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Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and
analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), thoug ...
of
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes the usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects create ...

material culture
. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, and environmental systems through their study of the past. The
archaeological record The archaeological record is the body of physical (not written) evidence about the past. It is one of the core concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record. Archaeological the ...
consists of artifacts,
architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted), Plan of the second floor (attic storey) of the Hôtel de Brionne in Paris – 1734. Architecture (Latin ''architect ...
, biofacts or ecofacts and
cultural landscape Cultural landscape is a term used in the fields of geography, ecology, and heritage studies, to describe a symbiosis of human activity and environment. As defined by the World Heritage Committee, it is the "cultural properties hatrepresent the co ...
s. Archaeology can be considered both a
social science#REDIRECT Social science#REDIRECT Social science {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and a branch of the
humanities Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with divinity and referred to what is now called classics, the main area of secular study in universities at the time. ...
. In Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines, while in North America archaeology is a sub-field of
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and societies, in both the present and past, including past human species. Social anthropology studies patterns of behaviour, while cultur ...
. Archaeologists study human
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very e ...
and
history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...

history
, from the development of the first
stone tool A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric (particularly Stone Age) ...
s at
Lomekwi Lomekwi 3 is the name of an archaeological site in Kenya where ancient stone tools have been discovered dating to 3.3 million years ago, which make them the oldest ever found. Discovery In July 2011, a team of archeologists led by Sonia Harmand ...
in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from
palaeontology Paleontology, also spelled palaeontology or palæontology (), is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils ...
, which is the study of
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally "obtained by digging") is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or ...
remains. It is particularly important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. It ...
until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding
culture history Culture-historical archaeology is an archaeological theory that emphasises defining historical societies into distinct ethnic and cultural groupings according to their material culture. It originated in the late nineteenth century as cultural evol ...
to reconstructing past
lifeway Lifeway is a term used in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology and archeology, particularly in North America. History Literature From the mid 19th century, the word was used with the meaning 'way through life' or 'way of life'. It appear ...
s to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time. Derived from the Greek, the term ''archaeology'' literally means “the study of ancient history.” The discipline involves
surveying Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...
, excavation and eventually
analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics and logic since before Aristotle (384–322 B.C.), thoug ...
of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research. Archaeology developed out of
antiquarianism 's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655 An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: ''antiquarius'', meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the t ...
in Europe during the 19th century, and has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including
maritime archaeology Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology as a whole that specifically studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, s ...
,
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminist perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as sexuality, race, or class. Feminist archaeology has critiqued the uncr ...
and
archaeoastronomy illuminates the inner chamber of Newgrange, Ireland, only at the winter solstice. Archaeoastronomy (also spelled archeoastronomy) is the Interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary study of how people in the past "have understood ...
, and numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, today, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with
pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which rejec ...
, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, and opposition to the excavation of human remains.


History


First instances of archaeology

In
Ancient Mesopotamia The history of Mesopotamia ranges from the earliest human occupation in the Lower Sumerian period up to the Late antiquity. This history is pieced together from evidence retrieved from archaeological excavations and, after the introduction of writ ...
, a foundation deposit of the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region. The empire united Akkadian (Assyrian and Babylonian) and Sumerian s ...
ruler Naram-Sin (ruled circa 2200 BCE) was discovered and analysed by king
Nabonidus Nabonidus (; akk, 𒀭𒀝𒉎𒌇 , "Nabu is praised") was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BC (17 years). He seized power in a coup, toppling King Labashi-Marduk. He also angered the priests and commoners of Ba ...

Nabonidus
, circa 550 BCE, who is thus known as the first archaeologist. Not only did he lead the first excavations which were to find the foundation deposits of the temples of Šamaš the sun god, the warrior goddess Anunitu (both located in
Sippar Sippar (Sumerian: , Zimbir) was an ancient Near Eastern Sumerian and later Babylonian city on the east bank of the Euphrates river. Its ''tell'' is located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah near Yusufiyah in Iraq's Baghdad Governorate, some 60& ...
), and the sanctuary that Naram-Sin built to the moon god, located in
Harran Harran, ancient Carrhae, was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is in the modern village of Harran, Turkey, 44 kilometers southeast of Şanlıurfa. The location is in the Harran district of Şanlıurfa Province. The archaeolog ...
, but he also had them restored to their former glory. He was also the first to date an archaeological artifact in his attempt to date Naram-Sin's temple during his search for it. Even though his estimate was inaccurate by about 1,500 years, it was still a very good one considering the lack of accurate dating technology at the time.


Antiquarians

The science of archaeology (from
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor of ...
, ''archaiologia'' from , ''arkhaios'', "ancient" and , ''-logia'', "
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek ending in (''-logia''). The earliest English examples were anglicizations of the French ''-logie'', which was in turn inherited from the Latin ' ...
") grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied
history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the study of the past. Events occurring before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term that relates t ...

history
with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir
Richard Colt Hoare Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet FRS (9 December 1758 – 19 May 1838) was an English antiquarian, archaeologist, artist, and traveller of the 18th and 19th centuries, the first major figure in the detailed study of the history of his home cou ...
, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a
science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as w ...
took place during the
Enlightenment era The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=no, La ...
in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In
Imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient histo ...
during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties and ...
(960-1279), figures such as
Ouyang Xiu Ouyang Xiu (1 August 1007 – 22 September 1072), courtesy name Yongshu, also known by his art names Zuiweng ("Old Drunkard") and Liu Yi Jushi ("Retiree Six-One"), was a Chinese essayist, historian, poet, calligrapher, politician, and epigrapher ...
and Zhao Mingcheng established the tradition of Chinese
epigraphy Epigraphy ( grc, ἐπιγραφή, "inscription") is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing; it is the science of identifying graphemes, clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, an ...
by investigating, preserving, and analyzing ancient
Chinese bronze inscriptions Chinese bronze inscriptions, also commonly referred to as bronze script or bronzeware script, are writing in a variety of Chinese scripts on ritual bronzes such as ''zhōng'' bells and ''dǐng'' tripodal cauldrons from the Shang dynasty (2nd millen ...
from the
Shang The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and lower Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. T ...

Shang
and Zhou periods. In his book published in 1088,
Shen Kuo Shen Kuo (; 1031–1095) or Shen Gua, courtesy name Cunzhong (存中) and pseudonym Mengqi (now usually given as Mengxi) Weng (夢溪翁),Yao (2003), 544. was a Chinese polymathic scientist and statesman of the Song dynasty (960–1279). Excellin ...
criticized contemporary Chinese scholars for attributing ancient bronze vessels as creations of famous sages rather than artisan commoners, and for attempting to revive them for ritual use without discerning their original functionality and purpose of manufacture. Such antiquarian pursuits waned after the Song period, were revived in the 17th century during the
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The mult ...
, but were always considered a branch of
Chinese historiography Chinese historiography is the study of the techniques and sources used by historians to develop the recorded history of China. Overview of Chinese history The recording of Chinese history dates back to the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC). Many wr ...
rather than a separate discipline of archaeology. In
Renaissance Europe The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries. It occurred after the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages an ...
, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5th to the late 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages i ...
.
Flavio Biondo Flavio Biondo (Latin Flavius Blondus) (1392 – June 4, 1463) was an Italian Renaissance humanist historian. He was one of the first historians to use a three-period division of history (Ancient, Medieval, Modern) and is known as one of the fir ...
, an Italian
Renaissance humanist Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. During the period, the term ''humanist'' ( it, umanista) referred to teachers ...
historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and
topography of ancient Rome The topography of ancient Rome is a multidisciplinary field of study that draws on archaeology, epigraphy, cartography and philology. The classic English-language work of scholarship is ''A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome'' (1929), writt ...
in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and
William Camden William Camden (2 May 1551 – 9 November 1623) was an English antiquarian, historian, topographer, and herald, best known as author of ''Britannia'', the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, and the ''Annales' ...

William Camden
, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing, describing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered. The OED first cites "archaeologist" from 1824; this soon took over as the usual term for one major branch of antiquarian activity. "Archaeology", from 1607 onwards, initially meant what we would call "ancient history" generally, with the narrower modern sense first seen in 1837.


First excavations

One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was
Stonehenge Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, west of Amesbury. It consists of an outer ring of vertical Sarsen standing stones, each around high, wide, and weighing around 25 tons, topped by connecting hor ...
and other
megalithic monuments A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea. The word ...
in England.
John Aubrey John Aubrey (12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697) was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the ''Brief Lives'', his collection of short biographical pieces. He was a pioneer archaeologist, ...

John Aubrey
(1626–1697) was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous
megalith A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea. The word ...
ic and other field monuments in southern England. He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture, costume, and shield-shapes. Excavations were also carried out by the Spanish military engineer
Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre (16 August 1702 – 14 March 1780) was a military engineer in the Spanish Army who discovered architectural remains at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Early life Alcubierre was born and studied in Zaragoza, Spain. When he reac ...
in the ancient towns of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune'' of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area (e.g. at Boscoreale, Stabiae), was buried und ...
and
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune'' of Ercolano, Campania, Italy. The city was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Like the nearby cit ...
, both of which had been covered by ash during the
Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 Of the many eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, a major stratovolcano in southern Italy, the most famous is its eruption in 79 AD, which was one of the deadliest in European history. In the late summer or autumn of 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius violently spew ...
. These excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and even human shapes, as well the unearthing of
fresco Fresco (plural ''frescos'' or ''frescoes'') is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly laid ("wet") lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the dry-powder pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, ...
s, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the importance of concepts such as stratification and
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to su ...
were overlooked.


