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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 Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composit ...

analysis
of
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality Social reality is distinct from biological reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginar ...

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 (Recorded history, not written) scientific evidence, evidence about the past. It is one of the core concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the ar ...
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 ''archi ...

architecture
, 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 Site, World Heritage Committee, it is the "cultural properti ...
s. Archaeology can be considered both a
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
and a branch of the
humanities Humanities are List of academic disciplines, academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with Divinity (academic discipline), divinity and referred to what is now called classic ...

humanities
. 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 human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
. Archaeologists study human
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
and
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

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 Rock (geology), stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistory, prehisto ...

stone tool
s at
Lomekwi Lomekwi 3 is the name of an archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the perio ...
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 (geology), epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes th ...
, which is the study of
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...

fossil
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 (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
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 ev ...
to reconstructing past
lifeway Lifeway is a term used in the disciplines of anthropology Anthropology is the Science, scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures, and society, societies, in both the present and past, including Homo ...
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 Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composit ...
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 Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originall ...
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 Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswic ...

maritime archaeology
,
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminist Feminism is a range of social movements and ideology, ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social gender equality, equality of the sexes. Feminism inco ...
and
archaeoastronomy Archaeoastronomy (also spelled archeoastronomy) is the interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivi ...
, 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 Archaeology or archeolo ...
, 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 (pre)history of Mesopotamia ranges from the earliest human occupation in the Paleolithic period up to the Late antiquity. This history is pieced together from evidence retrieved from archaeological excavations and, after the introduction of w ...

Ancient Mesopotamia
, a foundation deposit of the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of ...
ruler Naram-Sin (ruled circa 2200 BCE) was discovered and analysed by king
Nabonidus Nabonidus (Babylonian cuneiform Cuneiform is a Logogram, logo-Syllabary, syllabic writing system, script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East. The script was in active use from the early Bronze Age until the begi ...

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 (: , Zimbir) was an ian and later n city on the east bank of the river. Its ' is located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah near in 's , some north of and southwest of . The city's ancient name, Sippar, could also refer to its sis ...
), and the sanctuary that Naram-Sin built to the moon god, located in
Harran Ḥarrān, also known as Carrhae, was a major Cities of the ancient Near East, ancient city in Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, Upper Mesopotamia whose site is in the modern village of Harran, Turkey, 44 kilometers southeast of Şanlıurfa. The location ...

Harran
, 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#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, ''archaiologia'' from , ''arkhaios'', "ancient" and , ''-logia'', "
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of ...
") grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...

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 Fellow of the Royal Society, 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 o ...
, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...

science
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=n ...
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 The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...
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 Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
(960-1279), figures such as
Ouyang Xiu Ouyang Xiu (1007 – 1072), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere Th ...

Ouyang Xiu
and
Zhao Mingcheng Zhao Mingcheng (, courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietna ...
established the tradition of Chinese
epigraphy Epigraphy () is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as 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 th ...
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 The Chinese family of scripts are writing systems descended from the Chinese Oracle Bone Script Oracle bo ...
from the
Shang The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From ...

Shang
and
ZhouZhou may refer to: Chinese history * King Zhou of Shang () (1105 BC–1046 BC), the last king of the Shang dynasty * Predynastic Zhou (), 11th-century BC precursor to the Zhou dynasty * Zhou dynasty () (1046 BC–256 BC), a dynasty of China ** Weste ...
periods. In
his book His or HIS may refer to: Computing * Hightech Information System HIS ("Hightech Information System Limited"; established 1987), is a Hong Kong-based graphics card manufacturer that produces Advanced Micro Devices, AMD (formerly known as ATI) Ra ...
published in 1088,
Shen Kuo Shen Kuo (; 1031–1095) or Shen Gua, courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
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 dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n''." Oxford University Press Oxford University Pr ...
, 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 The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty ...
rather than a separate discipline of archaeology. In
Renaissance Europe The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an ef ...
, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
.
Flavio Biondo Flavio Biondo (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman R ...

