Skip to Main Content

Dr. Samantha Blatt

Anthropology Bites: Anthropology of Teeth

They are small, shiny, hopefully white, and all up in yo face! Teeth are often preserved in the archaeological record when the skeleton has withered to dust. Their shape gives us clues about ancestry, migration, and evolution. They have growth rings like tree stumps and can help us identify the age of the person they belonged to within days of birth. Teeth can even tell us what you ate as a child, gnawed on as an adult, and if your third grade spelling bee was as stressful as you remembered. And, if you don’t brush them, the plaque left behind can tell us that too and something about your favorite meals to boot. Explore the many facets of dental anthropology from evolution, dental anatomy and development, to isotopes, disease and stress responses, cultural modification, biological affinity, and correlates to human behavior.

Bones, Stones, and Genomes: Human Origins in a Nutshell

Until 17,000 years ago, we shared the earth with other human-like beings. Who were these members of our family tree? How were they different, yet similar to us? What happened to them? What remains of them in us, to this day? Attend the fossil family reunion and come face to face with your most distant relatives from anatomical, archaeological, and molecular evidence tracking human evolution from 4 million years ago to present. We will explore our origins using the most current evidence, ideas, and key players in the interpretation of human evolution and how we came to be the lone survivors of our lineage…or are we?

Digging and Dealing in Death: Tales of a Bioarchaeologist

For a bioarchaeologist, life stories are archived even after death What can we learn about ancient people from the objects they were buried with? Did people care for their sick family members 1,000 years ago? Did everyone in prehistory live rough and die before age 30? What was for dinner in 10,000 BC? Did vampires exist? Are the shrunken heads in the basement of the museum real? Explore what is knowable about the lifestyles, health, migration, cultural practices, and diets of past peoples from the study of their skeletons. We will tour the lives of ancient peoples from the remains of the dead and crack the coldest of cold cases in prehistoric CSI.

State Standards

This presentation meets the following state education standards for high school students:

Social Studies

World History and Civilization

6-9.WHC.1.6.1 Describe types of evidence used by anthropologists, archaeologists, and other scholars to reconstruct early human and cultural development.