Development of archaeological method

The father of archaeological excavation was
William Cunnington William Cunnington FSA (1754 – 31 December 1810) was an English antiquarian and archaeologist. Cunnington was a self-educated merchant, who developed an interest in the rich archaeological landscape around the Wiltshire village of Heytesbur ...
(1754–1810). He undertook excavations in
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a county in South West England with an area of . It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, aft ...
from around 1798, funded by Sir
Richard Colt Hoare Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet FRS (9 December 1758 – 19 May 1838) was an English antiquarian, archaeologist, artist, and traveller of the 18th and 19th centuries, the first major figure in the detailed study of the history of his home cou ...
. Cunnington made meticulous recordings of
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
and
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
barrows, and the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of
stratigraphy through Jurassic strata of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah demonstrate the principles of stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primari ...
. The idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new
geological Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over t ...
and
paleontological Paleontology, also spelled palaeontology or palæontology (), is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils ...
work of scholars like William Smith,
James Hutton James Hutton (; 3 June 172614 June 1726 New Style. – 26 March 1797) was a Scottish geologist, agriculturalist, chemical manufacturer, naturalist and physician. Often referred to as the ‘father’ of modern geology, he played a key role in ...

James Hutton
and
Charles Lyell Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, (14 November 1797 – 22 February 1875) was a Scottish geologist who demonstrated the power of known natural causes in explaining Earth's history. He is best known as the author of ''Principles of Geology'' ...

Charles Lyell
. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron s ...
sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen Christian Jürgensen Thomsen (29 December 1788 – 21 May 1865) was a Danish antiquarian who developed early archaeological techniques and methods. In 1816 he was appointed head of 'antiquarian' collections which later developed into the Nation ...
began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and
ethnologist Ethnology (from the grc-gre, ἔθνος, meaning 'nation') is an academic field that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationships between them (compare cultural, social, or sociocultural anthropology). ...
,
Augustus Pitt Rivers Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers (14 April 18274 May 1900) was an English officer in the British Army, ethnologist, and archaeologist. He was noted for innovations in archaeological methodology, and in the museum display of archaeological and ...
, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s. His approach was highly methodical by the standards of the time, and he is widely regarded as the first scientific archaeologist. He arranged his artifacts by type or " typologically, and within types by date or "chronologically". This style of arrangement, designed to highlight the evolutionary trends in human artifacts, was of enormous significance for the accurate dating of the objects. His most important methodological innovation was his insistence that ''all'' artifacts, not just beautiful or unique ones, be collected and catalogued.
William Flinders Petrie The distinctive black-topped Egyptian pottery of the PreDynastic period associated with Flinders Petrie's Petrie_Museum.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="Sequence_dating_system,_Petrie_Museum">Sequence_dating_syste ...
is another man who may legitimately be called the Father of Archaeology. His painstaking recording and study of artifacts, both in Egypt and later in
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
, laid down many of the ideas behind modern archaeological recording; he remarked that "I believe the true line of research lies in the noting and comparison of the smallest details." Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings, which revolutionized the chronological basis of
Egyptology Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek , ''-logia''; ar, علم المصريات) is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, architecture and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of its native religious practic ...
. Petrie was the first to scientifically investigate the
Great Pyramid The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering present-day Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wond ...

Great Pyramid
in Egypt during the 1880s. He was also responsible for mentoring and training a whole generation of Egyptologists, including
Howard Carter Howard Carter (9 May 18742 March 1939) was an English archaeologist and Egyptologist. He became world-famous after discovering the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Tutankhamun in November 1922, the best-preserved pharaonic tomb ever found ...

Howard Carter
who went on to achieve fame with the discovery of the tomb of 14th-century BC pharaoh
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () ( 1342c. 1325 BC), commonly referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end o ...
. The first stratigraphic excavation to reach wide popularity with public was that of
Hissarlik , alternate_name = Troy , image = Troy composite.jpg , image_size=250 , alt = , caption = Hisarlik from above , map = , map_type = Turkey Marmara#Turkey , map_alt = Located at the edge of a cape projecting into the Aegean , map_size = ...
, on the site of ancient
Troy Troy ( grc, Τροία, ''Troía'', , ''Ī́lion'' or , ''Ī́lios''; la, Troia, also ;''Troia'' is the typical Latin name for the city. ''Īlium'' is a more poetic term: Hittite: 𒌷𒃾𒇻𒊭 ''Wilusa'' or 𒋫𒊒𒄿𒊭 ''Truwisa''; tr ...
, carried out by
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisar ...

Heinrich Schliemann
,
Frank Calvert 175px, Frank Calvert Frank Calvert (1828–1908) was an English expatriate who was a consular official in the eastern Mediterranean region and an amateur archaeologist. He began exploratory excavations on the mound at Hisarlik (the site of the anc ...
and
Wilhelm Dörpfeld Wilhelm Dörpfeld (26 December 1853 – 25 April 1940) was a German architect and archaeologist, a pioneer of stratigraphic excavation and precise graphical documentation of archaeological projects. He is famous for his work on Bronze Age sites ...
in the 1870s. These scholars individuated nine different cities that had overlapped with one another, from prehistory to the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic Egyp ...
. Meanwhile, the work of Sir
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete. Based on t ...
at
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city. Settled as early as the Neolithic period, the name ...
in
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern: , Ancient: '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Cor ...
revealed the ancient existence of an equally advanced
Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, flourishing from c. 3000 BC to c. 1450 BC and, after a late period of decline, finally ending around 1100 BC, during the early Greek Da ...
. The next major figure in the development of archaeology was Sir
Mortimer Wheeler Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler (10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army. Over the course of his career, he served as Director of both the National Museum of Wales and London Museum, D ...
, whose highly disciplined approach to excavation and systematic coverage in the 1920s and 1930s brought the science on swiftly. Wheeler developed the grid system of excavation, which was further improved by his student
Kathleen Kenyon Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon, (5 January 1906 – 24 August 1978) was a British archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent. She led excavations of Tell es-Sultan, the site of ancient Jericho, from 1952 to 1958, and has been called o ...
. Archaeology became a professional activity in the first half of the 20th century, and it became possible to study archaeology as a subject in universities and even schools. By the end of the 20th century nearly all professional archaeologists, at least in developed countries, were graduates. Further adaptation and innovation in archaeology continued in this period, when
maritime archaeology Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology as a whole that specifically studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, s ...
and
urban archaeology Urban archaeology is a sub discipline of archaeology specializing in the material past of towns and cities where long-term human habitation has often left a rich record of the past. In modern times, when someone talks about living in a city, they a ...
became more prevalent and
rescue archaeology#REDIRECT Rescue archaeology#REDIRECT Rescue archaeology {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
was developed as a result of increasing commercial development.Renfrew and Bahn (2004
991 Year 991 (CMXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. Events * March 1: In Rouen, Pope John XV ratifies the first Truce of God, between Æthelred the Unready and Richard I of No ...
33–35)


Purpose

The purpose of archaeology is to learn more about past societies and the development of the
human race Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only extant members ...
. Over 99% of the development of humanity has occurred within prehistoric cultures, who did not make use of
writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of computer languages); they are means of renderin ...

writing
, thereby no written records exist for study purposes. Without such written sources, the only way to understand prehistoric societies is through archaeology. Because archaeology is the study of past human activity, it stretches back to about 2.5 million years ago when we find the first stone tools – The Oldowan Industry. Many important developments in human history occurred during prehistory, such as the during the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. It ...
period, when the
hominin The Hominini form a taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the extant genera ''Homo'' (humans) and ''Pan'' (chimpanzees and bonobos), but excludes the genus ''Gorilla'' (gorillas). The term was originally intr ...
s developed from the
australopithecines Australopithecina or Hominina is a subtribe in the tribe Hominini. The members of the subtribe are generally ''Australopithecus'' (cladistically including the genera ''Homo'', ''Paranthropus'', and ''Kenyanthropus''), and it typically includes th ...
in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...

Africa
and eventually into modern ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They are the only extant members ...
''. Archaeology also sheds light on many of humanity's technological advances, for instance the ability to use fire, the development of
stone tool A stone tool is, in the most general sense, any tool made either partially or entirely out of stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistoric (particularly Stone Age) ...
s, the discovery of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements, their inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which are called alloys. Metallurgy encompasses both the science ...
, the beginnings of
religion Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elem ...
and the creation of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled peo ...
. Without archaeology, we would know little or nothing about the use of material culture by humanity that pre-dates writing. However, it is not only prehistoric, pre-literate cultures that can be studied using archaeology but historic, literate cultures as well, through the sub-discipline of
historical archaeology Historical archaeology is a form of archaeology dealing with places, things, and issues from the past or present when written records and oral traditions can inform and contextualize cultural material. These records can both complement and conflict ...
. For many literate cultures, such as
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity ( AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a historical region of Western Asia situated withi ...
, their surviving records are often incomplete and biased to some extent. In many societies, literacy was restricted to the
elite In political and sociological theory, the elite (French ''élite'', from Latin ''eligere'', to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, privilege, political power, or skill in a soc ...
classes, such as the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the ter ...
or the
bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials and to an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected offic ...
of court or temple. The literacy even of
aristocrats Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocrats. The term derives from the Greek ''aristokratia'', ...
has sometimes been restricted to deeds and contracts. The interests and world-view of elites are often quite different from the lives and interests of the populace. Writings that were produced by people more representative of the general population were unlikely to find their way into
libraries A library is a curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical location or a virtu ...
and be preserved there for posterity. Thus, written records tend to reflect the biases, assumptions, cultural values and possibly deceptions of a limited range of individuals, usually a small fraction of the larger population. Hence, written records cannot be trusted as a sole source. The material record may be closer to a fair representation of society, though it is subject to its own biases, such as
sampling bias In statistics, sampling bias is a bias in which a sample is collected in such a way that some members of the intended population have a lower or higher sampling probability than others. It results in a biased sample of a population (or non-human f ...
and differential preservation. Often, archaeology provides the only means to learn of the existence and behaviors of people of the past. Across the millennia many thousands of cultures and societies and billions of people have come and gone of which there is little or no written record or existing records are misrepresentative or incomplete. Writing as it is known today did not exist in human civilization until the 4th millennium BC, in a relatively small number of technologically advanced civilizations. In contrast, ''Homo sapiens'' has existed for at least 200,000 years, and other species of ''Homo'' for millions of years (see
Human evolution Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans, beginning with the evolutionary history of primates—in particular genus ''Homo''—and leading to the emergence of ''Homo sapiens'' as a distinc ...

