Author: Stephen E. NashPage 1 of 3

Two Pioneering Female Archaeologists

Stephen E. Nash , March 23rd, 2022

Precocious. Prolific. Audacious. Magnanimous. Each of these terms describes archaeologist Hannah Marie Wormington and her protégé Cynthia Irwin-Williams.* As pioneering female archaeologists in an are…


A Hidden Figure in North American Archaeology

Stephen E. Nash , January 20th, 2022

As a historian of science, I am interested in determining who gets credit for scientific discoveries and why. Sadly, credit often goes to the powerful and connected, not…


The Blockbuster Exhibit That Shouldn’t Have Been

Stephen E. Nash , November 30th, 2021

Museum professionals often point to the 1972 to 1981 Treasures of Tutankhamun tour as the beginning of the blockbuster exhibit era, in which museums host exhibitions that appeal…


Do Stolen Sacred Objects Experience Culture Shock?

Stephen E. Nash , October 11th, 2021

Early on the gray, dreary, morning of September 23, I landed at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., after a 36-hour journey from Kilifi, on Kenya’s coast….


How Museums Can Do More Than Just Repatriate Objects

Stephen E. Nash , May 13th, 2021

Back in 1990, when I was in my third year of graduate school, then-President H.W. Bush signed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) into law:…


The Phantom Forests That Built Mesa Verde

Stephen E. Nash , February 17th, 2021

Mesa Verde National Park (MVNP) in what is today southwestern Colorado is a UNESCO World Heritage site dedicated to the preservation and presentation of the amazing cliff dwellings…


Do Twins Share a Soul?

Stephen E. Nash , January 12th, 2021

I have a clone. He’s an identical twin brother, really. But as monozygotic twins derived from one fertilized egg, we share the exact same genome. Since birth, we…


An Archaeology of Marijuana

Stephen E. Nash , October 16th, 2020

In June, the recreational and medical marijuana industry in my home state of Colorado reached US$199 million in monthly sales, a new record. The growth of this industry…


Wildfire Archaeology and the Burning American West

Stephen E. Nash , September 9th, 2020

As I type, the American West is ablaze with more than 100 devastating wildfires. Many of these are record-setting in both size and intensity. Several, including one in…


Two Surgeries, 800 Years Apart

Stephen E. Nash , August 26th, 2020

As an archaeologist, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what life was like in the past. I’ve also been injured a time or two, and I’ve wondered…


A Curator’s Search for Justice

Stephen E. Nash , May 14th, 2020

In October of last year, I found myself with my family in the heart of a sacred forest of the Mijikenda people of Kenya. One of the elders…


The Masked Man

Stephen E. Nash , April 29th, 2020

Several weeks ago, I finally entered the 21st century. I didn’t get the latest smartphone, AirPods, or an electric vehicle, nor did I join the Noom diet. I…


The Scientific Sorcery of Radiocarbon Dating

Stephen E. Nash , March 27th, 2020

Several years ago, I went back to Chicago to see some old friends: artifacts, really—ancient sandals to be precise. The sandals were at the Field Museum of Natural…


Why We Buy Weird Things in Times of Crisis

Stephen E. Nash , March 19th, 2020

The world is in the grip of a serious pandemic as a novel virus sweeps from continent to continent, causing cases of sometimes-deadly COVID-19. Yet much of the…


What Modern Extremes Taught Me About Noise in the Ancient World

Stephen E. Nash , January 8th, 2020

Today the cacophony of modern life makes it difficult to find, much less achieve, true silence. In our electrified world, there is always a rattle or hum somewhere….


A Tale of Two Ruins

Stephen E. Nash , October 15th, 2019

I’ll show you a place, high on a desert plain / Where the streets have no name … —U2, The Joshua Tree, 1987 I recently flew over two…


What Do Monuments Reveal About Their Makers?

Stephen E. Nash , September 18th, 2019

Twice a day, on my way to and from work at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), I walk through a magnificent, monumental stone gate that…


Stone Age Myths We’ve Made Up

Stephen E. Nash , July 19th, 2019

When most members of the general public think of the Stone Age, they probably envision an adult male hominin wielding a stone tool. That picture is laughably incomplete….


Who Decided It Was Bad to Be Fat?

Stephen E. Nash , January 11th, 2019

In 2009, supermodel Kate Moss caused a stir when she categorically stated that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” As jaw-dropping as the sentiment might have seemed…


What Google Maps Don’t Show You

Stephen E. Nash , November 13th, 2018

When I was a boy, my father and I used to plan road trips together. We would go to our local American Automobile Association (AAA) office and get…


The Skeletons in the Museum Closet

Stephen E. Nash , October 29th, 2018

Museums are full of wonderful things. From the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Institution’s natural history museum to the Folsom point at the Denver Museum of Nature &…


How Do We Know Which Historical Accounts Are True?

Stephen E. Nash , September 21st, 2018

It all started with a stray goat. On an otherwise nondescript day in the spring of 1947, a young Bedouin boy searched for a goat that had strayed…


Why Are Some Caves Full of Shoes?

Stephen E. Nash , August 1st, 2018

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life hiking the U.S. Southwest, and I’ve kicked my share of sharp rocks and prickly cactuses as I’ve walked across hot…


Is Cyclical Time the Cure to Technology’s Ills?

Stephen E. Nash , May 11th, 2018

The world changed dramatically on June 29, 2007. That’s the day when the iPhone first became available to the public. In the 11 years since, more than 8.5…