Spying on the Past: Declassified Satellite Images and Archaeology

Archaeologists are known for examining the minutiae of their sites, avidly digging and scrubbing away at tiny artifacts to glean information about ancient cultures. Sometimes, though, it helps to step back to get the big picture.

Since World War I, archaeologists have been using aerial views to get a broader perspective on research sites. Ancient habitation sites are revealed to be only one component of the landscape, alongside roads, tracks, canals, and fields.

A Good Type: Tourism and Science in Early Japanese Photographs

Photographs capture an instant in an image, but the meaning the viewer takes from that image is not fixed. The photographs of Japanese people and scenes in this exhibition, for example, have transcended the intentions of the photographers, who created them as souvenirs for Japan’s first tourists. Foreigners poured into Japan following the end of the country’s more than 250 years of self-imposed isolation. Late 19th-century visitors were fascinated with Japanese culture—and enticed by such photographs. 

Rainmakers From the Gods

Hopi katsina dolls are wooden effigies of the katsinam (plural), or benevolent spirit beings, who visit the Hopi for about half of every year. Traditionally carved from cottonwood root by Hopi men, they are tangible evidence of the katsinam's power and wisdom.

“It is apparent that only a certain kind of person will want to make ethnographic films. It will, above all, be those who sense the profound affinity that exists between the film medium and a desire to understand people.” —Robert Gardner


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