Amazons #296

December 19, 2014

This week we're learning how science can shed light on the stories told by our ancestors. We're joined by folklorist and science historian Adrienne Mayor, author of "The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World," to learn what archaeology can tell us about legendary warrior women in cultures from around the world. And we'll talk to anthropologist John Hawks to learn how researchers gain insights from ancient human remains.


  • Adrienne Mayor
  • John Hawks
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Guest Bios

Adrienne Mayor

Adrienne Mayor is an independent folklorist and historian of science, who investigates natural knowledge contained in pre-scientific myths and oral traditions. Her research looks at ancient "folk science" precursors, alternatives, and parallels to modern scientific methods. Her two books on pre-Darwinian fossil traditions in classical antiquity and in Native America have opened up a new field within geomythology, and her book on the origins of biological weapons uncovered the ancient roots of biochemical warfare.

John Hawks

Professor John Hawks is the Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor and Associate Chair of Anthropology at UW-Madison. He is an internationally-recognized expert on human evolution and genetics. He is best known for his work investigating the genetics of ancient humans, their relationship to Neandertals, and our species' continuing evolution to new environments. Professor Hawks has been a pioneer in sharing scientific results on the internet with a blog visited by more than 40,000 people per month. He has been seen in television documentaries including NOVA and National Geographic, and his work has been featured in Scientific American, Discover, New Scientist, and the New York Times.