Episode 46 - Dogtectives on the Case!

This week, we bring you a fascinating, poignant, and thoroughly delightful interview with Lynne Engelbert, a handler with the Institute for Canine Forensics. Learn what the talented pups at the ICF do for a living and prepare to be amazed!

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Episode 45 - What Is Going on with Those Denisovans?!

This week, Anna and Amber sit down to chat about the Denisovans, the human ancestors we didn't know we had until recently. Learn about what evidence we have for Denisovans, the traits for which we can thank them, and some of the mysteries that remain. Come for big reveals about what's in human DNA, stay for ample use of phrases like "bouts of interbreeding."

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Episode 44 - The Episode Is Revolting

It's another Very Special Sponsored Episode this week, about the archaeology of protest, revolt, and rebellion. Join Anna and Amber alongside coal miners in West Virginia, Jewish rebels in the first century CE, enslaved Africans in the Danish Virgin Islands, and more stories of human defiance and resilience in the face of oppression.

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Episode 43 - Spilling the Antiqui-Tea: Artifact Trafficking and the Antiquities Black Market

Psst. Do you want to buy some archaeology? WELL WE DON'T HAVE ANY TO SELL YOU, BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE WRONG. But that hasn't stopped other people from doing it! Join us this week for a Very Special Sponsored Episode on the antiquities black market, the harm it does to archaeology and to real living people all over the world, and some of the folks doing extremely cool things to protect cultural heritage.

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Episode 42 - Here Be Unicorns: The Ancient Indus Valley

Join Anna and Amber on an excursion to the Indus Valley, and an exploration of some of the ancient societies therein. Learn about the thrills of city planning and indoor toilets, experience the mystery and absurdity of the Indus "unicorn," and enjoy a surprising number of Anna's best seal impersonations.

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Episode 41 - Let's Talk About (Inter)sex

This week's episode was inspired by news coverage of Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, who, according to his skeleton, may have been intersex. But what does it mean to be intersex, and how do we incorporate this very real form of existence into our understanding of the archaeological record? Learn along with Anna and Amber from forensic archaeology, American history, Indigenous American culture, and a truly heart-wrenching tale from Iran.

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Episode 40 - Ur Never Going to Believe This

Join Anna and Amber on a tour of third millennium BCE Mesopotamia, where they explore the Royal Tombs of Ur. It has everything: musical instruments, very extra jewelry looks, a Great Death Pit (!), a famous excavator with a flair for the dramatic, even a surprise find nearly a century later in a museum basement.

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Archaeologists Dig Dinosaurs... April Fools!

Hello, and welcome to The Dirt, a podcast all about dinosaurs! Since we’re archaeologists (and thus don’t study dinosaurs, ahem) we know nothing about them, so for this special April Fools’ Day episode, Anna sits down with paleontologist Chris Capobianco from Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Learn about how quickly a fossil forms, the process of preparing fossils for research or exhibition, what dinosaurs really looked like, how exactly one goes about becoming a paleontologist, and what the future may hold for the discipline (and humanity).

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LIVE! Helen Hunt Jackson: Woman with a Hobby

Our very first LIVE SHOW, from Cosumnes River College in Sacramento! In honor of Women's History Month, we celebrate the life and career of Helen Hunt Jackson, the raddest lady activist and author you've never heard of. In her lifetime, Jackson was a vocal and tireless advocate for Native American rights during the federal land grabs of the 1800s.

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Episode 39 - These Boots Were Made for Talking: A Very Brief History of Footwear

Anna and Amber rummage around on the floor of history's closet to bring you a brief history of shoes from around the world! Learn why caves in the southwestern USA are full of shoes. Find a shoe museum near you for some sole-searching. Enjoy a description of Anna's favorite goofy historical fashion statement. All this and more!

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Episode 38 - What Spake Zarathustra?

It's almost officially springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, and the vernal equinox brings with it another reason to celebrate: Nowruz! Commonly known as Persian New Year, Nowruz has its roots in a millennia-old religion founded by a man named Zartosht whose ideas had a profound impact on the world. Anna introduces fire temples and what ancient writers had to say about Zoroastrianism, while Amber hypes the Bronze Age in Central Asia and suggests some ways in which Zoroastrian ideas have affected other religions.

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Deep Cuts 8 - Piltdown and Out

It's been hectic over at The Dirt HQ! Rather than leaving your feeds dark for a month, here's a Patreon-exclusive episode from earlier this year: We present to you the Piltdown Man, the most contentious human ancestor there never was.

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Episode 37 - Lady Statues and Prehistoric Matriarchy

Kick off Women's History Month with a show all about some of the earliest representations of women in art! Anna introduces us to the Venus of Willendorf and her curvy comrades, and shares a research study with very modern take on ancient art. Meanwhile Amber bursts our bubble about the matriarchy and goddess religions in Old Europe, and discusses goddess worshippers of past and present at Çatalhöyük in present-day Turkey.

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Episode 36 - The Unsettling Business of Curating Human Remains

Here at The Dirt, we talk a lot about the things that people leave behind, but we’ve not spent much time talking about what’s left behind of the people themselves. That changes this week, when Anna and Amber discuss excavating, storing, studying, and selling archaeological human remains, and take a look at some of the legal and ethical challenges involved.

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Episode 35 - Beyond Avocados: Megafauna Fruit

It's another sponsored episode! This week, we bring you the fascinating (and sometimes delicious) topic of evolutionary anachronisms. What happens when two species co-evolve to support one another, but one goes extinct? What's up with that obscure, hipster fruit, the paw-paw, and why is Amber mad at NPR? What can blue jays tell us about human impulsivity? All this and more!

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Episode 34 - A Dating Show

Valentine's Day is upon us, and love is in the air-- love for relative and absolute dating methods, that is! Anna brings the science with C14 dating and its gang of radiometric friends, boggles minds with flipped magnetic poles and the last time archaeological material saw the sun, while, Amber makes a lot of jokes that even she hates, embraces the nihilism of climate change, and attempts to explain the law of superposition via cake. So, the usual— but that’s why you love us!

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Episode 33 - The Big Game!

Every year, the American football season ends with the Big Game, but this week, Anna and Amber are superfans of a much bigger game: the 3500-year-old Mesoamerican ballgame. From its Olmec origins to the athletes keeping it alive today, learn all about how to play, why you might not want to (ouch), and what makes it so significant to past and present communities.

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Episode 32 - [Poop Joke Here]: Coprolites and the Value of Fossilized Feces

We all do it. We've done it for millions of years. It's the Poopisode, a Very Special Sponsor pick! Anna and Amber discuss coprolites (archaeological poo), and some of the surprising things we've learned from it. Anna's pun game has rarely been stronger, and Amber...well, Amber survived this episode.

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This is Anthropology Miniseries (with American Anthropological Association)

At the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Anna and Amber sat down with six anthropologists and learned about the history of anthropology, the future of anthropology, and what the discipline looks like both in the classroom and out in the world.

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