Human evolution
). These civilizations are, not coincidentally, the best-known; they are open to the inquiry of historians for centuries, while the study of pre-historic cultures has arisen only recently. Even within a literate civilization many events and important human practices are not officially recorded. Any knowledge of the early years of human civilization – the development of agriculture, cult practices of folk religion, the rise of the first cities – must come from archaeology. In addition to their scientific importance, archaeological remains sometimes have political or cultural significance to descendants of the people who produced them, monetary value to collectors, or simply strong aesthetic appeal. Many people identify archaeology with the recovery of such aesthetic, religious, political, or economic treasures rather than with the reconstruction of past societies. This view is often espoused in works of popular fiction, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and King Solomon's Mines. When such unrealistic subjects are treated more seriously, accusations of pseudoscience are invariably levelled at their proponents ''(see
Pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which rejec ...
)''. However, these endeavours, real and fictional, are not representative of modern archaeology.


Theory

There is no one approach to archaeological theory that has been adhered to by all archaeologists. When archaeology developed in the late 19th century, the first approach to archaeological theory to be practiced was that of
cultural-history archaeology Culture-historical archaeology is an archaeological theory that emphasises defining historical societies into distinct ethnic and cultural groupings according to their material culture. It originated in the late nineteenth century as cultural evol ...
, which held the goal of explaining why cultures changed and adapted rather than just highlighting the fact that they did, therefore emphasizing
historical particularism Historical particularism (coined by Marvin Harris in 1968)Harris, Marvin: ''The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture''. 1968. (Reissued 2001) New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company is widely considered the first American a ...
. In the early 20th century, many archaeologists who studied past societies with direct continuing links to existing ones (such as those of Native Americans,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been part of modern Russia since the latter half of the 16th century. Novosibirsk is th ...
ns,
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica. Within this region pre-Columbian societies f ...
ns etc.) followed the direct historical approach, compared the continuity between the past and contemporary ethnic and cultural groups. In the 1960s, an archaeological movement largely led by American archaeologists like
Lewis Binford Lewis Roberts Binford (November 21, 1931 – April 11, 2011) was an American archaeologist known for his influential work in archaeological theory, ethnoarchaeology and the Paleolithic period. He is widely considered among the most influent ...
and
Kent Flannery Kent Vaughn Flannery (born 1934) is a North American archaeologist who has conducted and published extensive research on the pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica, and in particular those of central and southern Mexico. He has al ...
arose that rebelled against the established cultural-history archaeology. They proposed a "New Archaeology", which would be more "scientific" and "anthropological", with
hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous obser ...
testing and the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given t ...
very important parts of what became known as
processual archaeology Processual archaeology (formerly, the New Archaeology) is a form of archaeological theory that had its genesis in 1958 with the work of Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips, ''Method and Theory in American Archaeology,'' in which the pair stated that ...
. In the 1980s, a new
postmodern Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. The term has been more generally applied to describe a historical er ...
movement arose led by the British archaeologists
Michael Shanks Michael Garrett Shanks (born December 15, 1970) is a Canadian actor, writer and director. He is known for playing Dr. Daniel Jackson in the long-running Canadian–American military science fiction television series ''Stargate SG-1'' and as Dr. ...
,
Christopher Tilley __NOTOC__ Chris Tilley is a British archaeologist known for his contributions to postprocessualist archaeological theory. He is currently a Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at University College London. Tilley obtained his PhD in Anthrop ...
, Daniel Miller, and
Ian Hodder Ian Richard Hodder (born 23 November 1948, in Bristol) is a British archaeologist and pioneer of postprocessualist theory in archaeology that first took root among his students and in his own work between 1980–1990. At this time he had such stu ...
, which has become known as
post-processual archaeology Post-processual archaeology, which is sometimes alternately referred to as the interpretative archaeologies by its adherents, is a movement in archaeological theory that emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations. Despite having a ...
. It questioned processualism's appeals to scientific positivism and impartiality, and emphasized the importance of a more self-critical theoretical reflexivity. However, this approach has been criticized by processualists as lacking scientific rigor, and the validity of both processualism and post-processualism is still under debate. Meanwhile, another theory, known as historical processualism has emerged seeking to incorporate a focus on process and post-processual archaeology's emphasis of reflexivity and history. Archaeological theory now borrows from a wide range of influences, including , 5/span>
phenomenology Phenomenology may refer to: * Empirical research, when used to describe measurement methods in some sciences * An empirical relationship or phenomenological model * Phenomenology (architecture), based on the experience of building materials and the ...
,
postmodernism Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism. The term has been more generally applied to describe a historical er ...
,
agency theory Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution * the abstract principle that autonomous beings, agents, are capable of acting by themselves; see autonomy Abstract principle * Agency (law), a person acting on behalf of another person ...
,
cognitive science Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary, scientific study of the mind and its processes. It examines the nature, the tasks, and the functions of cognition (in a broad sense). Cognitive scientists study intelligence and behavior, with a focus ...
,
structural functionalism Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is "a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability". This approach looks at society through a macro-level orie ...
, gender-based and
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminist perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as sexuality, race, or class. Feminist archaeology has critiqued the uncr ...
, and
systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, which are cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent parts that can be natural or human-made. Every system is bounded by space and time, influenced by its environment, defined by its st ...
.


Methods

An archaeological investigation usually involves several distinct phases, each of which employs its own variety of methods. Before any practical work can begin, however, a clear objective as to what the archaeologists are looking to achieve must be agreed upon. This done, a site is
surveyed Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...
to find out as much as possible about it and the surrounding area. Second, an excavation may take place to uncover any archaeological features buried under the ground. And, third, the information collected during the excavation is studied and evaluated in an attempt to achieve the original research objectives of the archaeologists. It is then considered good practice for the information to be published so that it is available to other archaeologists and historians, although this is sometimes neglected.


Remote sensing

Before actually starting to dig in a location,
remote sensing image of Death Valley colored using polarimetry. Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus is in contrast to on-site observation. The term is applied e ...
can be used to look where sites are located within a large area or provide more information about sites or regions. There are two types of remote sensing instruments—passive and active. Passive instruments detect natural energy that is reflected or emitted from the observed scene. Passive instruments sense only radiation emitted by the object being viewed or reflected by the object from a source other than the instrument. Active instruments emit energy and record what is reflected.
Satellite imagery Satellite images (also Earth observation imagery, spaceborne photography, or simply satellite photo) are images of Earth collected by imaging satellites operated by governments and businesses around the world. Satellite imaging companies sell imag ...
is an example of passive remote sensing. Here are two active remote sensing instruments:
Lidar#REDIRECT Lidar {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from alternative name {{R from move {{R unprintworthy ...
(Light Detection and Ranging) A lidar uses a laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) to transmit a light pulse and a receiver with sensitive detectors to measure the backscattered or reflected light. Distance to the object is determined by recording the time between the transmitted and backscattered pulses and using the speed of light to calculate the distance travelled. Lidars can determine atmospheric profiles of aerosols, clouds, and other constituents of the atmosphere.
Laser altimeter A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radia ...
A laser altimeter uses a lidar (see above) to measure the height of the instrument platform above the surface. By independently knowing the height of the platform with respect to the mean Earth's surface, the topography of the underlying surface can be determined.


