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Anthropology Day

Celebrate. Engage. Inspire.

Anthropology Day is a time for anthropologists to share their discipline with the world. To recognize this time, we reached out to our research partners over at the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology.

In 2019, University of Idaho Library faculty partnered with the Bowers Lab to bring the Donald E. Crabtree Lithic Comparative Collection into the 21st century with modern 2D and 3D imagery.

Donald Crabtree flintknapping
Donald Crabtree flintknapping

Created by citizen-scientist Donald E. Crabtree (1912-1980), the unique collection includes his experimental work in flintknapping, as well as pieces from unknown sources created by Native and Indigenous peoples.


Throughout his six-decade career, he sought to understand the intricacies of stone tool technology as it is the most enduring, and universal human invention. Over the course of his journey from novice to master, Crabtree created thousands of elegant pieces that helped establish the field of experimental archaeology. In our modern era, collections like this can raise questions for self-reflection since many of the objects made by non-Native flintknappers could be considered appropriative of other cultures.

Picture of a variety of stone tools.
Picture of a variety of stone tools.

The various scans were conducted as part of a Council on Library and Information Resources “Digitizing Hidden Collections” grant. The 2D and 3D images will be coming to the U of I Library website in the next few months, making this hidden gem of a collection accessible to a global audience.

Thanks to Leah Evans-Janke, Jylisa Kenyon, and Marco Seiferle-Valencia for their assistance.


Crabtree Lithic Technology Collection, 1860-2014

Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology’s Crabtree Lithic Technology Collection webpage

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