Questions tagged [anthropology]

For questions relating to the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies.

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15
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1answer
4k views

When was the 50 billionth human born? [closed]

I don't know if this question belongs precisely at History.SE, but I can't think of a more fitting alternative. I've heard the estimate several times that about 100 billion humans have existed ...
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220 views

What is the origin of the idea to cover genitals with clothes or other materials? [closed]

This question was difficult to word. Please edit if it can be worded better. I've seen many murals and ancient drawing as far back as 3,000BC (Kemetian, Sumerian) of society wearing atleast some ...
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1answer
382 views

Why is the Harappa (Indus Valley) civilization considered one of the six independent cradles of civilization?

In addition to the proven Sumerian presence in Harappa, all its crops originates in the Fertile Crescent or Far East, which proves that they have been influenced by foreigners since the Neolithic ...
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2answers
214 views

Does any culture have a native food that is objectively bad? [closed]

This is more of an anthropology question. Lots of different cultures have many different cuisines based on the animals and plants available. Is there any culture that developed anywhere and lasted ...
4
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1answer
173 views

How young of a child could do significant labor?

I've been trying to find out whether, in some cultures historically, a child of age 3 or 4 could do enough work to "pay for their keep", so to speak. In the search I've found out that modern child ...
11
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2answers
622 views

What surface area per person is required for hunter-gatherers?

I am sure I have read it somewhere, but I can't figure out in which book anymore (I think Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works) Most of human (pre-)history (and evolution) has happened in a foraging ...
2
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0answers
131 views

Which country had the largest indigenous itinerant population?

Which country has or had the largest numbers (in absolute and/or relative terms) of indigenous itinerants in any period of history? For this question, I consider itinerants to mean a group for which ...
5
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3answers
765 views

What caused women to lose their access to resources and become a part of men's possessions with the start of the agriculture era?

I'm reading the book SEX AT DAWN: the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality, the book suggests that in prehistoric times, when homo sapiens were just foraging on the earth, the relation between men ...
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1answer
306 views

How objective are books like “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”? How are they “proven”?

How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"? How can one assess the objectivity of historical literature? Why is it still not subjective, if not even ...
4
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1answer
137 views

How many people were there in a average Magdalenian group? (And what about Gravettian groups?)

The book "The Creation of Inequality" (Marcus & Fannery, 2012) says the Magdalenian groups were much larger than the Gravettian groups but doesn't provide a clear number (or I did not find them). ...
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1answer
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What is the primary source evidence for the theory that the African Ancient Egyptians are not black Africans whose origin is sub-Saharan Africa? [closed]

The question When did the ancient Egyptians discover or reach the Nile Headwaters? begins with the premise that the African Ancient Egyptians (pre 332 B.C.E.) did not originate at the headwaters of ...
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170 views

What evidence do we have for the state of ecstasy in primitive cultures?

I'm studying anthropology just out of curiosity and my knowledge on this field is really limited. I am interested in the state of ecstasy and its effects in primitive psychology. What evidence do we ...
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3answers
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Were/are the Gaels, Picts and Britons physically distinct?

Were they only different in culture and language or were there physical differences between the three groups? Did they all belong to the same ethnic group (Celts)? For those who don't understand "...
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71 views

Are there known cultures which did not get it that it takes a man to create a child? [duplicate]

In Patrick Rothfuss' "Kingkiller Chronicle", a fantasy epic, the Adem are a nation of warriors where both sexes are equal. Apart from using sign language and being quite libertarian about sex, the ...
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1answer
184 views

Why did almost every ancient civilization have a found religion? [closed]

I'm studying to be an Anthropologist and I've always had this question but I cannot get a definitive answer. Almost every ancient civilization I have studied, whether it be in the Old or New World had ...
3
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2answers
547 views

Did ancient and/or medieval cultures that emphasized the danger of religious pollution also exert more control over women?

Let me open by saying this is emphatically not a politically motivated dig at any modern or historical culture. I recognize that it can be difficult to answer a question about cultural values, let ...
6
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3answers
686 views

What attributes did Yahweh have before becoming a monotheistic deity?

Did it "belong" to another people before he was adopted by Hebrews? Is there any anthropological reconstruction about all this monotheistic thing?
6
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2answers
693 views

What do we currently know about the ethnic origins of Jews? [closed]

Putting aside the Old Testament, which details a story (perhaps true) of the origins of peoples including Jews, what has anthropology and genetics revealed so far about the origins of Jews? When did ...
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6answers
756 views

Historical examples of advanced societies that abruptly abandoned or changed religions?