Field survey

The archaeological project then continues (or alternatively, begins) with a
field survey Field research, field studies, or fieldwork is the collection of raw data outside a laboratory, library, or workplace setting. The approaches and methods used in field research vary across disciplines. For example, biologists who conduct field ...
. Regional survey is the attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region. Site survey is the attempt to systematically locate features of interest, such as houses and
midden A midden (also kitchen midden or shell heap) is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, mollusc shells, potsherds, lithics (especially debitage), and other artifacts and ecofacts a ...
s, within a site. Each of these two goals may be accomplished with largely the same methods. Survey was not widely practiced in the early days of archaeology. Cultural historians and prior researchers were usually content with discovering the locations of monumental sites from the local populace, and excavating only the plainly visible
features Feature may refer to: Computing * Feature (CAD), could be a hole, pocket, or notch * Feature (computer vision), could be an edge, corner or blob * Feature (software design) is an intentional distinguishing characteristic of a software item (i ...
there.
Gordon Willey Gordon Randolph Willey (7 March 1913 – 28 April 2002) was an American archaeologist who was described by colleagues as the "dean" of New World archaeology.Sabloff 2004, p.406 Willey performed fieldwork at excavations in South America, Central Ame ...
pioneered the technique of regional settlement pattern survey in 1949 in the
Viru Valley The Viru Valley is located in La Libertad Region on the north west coast of Peru. The Viru Valley Project In 1946 the first attempt to study settlement patterns in the Americas took place in the Viru Valley, led by Gordon Willey. Rather than examin ...
of coastal
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = National seal , national_motto ...
, and survey of all levels became prominent with the rise of processual archaeology some years later. Survey work has many benefits if performed as a preliminary exercise to, or even in place of, excavation. It requires relatively little time and expense, because it does not require processing large volumes of soil to search out artifacts. (Nevertheless, surveying a large region or site can be expensive, so archaeologists often employ
sampling Sampling may refer to: *Sampling (signal processing), converting a continuous signal into a discrete signal *Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound recording in anoth ...
methods.) As with other forms of non-destructive archaeology, survey avoids ethical issues (of particular concern to descendant peoples) associated with destroying a site through excavation. It is the only way to gather some forms of information, such as
settlement patterns Settlement may refer to: *Human settlement, a community where people live *Settlement (structural), the distortion or disruption of parts of a building *Closing (real estate), the final step in executing a real estate transaction *Settlement (finan ...
and settlement structure. Survey data are commonly assembled into
map A map is a symbolic depiction emphasizing relationships between elements of some space, such as objects, regions, or themes. Many maps are static, fixed to paper or some other durable medium, while others are dynamic or interactive. Although ...
s, which may show surface features and/or artifact distribution. The simplest survey technique is surface survey. It involves combing an area, usually on foot but sometimes with the use of mechanized transport, to search for features or artifacts visible on the surface. Surface survey cannot detect sites or features that are completely buried under earth, or overgrown with vegetation. Surface survey may also include mini-excavation techniques such as augers, corers, and
shovel test {{Redirect, Sounding (archaeology), sondage by digging trenches, Trial trenching A shovel test pit (STP) is a standard method for Phase I of an archaeological survey. It is usually a part of the Cultural Resources Management (CRM) methodology and a ...
pits. If no materials are found, the area surveyed is deemed
sterile Sterile or sterility may refer to: *Asepsis, a state of being free from biological contaminants *Sterile (archaeology), sediment containing no evidence of human activity *Sterilization (microbiology), any process that eliminates or kills all forms ...
.
Aerial survey The InView UAV for use in aerial survey applications. Aerial survey is a method of collecting geomatics or other imagery by using airplanes, helicopters, UAVs, balloons or other aerial methods. Typical types of data collected include aerial photogr ...
is conducted using
camera A camera is an optical instrument used to capture an image. At their most basic, cameras are sealed boxes (the camera body) with a small hole (the aperture) that allows light in to capture an image on a light-sensitive surface (usually photogr ...
s attached to
airplane An airplane or aeroplane (informally plane) is a fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine, propeller, or rocket engine. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurations. The broad spectrum ...

airplane
s,
balloons A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, and air. For special tasks, balloons can be filled with smoke, liquid water, granular media (e.g. sand, flour or rice), or light so ...
,
UAVs being tested in California. , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or uncrewed aerial vehicle, also known as unmanned aircraft or uncrewed aircraft (UA), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human ...
, or even
Kite . This sparless, ram-air inflated kite, has a complex bridle formed of many strings attached to the face of the wing. A kite is a tethered heavier-than-air or lighter-than-air craft with wing surfaces that react against the air to create lift an ...
s. A bird's-eye view is useful for quick mapping of large or complex sites. Aerial photographs are used to document the status of the archaeological dig. Aerial imaging can also detect many things not visible from the surface.
Plant Plants are mainly multicellular organisms, predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. Historically, plants were treated as one of two kingdoms including all living things that were not animals, and all algae and fungi wer ...
s growing above a buried man made structure, such as a stone wall, will develop more slowly, while those above other types of features (such as
midden A midden (also kitchen midden or shell heap) is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, mollusc shells, potsherds, lithics (especially debitage), and other artifacts and ecofacts a ...
s) may develop more rapidly. Photographs of ripening
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed, with or without an attached hull or fruit layer, harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes. After b ...
, which changes colour rapidly at maturation, have revealed buried structures with great precision. Aerial photographs taken at different times of day will help show the outlines of structures by changes in shadows. Aerial survey also employs
ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength from 10 nm (with a corresponding frequency around 30 PHz) to 400 nm (750 THz), shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays. UV radiation is present in s ...
,
infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of visible light. It is therefore invisible to the human eye. IR is generally understood to encompass wavelengths from the nomi ...
, ground-penetrating
radar Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. A radar system cons ...
wavelengths,
LiDAR#REDIRECT Lidar {{Redirect category shell, {{R from other capitalisation {{R from alternative name {{R from move {{R unprintworthy ...
and
thermography Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal imaging, and thermal video are examples of infrared imaging science. Thermographic cameras usually detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum (roughly 9,000–14,000 nanometer ...
.
Geophysical survey Geophysical survey is the systematic collection of geophysical data for spatial studies. Detection and analysis of the geophysical signals forms the core of Geophysical signal processing. The magnetic and gravitational fields emanating from the Ea ...
can be the most effective way to see beneath the ground.
Magnetometer A magnetometer is a device that measures magnetic field or magnetic dipole moment. Some magnetometers measure the direction, strength, or relative change of a magnetic field at a particular location. A compass is one such device, one that measures ...
s detect minute deviations in the
Earth's magnetic field Earth's magnetic field, also known as the geomagnetic field, is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth's interior out into space, where it interacts with the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun. The magnetic f ...
caused by
iron Iron () is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from la, ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, right in front of o ...

iron
artifacts,
kiln , Wrecclesham, Surrey with the preserved bottle kiln on the right of photo kiln under construction Image:CarKiln5951.JPG, 250px, An empty, intermittent kiln. This specific example is a "car kiln"; the base is on wheels and has been rolled out ...
s, some types of
stone structures Stone structures, or megaliths, have been erected by humanity for thousands of years. Many of these structures were built around the same time, the 3rd millennium BC. Some of the better-known ones: *Easter Island *Egyptian Pyramids *Medicine wheel ...
, and even ditches and middens. Devices that measure the
electrical resistivity Electrical resistivity (also called specific electrical resistance or volume resistivity) is a fundamental property of a material that quantifies how strongly it resists electric current. Its inverse, called electrical conductivity, quantifies ...
of the soil are also widely used. Archaeological features whose electrical resistivity contrasts with that of surrounding soils can be detected and mapped. Some archaeological features (such as those composed of stone or brick) have higher resistivity than typical soils, while others (such as organic deposits or unfired clay) tend to have lower resistivity. Although some archaeologists consider the use of
metal detector A metal detector is an instrument that detects the presence of metal nearby. Metal detectors are useful for finding metal inclusions hidden within objects, or metal objects buried underground. They often consist of a handheld unit with a sensor p ...
s to be tantamount to treasure hunting, others deem them an effective tool in archaeological surveying. Examples of formal archaeological use of metal detectors include musketball distribution analysis on
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of religious freedom. It was ...
battlefields, metal distribution analysis prior to excavation of a 19th-century ship wreck, and service cable location during evaluation. Metal detectorists have also contributed to archaeology where they have made detailed records of their results and refrained from raising artifacts from their archaeological context. In the UK, metal detectorists have been solicited for involvement in the
Portable Antiquities Scheme The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) is a voluntary programme run by the United Kingdom government to record the increasing numbers of small finds of archaeological interest found by members of the public. The scheme begun in 1997 and now covers mo ...
. Regional survey in
underwater archaeology Wreck of ''E. Russ'' in national heritage monument.">National heritage site">national heritage monument. Underwater archaeology is archaeology practiced underwater. As with all other branches of archaeology, it evolved from its roots in pre-histor ...
uses geophysical or remote sensing devices such as marine magnetometer,
side-scan sonar Side-scan sonar (also sometimes called side scan sonar, sidescan sonar, side imaging sonar, side-imaging sonar and bottom classification sonar) is a category of sonar system that is used to efficiently create an image of large areas of the sea fl ...

side-scan sonar
, or sub-bottom sonar.


Excavation

Archaeological excavation existed even when the field was still the domain of amateurs, and it remains the source of the majority of data recovered in most field projects. It can reveal several types of information usually not accessible to survey, such as
stratigraphy through Jurassic strata of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah demonstrate the principles of stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primari ...
, three-dimensional structure, and verifiably primary context. Modern excavation techniques require that the precise locations of objects and features, known as their
provenance Provenance (from the French ''provenir'', 'to come from/forth') is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. The term was originally mostly used in relation to works of art but is now used in similar senses in ...
or provenience, be recorded. This always involves determining their horizontal locations, and sometimes vertical position as well (also see Primary Laws of Archaeology). Likewise, their
association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry *Voluntary association ...
, or
relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship, a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people * Correlation and dependence, relationships in mathematics and statistics between two variables or se ...
with nearby objects and
features Feature may refer to: Computing * Feature (CAD), could be a hole, pocket, or notch * Feature (computer vision), could be an edge, corner or blob * Feature (software design) is an intentional distinguishing characteristic of a software item (i ...
, needs to be recorded for later analysis. This allows the archaeologist to deduce which artifacts and features were likely used together and which may be from different phases of activity. For example, excavation of a site reveals its
stratigraphy through Jurassic strata of the Colorado Plateau area of southeastern Utah demonstrate the principles of stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primari ...
; if a site was occupied by a succession of distinct cultures, artifacts from more recent cultures will lie above those from more ancient cultures. Excavation is the most expensive phase of archaeological research, in relative terms. Also, as a destructive process, it carries
ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, c ...
concerns. As a result, very few sites are excavated in their entirety. Again the percentage of a site excavated depends greatly on the country and "method statement" issued.
Sampling Sampling may refer to: *Sampling (signal processing), converting a continuous signal into a discrete signal *Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound recording in anoth ...
is even more important in excavation than in survey. Sometimes large mechanical equipment, such as
backhoe Excavator digging in Japan.html"_style="text-decoration:_none;"class="mw-redirect"_title="Tokyo,_Japan">Tokyo,_Japan_ A_backhoe—also_called_rear_actor_or_back_actor—is_a_type_of_excavating_equipment,_or_excavator.html" style="text-deco ...
s ( JCBs), is used in excavation, especially to remove the
topsoil Topsoil is the upper, outermost layer of soil, usually the top . It has the highest concentration of organic matter and microorganisms and is where most of the Earth's biological soil activity occurs. Topsoil is composed of mineral particles, orga ...
(
overburden In mining, overburden (also called waste or spoil) is the material that lies above an area that lends itself to economical exploitation, such as the rock, soil, and ecosystem that lies above a coal seam or ore body. Overburden is distinct from taili ...
), though this method is increasingly used with great caution. Following this rather dramatic step, the exposed area is usually hand-cleaned with
trowel A trowel is a small hand tool used for digging, applying, smoothing, or moving small amounts of viscous or particulate material. Common varieties include the masonry trowel, garden trowel, and float trowel. A power trowel is a much larger gaso ...

