Africa

Category archives for Africa

You’ve heard to story. I’m here to give you a little context. But in case you haven’t heard the story, this is from the press release which is, so far, the only information generally available: New finds of fossils and stone tools from the archaeological site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, push back the origins of…

A claim is being made, in a recent issue of Nature Magazine, that humans were active in the vicinity of San Diego well over 100,000 years before archaeologists think humans were even in the New World. Most commentary on this claim dismisses it out of hand, but out of hand rejections are no better than…

Why I ate a Pangolin

The Lese people practice swidden horticulture in the Ituri Forest, Congo (formerly Zaire). Living in the same area are the Efe people, sometimes known as Pygmies (but that may be an inappropriate term). The Efe and Lese share a culture, in a sense, but are distinct entities within that culture, as distinct as any people…

I just watched, at a the Twin Cities Science Film Festival, a film called Nzara ’76, which is about the first known Ebola outbreak, the one that gave it its name, in southern Sudan. That’s about 150 miles, as the Mvo-Mvo flies, north of my long term project area in the Ituri Forest, an impassable…

The Great Human Race: How to survive

The Great Human Race is a new production of National Geographic, in three parts. I recently viewed the first episode, “Dawn” which comes with this description: All people can trace their roots to the savanna of East Africa, the home of one of the first members of the human species — Homo habilis. Archaeologist Bill…

On cannibalism and Jameson

A recent twitter conversation prompted me to dig up some old posts on cannibalism, and maybe a few memories of my time in Central Africa. The twitter conversation concerned a story in which it is claimed that James Jameson, heir to the Jameson Irish whiskey empire, bought a slave girl (for the price of six…

A City of Death and Misery Everything I’m about to tell you in this story is true.1 You might not want to read this story while you are alone or while sitting in the dark.2 Kimberley South Africa is said to be the most haunted city in the world, and it certainly is a city…

Ebola and “the French Disease”

Jim Moore and I were both students in the PhD Program in Anthropology at Harvard a few years ago. He graduated about the time I entered the program. To give a rough historical touchstone, I remember the day he needed to get his thesis off to the Registrar, and there was a delay because it…

Ebola in the US Update

Of the seven Americans who have contracted Ebola, five overseas and two in Texas, all seven have survived. Comments from President Obama, focusing on how we have to be guided by the science: “Here’s the bottom line. Patients can beat this disease. And we can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant. We…

President Obama on Ebola

Obama made Ebola the subject of his weekly address. He emphasizes some unique concepts: Science and facts.