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Anthropology provides the perspective of, and insight into, humanity’s past and present. It offers a way to observe and analyze humanity more broadly than other social sciences, such as history or sociology. When considering human history, anthropological research may explore prehistoric people and human evolution, while cultural and biological diversity may be the focus when studying contemporary people.

There are four fields within anthropology: physical anthropology (or biological anthropology), linguistic anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and archaeology. Physical anthropology examines how humans live in their physical environments. Sociocultural anthropology is characterized by looking at how people live and organize their family and social lives within the broader community. Studying the way language influences human societies through communication patterns and the formation of cultural beliefs is the purpose of linguistic anthropology. Archaeology is the study of past human groups done via an analysis of artifacts (e.g., pottery and tools) buildings, and other structures found in the field at archaeological sites.

Research is at the forefront of anthropology. The anthropological approaches to research vary greatly from scientific to humanistic and from quantitative data to qualitative information that is more contextual. The archaeological sites and cultural contexts for the research are diverse—from the laboratory, the library, and the museum to the outdoor archaeological site, to the home, school, and workplace. What remains consistent is that anthropologists are striving to provide new perspectives and knowledge about humanity that can be applied to current issues. Through ethnographic study and work, anthropologists help preserve humanity’s rich heritage and contribute to maintaining cultural diversity through anthropology collections found at the museum.

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Anthropology Resources

Gale provides resources that support research with content in Gale databases, primary source archives, and eBooks.


Gale databases include full-text ethnographic collections from newspapers, journal articles, books, and primary source documents, including multimedia like images and videos, that support research in anthropology. 

Primary Source Archives

Gale Primary Sources contains full-text archives and anthropological collections that provide firsthand content, including historical documents, archives, journals, and news articles that examine and analyze anthropology.

Gale eBooks

Gale offers a variety of eBooks covering a wide range of anthropological subject areas, including archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology as well as prominent anthropologists and more. Users can add Gale eBooks to a customized collection and cross search to pinpoint relevant content. Workflow tools help users easily share, save, and download articles.

  • Archaeology, 1st Edition

    Archaeology, 1st Edition

    Britannica Digital Learning  |   2015   |   ISBN-13: 9781622754045

    Archaeology, the study of the remains of the human past, pairs the thrill of the treasure hunt with the mystery of detective work. Readers will learn all about the different types of archaeological research as well as how archaeologists collect, analyze, and synthesize data. In this insightful volume, readers discover archaeologists' goals as they unearth discoveries and the training needed to get a foothold in the field. This book lays out the rich stages of archeological history, and readers learn why this field remains relevant to this day.

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  • Be a Scientist!: Be an Anthropologist, 1st Edition

    Be a Scientist!: Be an Anthropologist, 1st Edition

    Gareth Stevens Publishing   |   2019   |   ISBN-13: 9781538230862

    Do you ever wonder where we came from? Or how people lived long ago? Anthropology is the science of humanity, and this can mean many different things. In this detail-filled book, young readers will learn more about how history and science combine in this fascinating career. They'll also learn about physical or biological anthropologists and cultural anthropologists: How they differ and how they're the same. Through intriguing photographs and many stories and details, readers will travel through time with anthropologists to see how they can be a part of this unique and important field.

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  • The Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology, 1st Edition

    The Eerdmans Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology, 1st Edition

    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company  |   2017   |   ISBN-13: 9781467445924

    This splendid, monumental reference work is both authoritative and lavishly illustrated. More than 400 distinguished scholars, including archaeologists, art historians, historians, epigraphers, and theologians, have written the 1,455 entries in this monumental encyclopedia. From Aachen to Zurzach, Paul Corby Finney's three-volume masterwork draws on archaeological and epigraphic evidence to offer readers a basic orientation to early Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, mosaic, and portable artifacts created roughly between AD 200 and 600 in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Clear, comprehensive, and richly illustrated, this work will be an essential anthropology collection for all those interested in late antique and early Christian art, archaeology, and history.

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  • Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, 1st Edition

    Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology, 1st Edition

    SAGE  |   2014   |   ISBN-13: 9781452276304

    Social and cultural anthropology and archaeology are rich subjects with deep connections in the social and physical sciences. Over the past 150 years, the subject matter and different theoretical perspectives have expanded so greatly that no single individual can command all of it. Consequently, both advanced students and professionals may be confronted with theoretical positions and names of theorists with whom they are only partially familiar, if they have heard of them at all. Students, in particular, are likely to turn to the web to find quick background information on theorists and theories. However, most web-based information is incomplete and/or lacks depth. Students and professionals need a source to provide a quick overview of a particular theory and theorist with just the basics: the "who, what, where, how, and why." In response, SAGE Reference is publishing the two-volume book, Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia.

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