trowel
s or hoes to ensure that all features are apparent. The next task is to form a
site plan A site plan or a plot plan is a type of drawing used by architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and engineers which shows existing and proposed conditions for a given area, typically a parcel of land which is to be modified. Sites plan t ...
and then use it to help decide the method of excavation. Features dug into the natural subsoil are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible
archaeological section In archaeology a section is a view in part of the archaeological sequence showing it in the vertical plane, as a cross section, and thereby illustrating its profile and stratigraphy. This may make it easier to view and interpret as it developed ov ...
for recording. A feature, for example a pit or a ditch, consists of two parts: the cut and the fill. The cut describes the edge of the feature, where the feature meets the natural soil. It is the feature's boundary. The fill is what the feature is filled with, and will often appear quite distinct from the natural soil. The cut and fill are given consecutive numbers for recording purposes. Scaled plans and sections of individual features are all drawn on site, black and white and colour photographs of them are taken, and
recording A record, recording or records may refer to: An item or collection of data Computing * Record (computer science), a data structure ** Record, or row (database), a set of fields in a database related to one entity ** Boot sector or boot record, rec ...
sheets are filled in describing the
context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence language use, language variation, and discourse summary. Computing * Context (computing), the virtual environment required to su ...
of each. All this information serves as a permanent record of the now-destroyed archaeology and is used in describing and interpreting the site.


Analysis

Once artifacts and structures have been excavated, or collected from surface surveys, it is necessary to properly study them. This process is known as
post-excavation analysis Post-excavation analysis constitutes processes that are used to study archaeological materials after an excavation is completed. Since the advent of "New Archaeology" in the 1960s, the use of scientific techniques in archaeology has grown in import ...
, and is usually the most time-consuming part of an archaeological investigation. It is not uncommon for final excavation reports for major sites to take years to be published. At a basic level of analysis, artifacts found are cleaned, catalogued and compared to published collections. This comparison process often involves classifying them typologically and identifying other sites with similar artifact assemblages. However, a much more comprehensive range of analytical techniques are available through
archaeological science Archaeological science, also known as archaeometry, consists of the application of scientific techniques to the analysis of archaeological materials, to assist in dating the materials. It is related to methodologies of archaeology. Martinón-Torre ...
, meaning that artifacts can be dated and their compositions examined. Bones, plants, and pollen collected from a site can all be analyzed using the methods of
zooarchaeology Zoo-archaeology (or archaeo-zoology), also known as faunal analysis, is a branch of archaeology that studies remains of animals from archaeological sites. Faunal remains are the items left behind when an animal dies. These include bones, shells, h ...
,
paleoethnobotany Flotation machine in use at Hallan Çemi, southeast Turkey, c. 1990. Note the two sieves catching charred seeds and charcoal, and the bags of archaeological matrix waiting for flotation Pal(a)eoethnobotany or archaeobotany is a sub-field of environm ...
,
palynology pollen under the microscope Image:Trilete spores.png"> A late Silurian sporangium bearing trilete spores. Such spores provide the earliest evidence of life on land. Green: A spore tetrad. Blue: A spore bearing a trilete mark – the Y-shaped ...
and
stable isotopes The term stable isotope has a meaning similar to stable nuclide, but is preferably used when speaking of nuclides of a specific element. Hence, the plural form stable isotopes usually refers to isotopes of the same element. The relative abundance ...
while any texts can usually be deciphered. These techniques frequently provide information that would not otherwise be known, and therefore they contribute greatly to the understanding of a site.


Computational and virtual archaeology

Computer graphics#REDIRECT Computer graphics#REDIRECT Computer graphics {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
are now used to build virtual
3D models#REDIRECT 3D modeling#REDIRECT 3D modeling {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
of sites, such as the throne room of an Assyrian palace or ancient Rome.
Photogrammetry Photogrammetry is the science and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the process of recording, measuring and interpreting photographic images and patterns of electromagnetic radiant imag ...
is also used as an analytical tool, and digital
topographical Topography is the study of the forms and features of land surfaces. The topography of an area could refer to the surface forms and features themselves, or a description (especially their depiction in maps). Topography is a field of geoscience ...
models have been combined with
astronomical Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to explain t ...
calculations to verify whether or not certain structures (such as pillars) were aligned with astronomical events such as the sun's position at a
solstice A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countrie ...
.
Agent-based modeling An agent-based model (ABM) is a class of computational models for simulating the actions and interactions of autonomous agents (both individual or collective entities such as organizations or groups) with a view to assessing their effects on the sys ...
and
simulation A simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. Simulations require the use of models; the model represents the key characteristics or behaviors of the selected system or process, whereas the simulat ...
can be used to better understand past social dynamics and outcomes.
Data mining#REDIRECT Data mining#REDIRECT Data mining {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
can be applied to large bodies of archaeological 'grey literature'.


Drones

Archaeologists around the world use drones to speed up survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners. In Peru, small drones helped researchers produce three-dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the usual flat maps – and in days and weeks instead of months and years. Drones costing as little as £650 have proven useful. In 2013, drones have flown over at least six Peruvian archaeological sites, including the colonial Andean town Machu Llacta above sea level. The drones continue to have altitude problems in the Andes, leading to plans to make a drone
blimp A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is an airship (dirigible) without an internal structural framework or a keel. Unlike semi-rigid and rigid airships (e.g. Zeppelins), blimps rely on the pressure of the lifting gas (usually helium, rather than hydr ...
, employing open source software. Jeffrey Quilter, an archaeologist with Harvard University said, "You can go up three metres and photograph a room, 300 metres and photograph a site, or you can go up 3,000 metres and photograph the entire valley." In September 2014 drones weighing about were used for 3D mapping of the above-ground ruins of the Greek city of
Aphrodisias Aphrodisias (; grc, Ἀφροδισιάς, Aphrodisiás) was a small ancient Greek Hellenistic city in the historic Caria cultural region of western Anatolia, Turkey. It is located near the modern village of Geyre, about east/inland from the coast ...
. The data are being analysed by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Vienna.


Academic sub-disciplines

As with most
academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary or tertiary higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the worldwide group composed of professors and researchers at in ...
disciplines, there are a very large number of
archaeological sub-disciplines As with most academic disciplines, there are a number of archaeological sub-disciplines typically characterised by a focus on a specific method or type of material, geographical or chronological focus, or other thematic concern. By civilization Cer ...
characterized by a specific method or type of material (e.g.,
lithic analysis In archaeology, lithic analysis is the analysis of stone tools and other chipped stone artifacts using basic scientific techniques. At its most basic level, lithic analyses involve an analysis of the artifact’s morphology, the measurement of va ...
,
music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. General definitions of music include common e ...
,
archaeobotany Flotation machine in use at Hallan Çemi, southeast Turkey, c. 1990. Note the two sieves catching charred seeds and charcoal, and the bags of archaeological matrix waiting for flotation Pal(a)eoethnobotany or archaeobotany is a sub-field of environm ...
), geographical or chronological focus (e.g.
Near Eastern archaeology Near Eastern archaeology is a regional branch of the wider, global discipline of archaeology. It refers generally to the excavation and study of artifacts and material culture of the Near East from antiquity to the recent past. Definition The de ...
, Islamic archaeology,
Medieval archaeology Medieval archaeology is the study of humankind through its material culture, specialising in the period of the European Middle Ages. At its broadest, the period stretches from the 5th to the 16th century and refers to post-Roman but pre-modern rem ...
), other thematic concern (e.g.
maritime archaeology Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology as a whole that specifically studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, s ...
,
landscape archaeology Landscape archaeology, a sub-discipline of archaeology and archaeological theory, is the study of the ways in which people in the past constructed and used the environment around them. It is also known as archaeogeography (from the Greek "ancient" ...
,
battlefield archaeologyBattlefield archaeology is a sub-discipline of archaeology which studies the material remains and topography of a battlefield to understand a conflict. Archaeological battlefields consist of skirmishes, sieges, camps, and training sites. The study of ...
), or a specific
archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of types of artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specific period and region that may constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between these ty ...
or
civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbolic systems of communication (such as writing). Civilizations are intimately associat ...

civilization
(e.g.
Egyptology Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek , ''-logia''; ar, علم المصريات) is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, architecture and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of its native religious practic ...
,
Indology Indology or Indian studies is the academic study of the history and cultures, languages, and literature of India and as such is a subset of Asian studies. The term ''Indology'' (in German, ''Indologie'') is often associated with German scholars ...
,
Sinology Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China primarily through Chinese philosophy, language, literature, culture and history and often refers to Western scholarship. Its origin "may be traced to the exami ...
).


