This picture shows a platform mound that was uncovered by excavators with the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930s. That project uncovered evidence of a single palisade surrounding a Mississippian village. Recent investigations have revealed evidence of several more palisades, suggesting that the villagers could have felt threatened. Photo BY CHARLES H. NASH, 1938. WPA/TVA ARCHIVES, PRESENTED COURTESY OF MCCLUNG MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY AND CULTURE, THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, KNOXVILLE. 120MG31/FHM01233.

A Tumultuous Time: On Ancient Hiwassee Island

Fall 2018: By Elizabeth Lunday. During the Great Depression, when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) planned the construction of reservoirs along the Tennessee River, the agency recognized that archaeological sites in the region would be...
An artist’s depiction of Moundville sometime after A.D. 1200. By Steven Patricia.

A New View Of Moundville

Winter 2016: By Alexandra Witze. In the thirteenth century Moundville, just south of present-day Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was one of the Mississippian culture’s most impressive settlements. It was home to 1,000 or more people at its...
Certain places in the South Mountains captured the attention of Hohokam artisans. Here, petroglyphs of various animal and human forms encircle a spring. The setting provides a panorama of the Salt River Valley, where dozens of Hohokam villages and hundreds of miles of hand-dug canals lie under the asphalt of metropolitan Phoenix.Photo credit: Paul Vanderveen

A Sense Of Place: Hohokam Rock Art

Winter 2016: By Mike Toner Residents of Phoenix long ago recognized something special about the rugged mountains that rise from the desert south of the city. In 1924, this area became one of the largest...
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...
Erebus’ bell was found at the site. The date 1845 is embossed near the top of the bell.

Investigating A Maritime Mystery

Fall 2015: By Tom Koppel  “That's it. That's it,” shouted underwater archaeologist Ryan Harris as the clear outline of a sunken ship suddenly came across his screen in September 2014. His crewmates in the wheelhouse...
An aerial view of the excavations on Burial Hill. The grey structure with the black and brick doors is an 1830s burial vault that cuts through the site. Excavations in front of and behind the vault revealed a series of building postholes, trash pits, and many seventeenthcentury artifacts from the original settlement. Native American and English pottery was found in the trash pits, suggesting the use of Native pots in the English houses. Credit: Bruce T. Martin.

Finding The Pilgrims

Fall 2017: By Rachael Moeller Gorman. On a sticky day last June, archaeologist David Landon peered into a rectangular, three-foot-deep excavation unit on the edge of an old cemetery. “That layer they’re coming down on,...
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...
The researchers have found several clay figurines, most of which, like this example, depict women. These figurines have hollow areas, mouthpieces, and holes that enabled them to serve as whistles. They were primarily imported from Lubaantun and other inland sites. Credit: Heather McKillop.

A Story Of Salt: Ancient Maya Saltworks

Spring 2017: By Elizabeth Lunday. Salt is a substance so ordinary and inexpensive today that its ready supply is often taken for granted. Yet salt is essential: humans need salt to live and also crave...
The excavation area of Old Vero Man site is protected from the elements by a tent-like structure called a WeatherPort. courtesy of Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute.

Revisiting Old Vero Man

Summer 2015: By Tamara Stewart In 1916, as Florida State geologist Elias Sellards stood on the bank of Van Valkenberg Creek, which has run along Florida’s eastern coastal region for the last 14,000 years, he...
Archaeologist Tom Dillehay (in blue shirt and hat, standing) has directed excavations at Monte Verde in southern Chile for years. Recent research suggests the site could be more than 18,000 years old. Photo Credit: Kenneth Garrett.

How Were The Americas Colonized?

Winter 16: By David Malakoff. Two decades ago, when molecular anthropologist Ripan Malhi was a graduate student studying the earliest human inhabitants of North America, he sometimes had to watch his tongue. Malhi and some...