• Materiality of Self-Determination

    Matthew participates in reindeer herding with the Skolt Sámi

  • Social Inequality and Subsistence Transitions

    Digiri hunters prepare to smoke a beehive, gathering honey to pay for school fees in southern Kenya


Matthew Magnani is a PhD candidate in anthropological archaeology at Harvard University. He works with communities from north of the Arctic Circle to the Global South. Matthew approaches contemporary social inequality with a long-term material perspective, explaining how the production of objects informs community boundaries and belonging from prehistory to present.

Matthew has ongoing projects in East Africa, the Sámi homeland of Sápmi, and Western Europe with his partner Natalia Magnani (Associate Professor, University of Tromsø), where you might find them excavating, interviewing, or analyzing ethnographic museum collections together. For a piece applying archaeological perspectives to the materiality of the coronavirus in Norway, see a recent public-facing essay in American Anthropologist's Public Anthropologies

To create and implement these projects, Matthew actively works with community members to develop research questions that address locally-relevant, contemporary issues. He employs and develops novel technological applications to these ends, such as photogrammetry and laser scanning. For examples of these digital projects, see video coverage from Yle Sápmi's news here and the corresponding article in print from from Siida Museum in Finland. You can also see recent work at a consortium of five Sámi museums, the RiddoDuottarMuseat, here.