Historical archaeology

Historical archaeology is the study of cultures with some form of writing. In
England England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continent ...
, archaeologists have uncovered layouts of 14th century medieval villages, abandoned after crises such as the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Afro-Eurasia from 1346 to 1353. It is the most fatal pandemic recorded in human history, causing the death of people i ...
. In downtown
New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 distributed over about , New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the Unit ...

New York City
, archaeologists have exhumed the 18th century remains of the
African Burial Ground African Burial Ground National Monument is a monument at Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street) in the Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Its main building is the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway. Th ...
. When remnants of the
WWII World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...

WWII
Siegfried Line The Siegfried Line, known in German as the ''Westwall'', was a German defensive line built during the 1930s opposite the French Maginot Line. It stretched more than ; from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands, along the western border of the ...
were being destroyed, emergency archaeological digs took place whenever any part of the line was removed, to further scientific knowledge and reveal details of the line's construction.


Ethnoarchaeology

EthnoarchaeologyEthnoarchaeology is the ethnographic study of peoples for archaeological reasons, usually through the study of the material remains of a society (see David & Kramer 2001). Ethnoarchaeology aids archaeologists in reconstructing ancient lifeways by st ...
is the ethnographic study of living people, designed to aid in our interpretation of the archaeological record. The approach first gained prominence during the processual movement of the 1960s, and continues to be a vibrant component of post-processual and other current archaeological approaches. Early ethnoarchaeological research focused on
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by foraging (collecting wild plants and pursuing wild animals). Hunter-gatherer societies stand in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on dome ...
or foraging societies; today ethnoarchaeological research encompasses a much wider range of human behaviour.


Experimental archaeology

Experimental archaeology 200px, Creating a wall of mud in the Viking style. Experimental archaeology (also called experiment archaeology and experiential archaeology) is a field of study which attempts to generate and test archaeological hypotheses, usually by replicating ...
represents the application of the experimental method to develop more highly controlled observations of processes that create and impact the archaeological record. In the context of the logical positivism of processualism with its goals of improving the scientific rigor of archaeological epistemologies the experimental method gained importance. Experimental techniques remain a crucial component to improving the inferential frameworks for interpreting the archaeological record.


Archaeometry

Archaeometry Archaeological science, also known as archaeometry, consists of the application of scientific techniques to the analysis of archaeological materials, to assist in dating the materials. It is related to methodologies of archaeology. Martinón-Torre ...
aims to systematize archaeological measurement. It emphasizes the application of analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering. It is a field of research that frequently focuses on the definition of the chemical composition of archaeological remains for source analysis. Archaeometry also investigates different spatial characteristics of features, employing methods such as space syntax techniques and
geodesy Geodesy () is the Earth science of accurately measuring and understanding Earth's geometric shape, orientation in space and gravitational field. The field also incorporates studies of how these properties change over time and equivalent measure ...
as well as computer-based tools such as
geographic information system A geographic information system (GIS) is a conceptualized framework that provides the ability to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data. GIS applications (or GIS apps) are computer-based tools that allow the user to create interactive qu ...
technology.
Rare earth elements The rare-earth elements, also called the rare-earth metals or (in context) rare-earth oxides, or the lanthanides (though yttrium and scandium are usually included as rare-earths) are a set of 17 nearly indistinguishable lustrous silvery-white s ...
patterns may also be used. A relatively nascent subfield is that of archaeological materials, designed to enhance understanding of prehistoric and non-industrial culture through scientific analysis of the structure and properties of materials associated with human activity.


Cultural resources management

Archaeology can be a subsidiary activity within
Cultural resources management :''This article is concerned with cultural resources in the widest sense: for traditional, archaeological and historic culture specifically, also see cultural heritage management'' In the broadest sense, cultural resource management (CRM) is the vo ...
(CRM), also called
Cultural heritage management#REDIRECT Cultural heritage management#REDIRECT Cultural heritage management {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
(CHM) in the United Kingdom. CRM archaeologists frequently examine archaeological sites that are threatened by development. Today, CRM accounts for most of the archaeological research done in the United States and much of that in
western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe farthest from Asia, with the countries and territories included varying depending on context. After the beginning of foreign exploration in the Age of Discovery, roughly from the 15th century, the concept ...
as well. In the US, CRM archaeology has been a growing concern since the passage of the
National Historic Preservation Act The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA; Public Law 89-665; 54 U.S.C. 300101 ''et seq.'') is legislation intended to preserve historic and archaeological sites in the United States of America. The act created the National Register of Historic ...
(NHPA) of 1966, and most taxpayers, scholars, and politicians believe that CRM has helped preserve much of that nation's history and prehistory that would have otherwise been lost in the expansion of cities, dams, and highways. Along with other statutes, the NHPA mandates that projects on federal land or involving federal funds or permits consider the effects of the project on each
archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or historic or contemporary), and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and ...
. The application of CRM in the United Kingdom is not limited to government-funded projects. Since 1990,
PPG 16Planning Policy Guidance 16: Archaeology and Planning commonly abbreviated as PPG 16, was a document produced by the UK Government to advise local planning authorities in England and Wales on the treatment of archaeology within the planning process. ...
has required planners to consider archaeology as a
material consideration A material consideration, in the United Kingdom, is a process in planning law in which the decision maker when assessing an application for development must consider in deciding the outcome of an application. Material considerations in the past ha ...
in determining applications for new development. As a result, numerous archaeological organizations undertake mitigation work in advance of (or during) construction work in archaeologically sensitive areas, at the developer's expense. In England, ultimate responsibility of care for the historic environment rests with the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Department may refer to: * Departmentalization, division of a larger organization into parts with specific responsibility Government and military *Department (country subdivision), a geographical and administrative division within a country, for e ...
in association with
English Heritage English Heritage (officially the English Heritage Trust) is a charity that manages over 400 historic monuments, buildings and places. These include prehistoric sites, medieval castles, Roman forts and country houses. The charity states that i ...
. In
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) border with England to the southeast and is otherwis ...
,
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area ...
and
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; Ulster-Scots: ') is variously described as a country, province, or region which is part of the United Kingdom. Located in the northeast of the island of Ireland, Northern Ireland shares a border to ...

Northern Ireland
, the same responsibilities lie with
Historic Scotland Historic Scotland ( gd, Alba Aosmhor) was an executive agency of the Scottish Office and later the Scottish Government from 1991 to 2015, responsible for safeguarding Scotland's built heritage, and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. Und ...
,
Cadw (, a Welsh verbal noun meaning "keeping/preserving") is the historic environment service of the Welsh Government and part of the Tourism and Culture group. Cadw works to protect the historic buildings and structures, the landscapes and heritag ...
and the
Northern Ireland Environment Agency The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is an executive agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). It is responsible for conservation of Northern Ireland's environment and natural heritage. Origina ...
respectively. In France, the
Institut national du patrimoine French national institute of cultural heritage, called Institut national du patrimoine (Inp), is the only academy in France in charge of the training of both curators and conservators. It belongs to French Ministry of Culture and is organized in ...
(The National Institute of Cultural Heritage) trains curators specialized in archaeology. Their mission is to enhance the objects discovered. The
curator A curator (from la, cura, meaning "to take care") is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g., gallery, museum, library or archive) is a content specialist charged with an institution's c ...
is the link between scientific knowledge, administrative regulations, heritage objects and the public. Among the goals of CRM are the identification, preservation, and maintenance of
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups.Tylor, Edward. (1871). ...
sites on public and private lands, and the removal of culturally valuable materials from areas where they would otherwise be destroyed by human activity, such as proposed construction. This study involves at least a cursory examination to determine whether or not any significant archaeological sites are present in the area affected by the proposed construction. If these do exist, time and money must be allotted for their excavation. If initial survey and/or test excavations indicate the presence of an extraordinarily valuable site, the construction may be prohibited entirely. Cultural resources management has, however, been criticized. CRM is conducted by private companies that bid for projects by submitting proposals outlining the work to be done and an expected budget. It is not unheard-of for the agency responsible for the construction to simply choose the proposal that asks for the least funding. CRM archaeologists face considerable time pressure, often being forced to complete their work in a fraction of the time that might be allotted for a purely scholarly endeavour. Compounding the time pressure is the vetting process of site reports that are required (in the US) to be submitted by CRM firms to the appropriate
State Historic Preservation Office The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is a state governmental function created by the United States federal government in 1966 under Section 101 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The purposes of a SHPO include surveying an ...
(SHPO). From the SHPO's perspective there is to be no difference between a report submitted by a CRM firm operating under a deadline, and a multi-year academic project. The end result is that for a Cultural Resource Management archaeologist to be successful, they must be able to produce academic quality documents at a corporate world pace. The annual ratio of open academic archaeology positions (inclusive of
post-doc A postdoctoral researcher or postdoc is a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies (typically a PhD). The ultimate goal of a postdoctoral research position is to pursue additional research, train ...
, temporary, and non- tenure track appointments) to the annual number of archaeology MA/MSc and PhD students is disproportionate. Cultural Resource Management, once considered an intellectual backwater for individuals with "strong backs and weak minds," has attracted these graduates, and CRM offices are thus increasingly staffed by advance degreed individuals with a track record of producing scholarly articles but who also have extensive CRM field experience.


Protection

The protection of archaeological finds for the public from catastrophes, wars and armed conflicts is increasingly being implemented internationally. This happens on the one hand through international agreements and on the other hand through organizations that monitor or enforce protection.
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of ...
,
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace an ...

