The menus of millennia past can be tough to crack, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. For archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Sudan, dental plaque provided a hint.
"When you eat, you get this kind of film of dental plaque over your teeth," says Karen Hardy, an archaeologist with the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.
Ecologists in Nebraska are trying to find out what the Great Plains looked like when homesteaders settled there in the 19th century. To do that, they’re working with a team of archaeologists and historians dissecting a sod house, a house built out of bricks cut from dirt.
Larry Estes has had a sod house in his backyard in Gates, Neb., for as long as he can remember. He never really thought anything about it until a year ago when a repairman asked him about it.
In an archaeological ceramics class at MU, students are learning how humans in the past made pottery. But about three years ago, anthropology professor Todd VanPool started another class in response to a growing demand for professional archaeologists. Over the summer, students can earn credit for fieldwork at a dig site in New Mexico.
“They can learn how to, uh, use the tools properly, how to fill out the forms and do all the things that we expect from professional archaeologists,” VanPool said.