Acknowledging that society and culture are broadly influenced by religion; understanding that a society and the religion of that society are frequently inextricably connected; is there such a thing as ...
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3answers
3k views

Did early northern Europeans drink alcohol?

Before the Roman empire brought alcohol to areas of Northern Europe around two thousand years ago, do we know if the native people of Britain and Scandinavia drank alcohol? My preliminary search is ...
3
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1answer
250 views

Differences among foraging, cultivation, domestication

I am currently researching the transition from hunter-gathering bands to agricultural communities. I am coming across the word cultivation a lot. It's getting confusing, because sometimes the word ...
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1answer
189 views

Did Palaeolithic humans live longer than early Neolithic farmers?

Please quote published research. There is work on Paleolithic teeth that is often used as evidence to suggest that Paleolithic humans lived longer than early farmers (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/...
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2answers
764 views

Are there cultures without knowledge of how babies are made?

I know that there are many cases of cultures having whacky ideas of how exactly babies are made, however in most of these cases they still link the creation of babies to having sex (however weird the ...
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4answers
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What is the historical reason for 18 years being the most commonly accepted age of adulthood?

Most countries define the age of adulthood at 18 years. Why is this? Was there some historical precedent set in ancient Rome/Greece or something like that? Why 18 years and not some "nicer" number ...
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2answers
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Average height of Ancient Roman Men and Women?

On a field trip to Philadelphia as a child I visited Betsy Ross' house. I was only 11 at the time and yet my head almost reached the ceiling. The tour guide said that Americans used to be shorter than ...
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123 views

Quote on other cultures from Greek scholar

I can remember from my Greek / Latin classes that a scholar from antiquity once wrote that to write about another culture shows more about the writer himself than about the other culture However, ...
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1answer
960 views

Why is there a gap of information in Russia for human migration?

I've noticed that in a lot of maps for human migration, there's usually a really unspecific arrow pointing from the Iran area that goes through Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Russia to North America. These ...
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75 views

Can stable Istotope analysis unambigously identify the Iberian Peninsula as the origin of signatures in human bones? [closed]

Is the Isotope signature (e.g. O and Sr) of the Iberian Penisula specific enough to proof a human spent decades of adult adult there? This is not about the teeth, only about bones.
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4answers
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Before the Land Bridge Theory, how was human presence in the Americas explained?

The Land Bridge Theory argues that humans crossed over to Alaska from Siberia, via a land bridge created by glaciation. The theory developed in the 1930s and became the popularly accepted explanation ...
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2answers
223 views

Looking for a people where the “traditional” gender roles are shifted [closed]

Quite some time ago, I read about a people —I think it was a people of islanders in the Pacific Ocean— where women were displaying what is considered in Western societies as a masculine behaviour, and,...
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2answers
992 views

Historical, academic explanations for the near-universal second-class citizenship of women?

I just heard on the news that, in 70 countries, girls face risks by simply going to school and being girls. How did women come to be second-class citizens throughout the world? Are there any ...
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0answers
363 views

Why are cave paintings so few and rare? [closed]

Just watched a few documentaries about cave paintings. While I acknowledge the importance of discovery, I can't help but question one simple thing - why are there so few paintings in those caves? ...
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1answer
21k views

What was the average height in Classical Greece?

This is a follow-up for Average height of Ancient Roman Men and Women? : I'm curious what was the average height and build of men & women citizens of Greek states (Athens, Sparta, etc) in 7th-...
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1answer
106 views

In historical accounts, what relevance did the color yellow have as it relates to cultures and custums? [closed]

I am just curious on the history of yellow and the significance it may have had. I know purple often represented power, but what about yellow? Thank you!
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1answer
268 views

How do we know the oldest New Testament manuscripts are copies? [closed]

Wikipedia claims over and over in different ways that we have no autographs of New Testament manuscripts, but we have lots of copies written by hand by various persons. Do we believe these manuscripts ...
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2answers
1k views

Evidence of diets that were exclusively vegetarian

What evidence, provided by archaeological anthropology, is there in regards to diets that were exclusively vegetarian by choice from Ancient history (4th millennium BC) to Classical antiquity (5th ...
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3answers
911 views

Plagues in Pre-European Americas?

Are there any historical accounts that those living in the Americas encountered a plague or plagues that proved to be as devastating on the population as that of the Bubonic (black) plague in Europe? ...