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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Mutual entrapment | Aeon
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Deep time

Mutual entrapment

As Neolithic people transformed prehistoric forests, they stumbled into an ecological trap. Domestication goes both ways

Mette Løvschal

The modern invention of white antique marble | Aeon
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Archaeology

Ancient Greek sculptures were colourful. Why does the white marble ideal persist?

6 minutes

Out of the forest | Aeon
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Human evolution

Out of the forest

We have thought of humans for a century or more as creatures of the savannah, shaped in every way by grassland life. Not so

Patrick Roberts

Cracking the Cretan code | Aeon
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The ancient world

Cracking the Cretan code

Linear B has yielded its secrets, but Linear A remains elusive. Can linguistic analysis unlock the meaning of Minoan script?

Ester Salgarella

Energised crowding | Aeon
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Cities

Energised crowding

To understand why early cities thrived, look not to the temples of kings but to their subjects’ bustling neighbourhoods

Michael E Smith

The AI historian | Aeon
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video

Computing and artificial intelligence

How machine learning can help historians decode ancient inscriptions

7 minutes

Museum, 1972 | Aeon
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video

Art

From archaeology digs to display cabinets: how museums bring exhibits to life

37 minutes

Nefertiti’s bust | Aeon
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Archaeology

Nefertiti’s bust

How did this ancient and enigmatic sculpture of a beautiful Egyptian queen end up as fortune’s hostage in Germany?

Joyce Tyldesley

The invention of trousers | Aeon
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History of technology

Unravelling the surprisingly epic story of the world’s oldest pair of trousers

45 minutes

Unearthing David’s city | Aeon
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Archaeology

Unearthing David’s city

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar dug with a spade in one hand and a Bible in the other. Should her theories be taken seriously?

Andrew Lawler

When Vikings lived in North America | Aeon
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Archaeology

A Viking axe struck a Newfoundland tree in the year 1021. Here’s how scientists proved it

7 minutes

Poseidon’s wrath | Aeon
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Archaeology

Poseidon’s wrath

Vanished beneath the waves in 373 BCE, Helike is a byword for thinking about disaster, for ancients and moderns alike

Guy D Middleton

The Lion Man | Aeon
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video

Anthropology

Although his story is a mystery, the Lion Man forever binds us to our prehistoric past

2 minutes

The clothing revolution | Aeon
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Archaeology

The clothing revolution

What if the need for fabric, not food, in the face of a changing climate is what first tipped humanity towards agriculture?

Ian Gilligan

The artefact artist | Aeon
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video

Archaeology

New York’s 300-year-old trash becomes treasure in the hands of an urban archaeologist

23 minutes

The Sutton Hoo helmet | Aeon
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video

Archaeology

The meanings and mysteries of the iconic Sutton Hoo helmet brought vividly to life

19 minutes

Beyond the !Kung | Aeon
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Anthropology

Beyond the !Kung

A grand research project created our origin myth that early human societies were all egalitarian, mobile and small-scale

Manvir Singh

Sheanderthal | Aeon
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Human evolution

Sheanderthal

Not all Neanderthals were ‘cavemen’: half were women. What can archaeologists tell us about how they lived?

Rebecca Wragg Sykes

Captive culture | Aeon
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Anthropology

Captive culture

Even when enslaved or despised, captives brought novel ideas and technologies to the societies of their captors

Catherine M Cameron

The deep Anthropocene | Aeon
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Archaeology

The deep Anthropocene

A revolution in archaeology has exposed the extraordinary extent of human influence over our planet’s past and its future

Lucas Stephens, Erle Ellis & Dorian Fuller

Vikings in America | Aeon
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Global history

Vikings in America

Centuries before Columbus, Vikings came to the Western hemisphere. How far into the Americas did they travel?

Valerie Hansen

Accumulation and its discontents | Aeon
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Archaeology

Accumulation and its discontents

Whether collecting, storing or hoarding, we’ve always had our issues with stuff – not least deciding what’s worth having

Astrid Van Oyen

How Aztecs told history | Aeon
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Global history

How Aztecs told history

For the warriors and wanderers who became the Aztec people, truth was not singular and history was braided from many voices

Camilla Townsend

Mummies among us | Aeon
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Archaeology

Mummies among us

Before death became a source of disgust and denial, Europeans cheerfully painted with – and ingested – human remains

Michael Press