UNESCO
and
Blue Shield International The Blue Shield, formerly the International Committee of the Blue Shield, is an international organization founded in 1996 to protect the world's cultural heritage from threats such as armed conflict and natural disasters. Originally intended as ...
deal with the protection of cultural heritage and thus also archaeological sites. This also applies to the integration of
United Nations peacekeeping Peacekeeping by the United Nations is a role held by the Department of Peace Operations as "a unique and dynamic instrument developed by the organization as a way to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace". It ...
. Blue Shield International has undertaken various fact-finding missions in recent years to protect archaeological sites during the wars in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. The importance of archaeological finds for identity, tourism and sustainable economic growth is repeatedly emphasized internationally. The President of Blue Shield International, Karl von Habsburg, said during a cultural property protection mission in Lebanon in April 2019 with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon: “Cultural assets are part of the identity of the people who live in a certain place. If you destroy their culture, you also destroy their identity. Many people are uprooted, often have no prospects anymore and subsequently flee from their homeland."


Popular views of archaeology

Early archaeology was largely an attempt to uncover spectacular artifacts and features, or to explore vast and mysterious abandoned cities and was mostly done by upper class, scholarly men. This general tendency laid the foundation for the modern popular view of archaeology and archaeologists. Many of the public view archaeology as something only available to a narrow demographic. The job of archaeologist is depicted as a "romantic adventurist occupation". and as a hobby more than a job in the scientific community. Cinema audiences form a notion of "who archaeologists are, why they do what they do, and how relationships to the past are constituted", and is often under the impression that all archaeology takes place in a distant and foreign land, only to collect monetarily or spiritually priceless artifacts. The modern depiction of archaeology has incorrectly formed the public's perception of what archaeology is. Much thorough and productive research has indeed been conducted in dramatic locales such as
Copán Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. This ancient Maya city mirrors the beauty of the physical landscape in which it flourished—a fertil ...
and the
Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings ( ar, وادي الملوك ; ), also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings ( ar, وادي ابواب الملوك ), is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, ...
, but the bulk of activities and finds of modern archaeology are not so sensational. Archaeological adventure stories tend to ignore the painstaking work involved in carrying out modern surveys,
excavations In archaeology, excavation is the exposure, processing and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site or "dig" is the area being studied. These locations range from one to several areas at a time during a project and can be conduc ...
, and data processing. Some archaeologists refer to such off-the-mark portrayals as "
pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which rejec ...
". Archaeologists are also very much reliant on public support; the question of exactly who they are doing their work for is often discussed.


Current issues and controversy


Public archaeology

Motivated by a desire to halt looting, curb
pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which rejec ...
, and to help preserve archaeological sites through education and fostering public appreciation for the importance of archaeological heritage, archaeologists are mounting public-outreach campaigns. They seek to stop looting by combatting people who illegally take artifacts from protected sites, and by alerting people who live near archaeological sites of the threat of looting. Common methods of public outreach include press releases, the encouragement of school field trips to sites under excavation by professional archaeologists, and making reports and publications accessible outside of academia. Public appreciation of the significance of archaeology and archaeological sites often leads to improved protection from encroaching development or other threats. One audience for archaeologists' work is the public. They increasingly realize that their work can benefit non-academic and non-archaeological audiences, and that they have a responsibility to educate and inform the public about archaeology. Local heritage awareness is aimed at increasing civic and individual pride through projects such as community excavation projects, and better public presentations of archaeological sites and knowledge. The U.S.Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) operates a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program called the Passport in Time (PIT). Volunteers work with professional USFS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S. Volunteers are involved in all aspects of professional archaeology under expert supervision. Television programs, web videos and social media can also bring an understanding of underwater archaeology to a broad audience. The ''Mardi Gras'' Shipwreck Project integrated a one-hour HD documentary, short videos for public viewing and video updates during the expedition as part of the educational outreach. Webcasting is also another tool for educational outreach. For one week in 2000 and 2001, live underwater video of the ''
Queen Anne's Revenge ''Queen Anne's Revenge'' was an early-18th-century ship, most famously used as a flagship by Edward Teach, better known by his nickname Blackbeard. Although the date and place of the ship's construction are uncertain, it was originally believed s ...

Queen Anne's Revenge
'' Shipwreck Project was
webcast A webcast is a media presentation distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners/viewers. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. Essentially, webc ...
to the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' that consists of private, pub ...

Internet
as a part of the ''QAR DiveLive'' educational program that reached thousands of children around the world. Created and co-produced by
Nautilus Productions Nautilus Productions LLC is an American video production, stock footage, and photography company incorporated in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1997. The principals are producer/director Rick Allen and photographer Cindy Burnham. Nautilus special ...
and Marine Grafics, this project enabled students to talk to scientists and learn about methods and technologies utilized by the underwater archaeology team. In the UK, popular archaeology programs such as ''
Time Team ''Time Team'' is a British television programme that originally aired on Channel 4 from 16 January 1994 to 7 September 2014. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specia ...
'' and ''
Meet the Ancestors ''Meet the Ancestors'' (later ''Ancestors'') is a BBC Television documentary series first broadcast in 1998. It documented the archaeological excavation and scientific reconstruction of human remains. The series was introduced by archaeologist Ju ...
'' have resulted in a huge upsurge in public interest. Where possible, archaeologists now make more provisions for public involvement and outreach in larger projects than they once did, and many local archaeological organizations operate within the
Community archaeology Community archaeology is archaeology by the people for the people. The field is also known as public archaeology. There is debate about whether the terms are interchangeable; some believe that community archaeology is but one form of public archae ...
framework to expand public involvement in smaller-scale, more local projects. Archaeological excavation, however, is best undertaken by well-trained staff that can work quickly and accurately. Often this requires observing the necessary
health and safety Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at occupat ...
and indemnity insurance issues involved in working on a modern
building site A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory. Buildings come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and functions, and have been adapted throughout history for a w ...
with tight deadlines. Certain charities and
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-locali ...
bodies sometimes offer places on research projects either as part of academic work or as a defined community project. There is also a flourishing industry selling places on commercial training excavations and archaeological holiday tours. Archaeologists prize local knowledge and often liaise with local historical and archaeological societies, which is one reason why
Community archaeology Community archaeology is archaeology by the people for the people. The field is also known as public archaeology. There is debate about whether the terms are interchangeable; some believe that community archaeology is but one form of public archae ...
projects are starting to become more common. Often archaeologists are assisted by the public in the locating of archaeological sites, which professional archaeologists have neither the funding, nor the time to do. Archaeological Legacy Institute (ALI), is a registered 501 non-profit, media and education corporation registered in Oregon in 1999. ALI founded a website
The Archaeology Channel
to support the organization's mission "to nurturing and bringing attention to the human cultural heritage, by using media in the most efficient and effective ways possible."


Pseudoarchaeology

Pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which rejec ...
is an umbrella term for all activities that falsely claim to be archaeological but in fact violate commonly accepted and scientific archaeological practices. It includes much fictional archaeological work (discussed above), as well as some actual activity. Many non-fiction authors have ignored the scientific methods of processual archaeology, or the specific critiques of it contained in
post-processualism Post-processual archaeology, which is sometimes alternately referred to as the interpretative archaeologies by its adherents, is a movement in archaeological theory that emphasizes the subjectivity of archaeological interpretations. Despite having a ...
. An example of this type is the writing of
Erich von Däniken Erich Anton Paul von Däniken (; ; born 14 April 1935) is a Swiss author of several books which make claims about extraterrestrial influences on early human culture, including the best-selling ''Chariots of the Gods?'', published in 1968. Von Dä ...
. His 1968 book, ''
Chariots of the Gods? ''Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past'' (german: Erinnerungen an die Zukunft: Ungelöste Rätsel der Vergangenheit; in English, ''Memories of the Future: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past'') is a book written in 1968 by Erich von D ...
'', together with many subsequent lesser-known works, expounds a theory of ancient contacts between human civilization on Earth and more technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations. This theory, known as palaeocontact theory, or Ancient astronaut theory, is not exclusively Däniken's, nor did the idea originate with him. Works of this nature are usually marked by the renunciation of well-established theories on the basis of limited evidence, and the interpretation of evidence with a preconceived theory in mind.


Looting

Looting of archaeological sites is an ancient problem. For instance, many of the tombs of the Egyptian
pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; cop, ''Pǝrro'') is the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the term "pharaoh" was not used contempor ...

pharaoh
s were looted during
antiquity Antiquity or Antiquities may refer to Historical objects or periods Artifacts *Antiquities, objects or artifacts surviving from ancient cultures Eras Any period before the European Middle Ages (5th to 15th centuries) but still within Western civ ...
. Archaeology stimulates interest in ancient objects, and people in search of artifacts or treasure cause damage to archaeological sites. The commercial and academic demand for artifacts unfortunately contributes directly to the
illicit antiquities Illicit may refer to: * Illicit antiquities * Illicit cigarette trade * Illicit drug trade ** Illicit drug use ** Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act * Illicit financial flows * Illicit major * Illicit minor * Illicit trade * Illicit work * Illici ...
trade. Smuggling of antiquities abroad to private collectors has caused great cultural and economic damage in many countries whose governments lack the resources and or the will to deter it. Looters damage and destroy archaeological sites, denying future generations information about their ethnic and cultural heritage. Indigenous peoples especially lose access to and control over their 'cultural resources', ultimately denying them the opportunity to know their past. In 1937, W. F. Hodge the Director of the
Southwest Museum The Southwest Museum of the American Indian is a museum, library, and archive located in the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The museum is owned by the Autry Museum of the American West. Its collections deal mainly with Nat ...
released a statement that the museum would no longer purchase or accept collections from looted contexts. The first conviction of the transport of artifacts illegally removed from private property under th
Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA; Public Law 96-95; 93 Statute 721
) was in 1992 in the State of Indiana. Archaeologists trying to protect artifacts may be placed in danger by looters or locals trying to protect the artifacts from archaeologists who are viewed as looters by the locals. Some historical archaeology sites are subjected to looting by
metal detector A metal detector is an instrument that detects the presence of metal nearby. Metal detectors are useful for finding metal inclusions hidden within objects, or metal objects buried underground. They often consist of a handheld unit with a sensor p ...
hobbyists who search for artifacts using increasingly advanced technology. Efforts are underway among all major Archaeological organizations to increase education and legitimate cooperation between amateurs and professionals in the metal detecting community. While most looting is deliberate, accidental looting can occur when amateurs, who are unaware of the importance of Archaeological rigor, collect artifacts from sites and place them into private collections.


