Anthropologist & Historical Fiction Writers: How are they linked?

me-iiAs a child I was inquisitive and longed for adventure. When I was ten years old or a little younger, I dreamed of being an archaeologist. I remember my friends and I at lunch recess digging in the sand for fossils. As I got older, I still wanted to know more about the past, thus began my deep love for history and anthropology.

There are different types of scientific fields.  Scientists from various fields many times work together to find answers and to uncover the past. They use hypothesis, evidence, technology for solving problems, and ask questions on what they observe to help them come to some sort of conclusion. We know that not everything we question has answers which leads us to different avenues to explore.

When scientists investigate and come to conclusions they usually write a scientific paper of their findings; then they publish their work. When scientists publish their work, not everyone will agree with their findings resulting in more questions and discussions. I would say it takes as much courage to be a scientist as it does an historical fiction writer because they will be both judged on the accuracy of written history.

How are the two linked? The definition of anthropology is the “study of human societies and cultures and their development.” Anthropologists study different aspects of humans from the past; how they lived, worked, cultivated the land, and so on. Anthropologists provide vital information on human existence.

Truths and or hypothesizes are revealed when we look to the past. The past speaks to us in many ways. The history of cultures and the human condition reveal these realities. A good historical fiction writer gives us tangible material to bring the past to life. In their research they must look to the past and study the civilizations and cultures-very much like anthropology.

Stephanie M. Hopkins


5 thoughts on “Anthropologist & Historical Fiction Writers: How are they linked?

  1. This is exactly why I write what I write! I even teach a session called “From Stone Circles to Fantasy Fiction: How Archaeology & History Inspire Modern Storytelling — Explore ancient monuments and ruins as I explain how the remnants of early civilizations helped me create an intriguing fictional world.” I remember my first anthropology class in college and being absolutely entranced as we learned about the ancient civilizations of the Amazon . . . like the book and movie “The Lost City of Z”. I feel so lucky to be a writer where I can bring these worlds to life through fiction. So many cool things to write about and just not enough time in the day. Thanks for writing this Stephanie!


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