Living in a material world: why 'things' matter

18 Oct 2017

Things structure our lives. They enrich us, embellish us and express our hopes and fears. Here, to introduce a month-long focus on research on material culture, four academics from different disciplines explain why understanding how we interact with our material world can reveal unparalleled insights into what it is to be human.

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Two million years of human stories

12 Oct 2017

Every object in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology tells not just one but many stories. The Museum’s collections chronicle two million years of human history, revealing the diversity of human life over millennia and the ongoing dynamism of world cultures in the present. Many individual artefacts reflect histories and cultures that are contested.

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‘Traditional authority’ linked to rates of deforestation in Africa

24 Nov 2015

New analysis reveals a strong correlation between precolonial institutions in Africa and current levels of deforestation. Researchers suggest that many of these structures still operate at a local level, controlling and exploiting natural resources under the radar of the state, and that such legacies of governance pose a major challenge for implementing conservation policies. 

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Knowing me, knowing you

20 Oct 2015

What can museum collections tell us about people and their stories? On Sunday 25 October 2015, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology will host an event that asks profound questions about objects and identities with the focus on West Papua.

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Derge iron water bottle.

Where to find a dragon in Cambridge

24 Jun 2015

The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge's connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, D is for Dragon. Watch out for fire-breathers among the treasures of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, in Anglo-Saxon proverbs, and in fantasy literature from medieval Scandinavia to the present day.

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Return of the new gods: Jedis, auras and online witch schools

24 Oct 2014

Research by a digital anthropologist is looking at how new religious movements are harnessing online platforms. These ‘invented religions’ take inspiration from ancient philosophy and recent cultural events to develop doctrine and communities of believers in digital spaces.

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The Tibetan lama who wrote a world geography

14 Jun 2014

A study by Tibetan scholar Lobsang Yongdan revisits a long-ignored section of a historic text to reveal how Tibetans were engaging with western scientific knowledge two centuries ago.  His research into a geography of the world, first published by a lama in 1830, challenges stereotypical views of Tibet as an isolated and inward-looking society. 

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