An article by Fran Barone explores what anthropology, archaeology, and the ethnographic record can offer to the field of paremiology, which is dedicated to the collection and study of proverbs.
Proverbs are a simple way of expressing a well-known truth or adage based on common sense or experience. They are usually considered to be imbued with ancestral wisdom, passed down from generation to generation until they become part of a society's oral tradition.
Paremiology provides myriad opportunities for anthropologists to understand the meaning behind metaphorical turns of phrase in different cultures. However, translating proverbs can be tricky. Because language and culture are deeply intertwined, not all proverbs are universally understood across societies.