Digging up the human past
A shelter hidden in the forest in Brzeźnica-Kolonia, Poland. Photo by Dawid Kobialka.

The Cold War left a material legacy of ruins and memories in numerous European countries. This photo essay explores the abandoned bunkers, trenches, and ghost towns that remain in Poland.

An image from the Catacomb of Priscilla. This woman has her arms outstretched as if holding Mass. Image in the public domain, from Wikimedia.

Why is it so hard to convince people that women were leaders in early Christianity? And how might scholarship help us to reassess gender roles in Christianity today?

Dracula! By Screenshot from "Internet Archive" of the movie Dracula (1958) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Vampires are sexy and glittery today, but they used to be terrifying. Archaeology can reveal the roots of vampirism, and the true fear of the dead returning.

A ballerina pig invites conversation. Photo by Ralph Mills.

To someone exploring material culture, these museums of the just-past can be fertile hunting grounds, not for bargains but for insights into people’s dreams. Your knick-knacks can tell an archaeologist a lot about you and your community.

Macklemore's feeling thrifty.

We live in a world–or so we’re told–in which we’re obsessed with the new. Shopping malls, glossy magazines, and catwalk parades encourage us to buy more new, shiny stuff. But Macklemore suggests that what’s old is new again.

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft at Ta Prohm. Still from the film Tomb Raider.

What have you seen? And did you actually see it? At Angkor Wat, Cambodia, tourists recreate the imaginary worlds of Tomb Raider and Temple Run. But archaeology reveals that an ancient, intriguing history likes behind these ruinous stones.

Benchmark at All Saints church, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, copyright Michael Trolove and used under authority of the CreativeCommons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Collecting things isn’t just about haunting antique stores and garage sales. The built environment provides plenty of fodder for roaming enthusiasts, such as markers made for topographic surveys since the 19th century.

Promotional poster for The Walking Dead

Does your daily life make you feel like a zombie? An analysis of The Walking Dead explains how mixing fantasy and reality can give us that impression.

James Bond playing James Bond? Skyfall reflects upon its own past.

The ancient world left us mummies and pottery. Are James Bond films part of the cultural legacy we leave for future generations?

Ghost bike

Roadside memorials for traffic accident deaths are more important than graves to the bereaved. How public grieving is taking over NYC.