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Nights of Yore

Nights of Yore

Life After Dark in the Ancient World

Before social, technological, and scientific factors transformed our world, what was life like after dark?

  • How did ancient cultures experience, view, and portray the night?
  • What was it like to live when total nocturnal darkness was the norm?
  • What can ancient civilizations teach us about contemporary nighttime culture?

It takes archaeologists and anthropologists to respond to this level of curiosity.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 24HourNation presented three respected scholars and researchers who easily qualify as experts on the subject:

  • Nancy Gonlin, PhD — Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA, United States
  • April Nowell, PhD — University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • Jane Eva Baxter, PhD — DePaul University, Chicago, IL, United States
Nancy Gonlin, PhD

Nancy Gonlin, PhD
Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA, United States

Dr. Gonlin is a professor of anthropology, author, and member of the Scientific Board for the International Conference on Night Studies. Her areas of specialization are the archaeology of the night, ancient Mesoamericans, and nighttime household archaeology.


April Nowell, PhD

April Nowell, PhD
University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

Dr. Nowell is a Paleolithic archaeologist and professor of anthropology. She is known for her publications on Paleolithic art, cognitive archaeology, Neanderthals, the archaeology of children and the relationship between science, pop culture, and the media.


Jane Eva Baxter, PhD

Jane Eva Baxter, PhD
DePaul University, Chicago, IL, United States

Dr. Baxter is an associate professor and anthropology department chair where she offers classes in prehistoric and historical archaeology, material culture studies, and archaeological methods. She has studied issues of childhood, gender, labor, and identity.



Randall White
24HourNation, United States

Randall White is an award-winning community leader and former consultant in public affairs, communications, and non-profit management. In May 2022, White launched 24HourNation, which disseminates news and information for global advocates and allies of our nighttime and cultural economies.


Archaeologists focus on studying the material remains of past cultures. Anthropologists study cultures, languages, and biological aspects of humanity.

The archaeology of the night is a sub-discipline within archaeology that focuses on the study of past human activities during nighttime. This field explores how people in ancient or historical societies interacted with their environments, engaged in various activities, and organized their lives during the night.

Archaeologists examining the night-time aspects of human history may investigate a range of topics, including nocturnal rituals, nighttime settlement patterns, use of artificial lighting, and the role of the night in social, economic, or religious practices. This approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of past cultures by considering both day and night activities.

Archaeological evidence for the study of the night can include artifacts related to nocturnal practices, structures designed for nighttime use, and the analysis of archaeological sites to identify patterns of nighttime activities.

This interdisciplinary approach often involves collaboration with experts in other fields, such as anthropology, sociology, and environmental science, to gain a more holistic perspective on past human behaviors during various times of the day.

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