Of all the scientific disciplines, archaeology lends itself most to the imagination. It's the scholarly embodiment of the impulse to imagine oneself as a Mongol raider or Roman slave, tracking gazelle across the Great Rift Valley or navigating by stars across the Pacific.
For a few lucky researchers, these dreams become hypotheses. Experimental archaeologists test ancient tools and techniques, determining how they worked and whether modern interpretations are correct. Sometimes the studies look more like play than research — but why shouldn't research be fun?
From ancient noodle recipes to spear throwing, here are a few of our favorite studies.