, a rugged wedge of desert some forty miles north of Phoenix known for its dazzling rock art and ancient ruins perched atop spectacular cliffs, can...

Investigating Submerged Landscapes

By Wayne Curtis “It's a huge area,” said Ashley Lemke. “It's really deep. It's really cold. And it's hard to get to.” Lemke was talking about the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, a sizeable geological feature that lies...

After the Eruption

By David Malakoff Nearly twelve hundred years ago, one the largest volcanic eruptions to strike North America in millennia rocked the landscape of what is now southeastern Alaska. According to geologists, over three days millions...

The Revelations Of Aguada Fénix

By Mike Toner Archaeologists have been discovering ruins of ancient civilizations in the jungles of Mexico and Central America for 200 years, filling libraries with investigations of the Olmec, Maya, and other pre-Hispanic cultures. The...

A Serendipitous Discovery

By Paula Neely Searching for gold and other riches, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto landed in Florida in 1539 and launched a four-year exploration of the Southeastern United States. But despite the duration and scope...

Examining The Salado Phenomenon

By Tamara Jager Stewart For decades archaeologists have sought to understand what they refer to as the Salado Phenomenon, which occurred between roughly A.D. 1275 and 1450 in what is now south-central Arizona and southwestern...

Rethinking Hunter-Gatherers

By Julian Smith The Poverty Point World Heritage Site covers almost three square miles of Mississippi River floodplain in northeastern Louisiana. The area was occupied by a hunter-gatherer culture as early as 1670 B.C. During...

New Insights Into Mississippian Iconography | American Archaeology

By Gayle Keck | The twenty-first century is awash in symbols, from religious images to branding; from road signs to emojis. Now, imagine that we had no written language to add context or meaning to...

Remembering The Battle Of Blair Mountain | American Archaeology

By James Stout | On the morning of August 30th, 1921, John Wilburn set off up Blair Mountain, in West Virginia, with two of his sons and a group of seventy or so miners. Earlier...

Previous Issues

Getting ready for the final photos of the excavation pit at the Paleo through Archaic period Wakulla Springs Lodge site.

Sneak Peak: 15,000 Year-Old Pre-Clovis at Wakulla Springs

Fall 2018 Sneak Peek By Tamara Jager Stewart. 15,000 Year-Old Pre-Clovis Sites Cluster at Wakulla Springs, Florida         Are These Evidence of Mastodon Kill Sites? Great to see old friend and Paleo-Indian archaeologist Dr. Andy Hemmings as I...
The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, SUMMER 2018, is now available! COVER: Kin Kletso is one of Chaco Canyon’s great houses. Evidence indicates that gambling could have played an important role in the lives of Chacoans. CREDIT: James Q. Jacobs

American Archaeology Summer 2018 is Here!

The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, SUMMER 2018, is now available! COVER: Kin Kletso is one of Chaco Canyon’s great houses. Evidence indicates that gambling could have played an important role in...
Gambling artifacts have been found at Chetro Ketl, a great house in Chaco Canyon. Credit: ANDREW KEARNS

When The Gambler Came To Chaco

Summer 2018: By Alexandra Witze. Navajo oral histories tell of a Great Gambler who had a profound effect on Chaco Canyon, the Ancestral Puebloan capital located in what is now northwestern New Mexico. His name...
This illustration of numerous shell mounds at the Turner River Shellworks site in Ten Thousand Islands, Florida, is based on archaeological evidence.Credit: MARTIN PATE, COURTESY MARGO SCHWADRON, NPS

Rethinking Shell Middens

Summer 2018: By David Malakoff In the fall of 2005, Hurricane Wilma, a powerful storm packing 120-mile-an-hour winds, smashed into the Ten Thousand Islands, a fifty-mile-long maze of mangrove-ringed islets on the Florida’s southwestern coast....
Cherokee lifestyles and history are on display at Oconaluftee Indian Village. Credit: EBCI DESTINATION MARKETING

A Tour Of Western North Carolina’s Rich Archaeology & History

Summer 2018: By Andrea Cooper. We rounded a corner in the Rankin Museum of American Heritage in Ellerbe, North Carolina (population 986), when my husband burst out laughing with delight.  Behind glass cases is a...