Descendant peoples

In the United States, examples such as the case of
Kennewick Man Kennewick Man is the name generally given to the skeletal remains of a prehistoric Paleoamerican man found on a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, United States, on July 28, 1996. It is one of the most complete ancient skelet ...

Kennewick Man
have illustrated the tensions between Native Americans and archaeologists, which can be summarized as a conflict between a need to remain respectful toward sacred burial sites and the academic benefit from studying them. For years, American archaeologists dug on Indian burial grounds and other places considered sacred, removing artifacts and human remains to storage facilities for further study. In some cases human remains were not even thoroughly studied but instead archived rather than reburied. Furthermore, Western archaeologists' views of the past often differ from those of tribal peoples. The West views time as linear; for many natives, it is cyclic. From a Western perspective, the past is long-gone; from a native perspective, disturbing the past can have dire consequences in the present. As a consequence of this, American Indians attempted to prevent archaeological excavation of sites inhabited by their ancestors, while American archaeologists believed that the advancement of scientific knowledge was a valid reason to continue their studies. This contradictory situation was addressed by the
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act artifacts on display at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, 2007 The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Pub. L. 101-601, 25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., 104 Stat. 3048, is a United States federal law enacted on November 16, 1 ...
(NAGPRA, 1990), which sought to reach a compromise by limiting the right of research institutions to possess human remains. Due in part to the spirit of postprocessualism, some archaeologists have begun to actively enlist the assistance of
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ''indigenous'' was first, in its modern contex ...
likely to be descended from those under study. Archaeologists have also been obliged to re-examine what constitutes an archaeological site in view of what native peoples believe to constitute sacred space. To many native peoples, natural features such as lakes, mountains or even individual trees have cultural significance. Australian archaeologists especially have explored this issue and attempted to survey these sites to give them some protection from being developed. Such work requires close links and trust between archaeologists and the people they are trying to help and at the same time study. While this cooperation presents a new set of challenges and hurdles to fieldwork, it has benefits for all parties involved. Tribal elders cooperating with archaeologists can prevent the excavation of areas of sites that they consider sacred, while the archaeologists gain the elders' aid in interpreting their finds. There have also been active efforts to recruit aboriginal peoples directly into the archaeological profession.


Repatriation

:''See
Repatriation and reburial of human remains The repatriation and reburial of human remains is a current issue in archaeology, centering on ethical issues and cultural sensitivities regarding human remains of long-deceased ancestors which have ended up in museums and other institutions. Histor ...
'' A new trend in the heated controversy between
First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of Canadian indigenous peoples, distinct from the Inuit and Métis. Traditionally the First Nations lived south of the tree line, and mainly south of the Arctic Circle. There ...
groups and scientists is the
repatriation Repatriation is the process of returning an asset, an item of symbolic value, or a person—voluntarily or forcibly—to its owner or their place of origin or citizenship. The term may refer to non-human entities, such as converting a foreign cu ...
of native artifacts to the original descendants. An example of this occurred on 21 June 2005, when community members and elders from a number of the 10 Algonquian nations in the
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian ) is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, and forms the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan a ...

Ottawa
area convened on the Kitigan Zibi reservation near
Maniwaki, Quebec Maniwaki is a town located north of Gatineau and north-west of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada. The town is situated on the Gatineau River, at the crossroads of Route 105 and Route 107, not far south of Route 117 (Trans-Canada Highway). ...
, to inter ancestral human remains and burial goods—some dating back 6,000 years. It was not determined, however, if the remains were directly related to the Algonquin people who now inhabit the region. The remains may be of Iroquoian ancestry, since Iroquoian people inhabited the area before the Algonquin. Moreover, the oldest of these remains might have no relation at all to the Algonquin or Iroquois, and belong to an earlier culture who previously inhabited the area. The remains and artifacts, including
jewelry Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks. Jewellery may be attached to the body or the clothes. From a western perspective, the ...
,
tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back hundreds of millennia, have been obser ...
s and
weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, crime, law enforcement, self-defense, and w ...
, were originally excavated from various sites in the
Ottawa Valley make up part of the southern tip of the Canadian Shield. The Ottawa Valley is the valley of the Ottawa River, along the boundary between Eastern Ontario and the Outaouais, Quebec, Canada. The valley is the transition between the Saint Lawrence Low ...

Ottawa Valley
, including
MorrisonMorrison may refer to: People * Morrison (surname), people with the Scottish surname Morrison * Morrison Heady (1829-1915), American poet * Morrison Mann MacBride (1877–1938), Canadian merchant Places in the United States * Morrison, Colorado * M ...
and the Allumette Islands. They had been part of the
Canadian Museum of Civilization The Canadian Museum of History (french: Musée canadien de l’histoire) is Canada's national museum of human history. It is located in the Hull area of Gatineau, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. T ...
's research collection for decades, some since the late 19th century. Elders from various Algonquin communities conferred on an appropriate reburial, eventually deciding on traditional redcedar and
birchbark Birch bark or birchbark is the bark of several Eurasian and North American birch trees of the genus ''Betula''. The strong and water-resistant cardboard-like bark can be easily cut, bent, and sewn, which has made it a valuable building, crafting, ...
boxes lined with redcedar chips,
muskrat The muskrat (''Ondatra zibethicus'') is a medium-sized semiaquatic rodent native to North America and an introduced species in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. The muskrat is found in wetlands over a wide range of climates and habitats. ...

muskrat
and beaver pelts. An inconspicuous rock mound marks the reburial site where close to 80 boxes of various sizes are buried. Because of this reburial, no further scientific study is possible. Although negotiations were at times tense between the Kitigan Zibi community and museum, they were able to reach agreement.
Kennewick Man Kennewick Man is the name generally given to the skeletal remains of a prehistoric Paleoamerican man found on a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, United States, on July 28, 1996. It is one of the most complete ancient skelet ...

Kennewick Man
is another repatriation candidate that has been the source of heated debate.


See also

* * * * * * * * * * * * Lists *
List of archaeological periods The names for archaeological periods in the list of archaeological periods vary enormously from region to region. This is a list of the main divisions by continent and region. Dating also varies considerably and those given are broad approximations ...
* List of archaeological sites by country * List of archaeologists * List of archaeology awards * List of paleoethnobotanists


Notes


References


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * * * Archaeology (magazine), ''Archaeology'' (magazine) *
Lewis Binford Lewis Roberts Binford (November 21, 1931 – April 11, 2011) was an American archaeologist known for his influential work in archaeological theory, ethnoarchaeology and the Paleolithic period. He is widely considered among the most influent ...
- ''New Perspectives in Archaeology'' (1968) * Glyn Daniel – ''A Short History of Archaeology'' (1991) * Kevin Greene (archaeologist), Kevin Greene – ''Introduction to Archaeology'' (1983) * Thomas Hester, Harry Shafer, and Kenneth L. Feder – ''Field Methods in Archaeology'' 7th edition (1997) *
Ian Hodder Ian Richard Hodder (born 23 November 1948, in Bristol) is a British archaeologist and pioneer of postprocessualist theory in archaeology that first took root among his students and in his own work between 1980–1990. At this time he had such stu ...
& Scott Hutson – "Reading the Past" 3rd. edition (2003) * * International Journal of South American Archaeology - IJSA (magazine), ''International Journal of South American Archaeology'' - ''IJSA'' (magazine) * Internet Archaeology, e-journal * C.U. Larsen - ''Sites and Monuments'' (1992) * Adrian Praetzellis – ''Death by Theory'', AltaMira Press (2000). * Colin Renfrew & Paul Bahn – ''Archaeology: theories, methods and practice'', 2nd edition (1996) * Smekalova, T.N.; Voss O.; & Smekalov S.L. (2008). "Magnetic survey (archaeology), Magnetic Surveying in Archaeology. More than 10 years of using the Overhauser GSM-19 gradiometer". Wormianum. * David Hurst Thomas – ''Archaeology'', 3rd. edition (1998) * Robert J. Sharer & Wendy Ashmore – ''Archaeology: Discovering our Past'' 2nd edition (1993) * Bruce Trigger – "A History of Archaeological Thought" 2nd. edition (2007) * Alison Wylie – ''Thinking From Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology'', University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2002


External links

*
400,000 records of archaeological sites and architecture in England

Archaeolog.org

Archaeology Daily News

Archaeology Times , The top archaeology news from around the world

Council for British Archaeology

Estudio de Museología Rosario

Fasti Online – an online database of archaeological sites

Great Archaeology




* [http://www.archaeology.gov.lk/ Sri Lanka Archaeology]
The Archaeological Institute of America

The Archaeology Channel

The Archaeology Data Service – Open access online archive for UK and global archaeology

The Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association

The Canadian Museum of Civilization – Archaeology

The Society for American Archaeology

The World Archaeological Congress

US Forest Service Volunteer program ''Passport in Time''


* [http://usaklihoyuk.org/en The Italian Archaeological Mission in Uşaklı Höyük]
Comprehensive Database of Archaeological Site Reports in Japan
{{Authority control Archaeology, Anthropology