Occasionally we get anthropological questions. As anthropology sub-disciplines can overlap with history, are we ruling out all anthropological questions or just those that primarily precede oral tradition and require assessment of bones, stones and cave paintings.

If it is categorically out of scope, we should update the help page's explicit exclusion list. Otherwise we should answer what criteria makes certain anthropological questions in or out of scope; as the term has been used in a blanket fashion for question closure.

  • 1
    If we get anthropological questions on these "sub-disciplines [that] overlap with history", they should be edited to focus on history.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 6:20

2 Answers 2


The weight of opinion currently seems to be that this site's scope is essentially "stuff humans did in the past". For me personally, the methods used to figure that out I'm not all that picky about. That goes for prehistory as well as historical times. Nit picking about the boundaries of disciplines set up in 20th century liberal arts schools doesn't do anyone any good, particularly when we don't have stacks set up on the other side of most of those boundaries.

So a question about what humans did in prehistory should be decidedly on topic. However, a question about something like early hominid physiology (eg: "Exactly how robust were Australopithecus Robustus' jaws?", or this question) would be an example of a pure anthropology question, and will almost certainly get closed as off-topic.

This seems to be the majority opinion, but it isn't universal. You can see from the other answer it isn't shared by everyone. So if you post a prehistory question, its a pretty good bet that today you will get at least a close vote or two. Whether you get the remaining 3 probably depends on the quality of the question, so you'd better make it a good one. :-)

  • It may be worth duplicating this question with "archaeology" in the title. "What was distinct about Kuban material culture" is much more likely to fly with me than questions about hominid (including modern human) physiology. Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 20:28
  • @SamuelRussell - I don't know...is there an opinion on this subject that is different for archeology than it is for anthropology? It seems to me more like we need the question more generalized.
    – T.E.D. Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 21:03

Anthropological questions which are out-of-scope should be deleted. The scope for this se is history. History is the interpretation of the textual remains of the past, including oral texts.

  • Agreed; anthropology is categorically not history.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 6:19

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