• Archaeological Ethnography of Cultural Revitalization

    Matthew participates in reindeer herding with the Skolt Sámi

  • Hunters in Transition

    A Digiri man prepares fire to smoke a beehive

  • Sámi Boat Production

    Construction of a traditional root boat in the Skolt Sámi community of Sevettijärvi

  • Learning (Poison) Arrow Production

    A Digiri man shows his personal arrow mark


Matthew Magnani is an anthropological archaeologist working toward his PhD at Harvard. He specializes in archaeological ethnography, and works with communities from East Africa to the Arctic. Matthew observes how objects are made and used as markers of identity and ethnicity.

His dissertation work focuses on the Omotik and Okiek-speaking hunter-gatherers in Kenya and their influences on nearby herding and farming peoples. Matthew also has ongoing projects in the Arctic with his wife Natalia Magnani (PhD student, Cambridge University). Together they work with the Sami in Finland and Norway, looking at the social processes and resulting material culture of ongoing revival movements.

To create and implement these projects, Matthew actively works with community members to develop research questions that address locally-relevant issues. He often employs and develops novel technological applications to these ends, such as photogrammetry and laser scanning.