Rich Man, Poor Man

Summer 2018: By Wayne Curtis. In the first half of the first millennium A.D., Teotihuacan in central Mexico was the largest city in the western hemisphere. At its peak, it had about 125,000 residents and...
This LiDAR image of the center of Caracol reveals pyramids, plazas, agricultural terraces, roadways, and other features. Credit: COURTESY OF ARLEN AND DIANE CHASE, CARACOL ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS.

A Revolutionary Technology

Summer 2018: By Linda Vaccariello. Arlen Chase’s recent field season at Caracol, the large Maya site in western Belize that he and his wife, archaeologist Diane Zaino Chase, have been investigating for more than thirty...
The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, SPRING 2018, is now available! COVER: Researchers carefully position a 3-D scanner on the fragile steps of Copán’s Hieroglyphic Stairway. The scans are used to reproduce the stairway. Credit: Barbara Fash

American Archaeology Magazine Spring 2018 is Here!

The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, SPRING 2018, is now available! COVER: Researchers carefully position a 3-D scanner on the fragile steps of Copán’s Hieroglyphic Stairway. The scans are used to reproduce...
This portrait painted in 1710 shows the extensively tattooed Mohawk leader Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pleth Tow. Credit: Mezzotint by John Simon, after painting by John Verlest

Discovering The Archaeology Of Tattooing

Spring 2018: By Gayle Keck. In old Western movies, Indians were invariably depicted galloping into the scene whooping and streaked with war paint. At least one aspect of that cliché is true. Native Americans did...
COVER: Researchers carefully position a 3-D scanner on the fragile steps of Copán’s Hieroglyphic Stairway. The scans are used to reproduce the stairway. Credit: Barbara Fash

The 3D Past Reproduced

Spring 2018: By Elizabeth Lunday. In 1885, when British scholar Alfred Percival Maudslay and his wife Anne Cary Morris Maudslay first explored the ruins of the Maya city Copán, Morris Maudslay described the unexcavated site...
An artist’s depiction of the Hohokam gathered at one of their ballcourts. Credit: Artwork by Rob Ciaccio, Courtesy Archaeology Southwest.

The Mystery Of Hohokam Ballcourts

Spring 2018: By Alexandra Witze. From the Olmec to the Maya to the Aztec, ballgames were one of the defining activities of Mesoamerican cultures. Beginning some time before 1200 B.C., competitors kicked and whacked rubber...
This aerial photo of the Nunalleq site was taken by a drone in 2017. Credit: Sven Haakanson

The Story Of Nunalleq

Spring 2018: By David Malakoff. When Russian fur traders began exploring southwestern Alaska in the early 1800s, they met native Yup’ik people who told horrific tales of violence and revenge. In one common but unverified...
Tooru Nakahira (left) and Anna Shishido (center), two former internees at Amache, point to a diagram of the barracks where they were once confined. The barracks have been reconstructed (background) based on historical and archaeological evidence. Credit: Nancy Ukai

A Case For Collaboration

Spring 2018: By Julian Smith. In 2016, Bonnie Clark of the University of Denver was running an archaeology field school at the Granada War Relocation Center, a Japanese American internment camp in southeast Colorado, when a...

American Archaeology’s Ten Most Interesting Articles Of 2017

As editor, I chose these amazing archaeology stories from the pages of American Archaeology magazine because each of them stood out for 2017 in some way—from the highly-disputed contention that humans occupied southern California...
American Archaeology Magazine winter 2017 is Here!

American Archaeology Magazine Winter 2017 is Here!

The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, WINTER 2017, is now available! COVER: Shumla researchers Jerod Roberts (on ladder) and Karen Steelman use a portable x-ray fluorescence instrument to identify the elemental composition...