Skip to main content

Open Educational Resources: Anthropology

Top Picks

Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology

The first peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses. Produced by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges and available free of charge for use in any setting. (Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges)

Introduction to Human Osteology

This text was designed for use in the human osteology laboratory classroom. Bones are described to aid in identification of skeletonized remains in either an archaeological or forensic anthropology setting. Basic techniques for siding, aging, sexing, and stature estimation are described. Both images of bone and drawings are included which may be used for study purposes outside of the classroom. The text represents work that has been developed over more than 30 years by its various authors and is meant to present students with the basic analytical tools for the study of human osteology. (ScholarWorks@GVSU)

Native Peoples of North America

Native Peoples of North America is intended to be an introductory text about the Native peoples of North America (primarily the United States and Canada) presented from an anthropological perspective. As such, the text is organized around anthropological concepts such as language, kinship, marriage and family life, political and economic organization, food getting, spiritual and religious practices, and the arts. Prehistoric, historic and contemporary information is presented. Each chapter begins with an example from the oral tradition that reflects the theme of the chapter. The text includes suggested readings, videos, and classroom activities. (Open SUNY textbooks)

The History of Our Tribe: Hominini

"Where did we come from?  What were our ancestors like?  Why do we differ from other animals?  How do scientists trace and construct our evolutionary history? The History of Our Tribe: Hominini provides answers to these questions and more." (Open SUNY)

Textbook Databases

These links will take you directly to the portions of freely available textbook databases that contain relevant materials. This is not an exhaustive list; we encourage you to investigate the Open Textbooks tab for additional content. 

In Tech- Open Access Publisher  


The Orange Grove  

Project Gutenburg  

Search for Similar Materials by ISBN

The California State University offers users the ability to search for free online materials that are similar in content to many popular textbooks. Just enter a book's ISBN number.

General Purpose Databases


MERLOT II is a program of the California State University, in partnership with educational institutions, professional societies, and industries to provide a database of more than 40,000 materials related to a wide variety of subjects. These materials come in a variety of formats, including animations and simulations, assignments and quizzes/tests, case studies and reference materials, and open textbooks, journals, and articles.  


This is an online database supplied with works from many of Europe's galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. These materials include books and manuscripts, photos and paintings, television, newsreels, and films, sculptures and crafts, diaries and maps, and sheet music and recordings. Most works are either in the public domain or are licensed via Creative Commons. 

World Digital Library

World Digital Library is a free online resource that provides primary resources for educators, including images and photographs, books and manuscripts, journals and newspapers, motion pictures, and sound recordings.These materials are provided by institutions from all over the world, including libraries, museums, universities, and religious organizations. 

Open Courseware

Open courseware sites offer educators access to a wide variety of course materials including syllabi, reading lists, lecture notes, assignments, and exams. 

American Anthropological Association   


MIT Open Courseware   

Open Course Library  

Open Education Consortium   


Anthropology Open Access

There are many additional open access resources and databases available in the field of anthropology that can be freely used as teaching resources. Here are a few: 

Open Anthropology

Anthropology and Archaeology Resource Network

Anthropologi: Free Open Access Anthropology Journals 


Directory of Open Access Journals