Overview: Anthropology Department
The Anthropology Department is divided into three divisions: Ethnology, Archaeology, and Physical Anthropology. Based on our shared basic concept and methodology of culture, the three fields together comprise museum anthropology by integrating the essential natures of the humanities, biology and social sciences.
The most important tasks of museum anthropology are: to collect and engage in systematic research in terms of the regional integrity; stay in synchronous with the trends and effects of the contemporary cultural studies; display the diversity of cultures and interactions among them; introduce the unique adaptive patterns of different ecological environments; protect the cultural heritage that has been endangered, and promote and develop a better place for cultural preservation and evolution. Museum anthropology in Taiwan must possess the ability to "bring the far-reaching world culture back to life for Taiwan’s aborigines whose past has long been forgotten."
A museum is a symbol of society. It reflects subtle socio-cultural phenomena. Each part of a museum is closely inter-related. In addition to collection and research, the scope of studying museum anthropology covers the communication fields of exhibition and education. In fact, the themes for the permanent exhibitions at both the Life Science Hall and the Human Cultures Hall (Austronesians, Chinese spiritual life and Oceania) determine the Anthropology Department's personnel recruitment and collection policies.
Left: Salvaging excavation of No. 144 City Government difei land area
Right: Restoration of a Jade Burial Suit with Bronze Thread
At present, the collection put together by the Anthropology Department includes three categories: (1) ethnographic specimens of Austronesians (Taiwan and New Guinea) and the ethnic minorities in southwest China; (2) house and temple construction elements, religious artifacts, scripts, pictures, tapes, and videotapes of religious rituals of the Chinese living in Taiwan, Fujian and Guangdong Provinces; (3) archaeological specimens found in mainland China, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
Recent Research Projects
Based on the above-mentioned efforts, the recent research projects that center on Southeast Asia, Mainland China and insular Southeast Asia include the following themes:
- Salvaging studies on archaeology, ethno-archaeology and archaeology of abandoned aboriginal sites;
- Studies of paleoanthropology in China;
- Central Taiwan’s archaeological studies on topics including regional ethnography of aborigines and interdisciplinary integration;
- Collection and research of the artifacts of the Han Chinese in Taiwan;
- Collection of ethnographic specimens of the ethnic minority groups in southwestern China;
- Establishment of ethnographic database regarding Austronesian peoples in Taiwan and ethnic groups in Southeast Asia;
- Studies on museum anthropology.
Source: Biennial Report of the National Museum of Natural Science (2005-2006)