Flavio Biondo
, an Italian
Renaissance humanist Renaissance humanism was a revival in the study of classical antiquity, at first Italian Renaissance, in Italy and then spreading across Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. During the period, the term ''humanist'' ( it, umanista ...
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 classical archaeology, archaeology, epigraphy, cartography and classical philology, philology. The classic English-language work of scholarship is ''A Topographica ...
in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including
John LelandJohn Leland may refer to: *John Leland (antiquary) (c. 1503–1552), English antiquary *John Leland (Baptist) (1754–1841), United States Baptist minister *John Leland (journalist) (born 1959), ''New York Times'' reporter, columnist, and book autho ...
and
William Camden William Camden (2 May 1551 – 9 November 1623) was an English antiquarian 's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655 An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: ''antiquarius'', meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an fan ...

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 ho ...

Stonehenge
and other
megalithic monuments A megalith is a large pre-historic Rock (geology), 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 ...

megalithic monuments
in England.
John Aubrey John Aubrey (12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697) was an English antiquary 's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655 An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic ...

John Aubrey
(1626–1697) was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous
megalith A megalith is a large Rock (geology), stone that has been used to construct a prehistoric 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 ...

megalith
ic and other 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 in the ancient towns of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a of , roughly equivalent to a or . Importance and function The provides essential public services: of births and deaths, , and maintenan ...

Pompeii
and
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
, both of which had been covered by ash during the
Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 Of the many eruptions of Mount Vesuvius Mount Vesuvius ( ; it, Vesuvio ; nap, 'O Vesuvio , also or ; la, Vesuvius , also , or ) is a somma-stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano ...
. 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, 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 ...

fresco
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 Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
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 ...
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 Heytesb ...
(1754–1810). He undertook excavations in
Wiltshire Wiltshire (; abbreviated Wilts) is a Ceremonial counties of England, 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 count ...
from around 1798, funded by Sir
Richard Colt Hoare Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet Fellow of the Royal Society, 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 o ...
. Cunnington made meticulous recordings of
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
and
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
, 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 Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock (geology), rock layers (Stratum, strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary rock, sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigrap ...

stratigraphy
. 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 rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which th ...

geological
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 The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began approximate ...
work of scholars like ,
James Hutton James Hutton (; 3 June 172614 June 1726 New Style Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) indicate a dating system from before and after a calendar change, respectively. Usually this is the change from the Julian calendar The Julian c ...

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 the earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astro ...

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 that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
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 's cabinet of curiosities, from ''Museum Wormianum,'' 1655 An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin: ''antiquarius'', meaning pertaining to ancient tim ...

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen
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 A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that ...
,
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 Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, FRS, Fellow of the British Academy, FBA (3 June 1853 – 28 July 1942), commonly known as Flinders Petrie, was an English Egyptology, Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology ...
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 Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
. 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 A pyramid (from el, πυραμίς ') is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a ...

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 a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural ...

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 ''Təwātə-ʿānəḫ-amānə'', ; Egyptological pronunciation The Egyptian language (Egyptian: ''r n km.t'', , Coptic: ) is an Afro-Asiatic language Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as A ...

Tutankhamun
. The first stratigraphic excavation to reach wide popularity with public was that of
Hissarlik Hisarlik (Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ε ...
, on the site of ancient
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
, carried out by
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germa ...

Heinrich Schliemann
,
Frank Calvert Image:Frank calvert portrait.png, 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 mou ...
and
Wilhelm Dörpfeld Wilhelm Dörpfeld (26 December 1853 – 25 April 1940) was a and , a pioneer of excavation and precise graphical documentation of archaeological projects. He is famous for his work on sites around the , such as and Hisarlik (the site of the ...

Wilhelm Dörpfeld
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 ...
. Meanwhile, the work of Sir
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch o ...

Arthur Evans
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 na ...

Knossos
in
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology ...

Crete
revealed the ancient existence of an equally advanced
Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, 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 s ...
. 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 The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British ...
, 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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...

Kathleen Kenyon
. 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 Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswic ...

maritime archaeology
and
urban archaeology Urban archaeology is a sub discipline of archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, bu ...
became more prevalent and rescue archaeology was developed as a result of increasing commercial development.Renfrew and Bahn (2004
991 Year 991 ( CMXCI) was a common year starting on Thursday A common year starting on Thursday is any non-leap year A leap year (also known as an intercalary year or wikt:bissextile, bissextile year) is a calendar year that contains an additio ...
33–35)


Purpose

The purpose of archaeology is to learn more about past societies and the development of the
human race Human Race or The Human Race may refer to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
. 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 Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area arou ...
, 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 – . 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 (from Greek palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history ...
period, when the
hominin The Hominini form a Tribe (biology), taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the extant genera ''Homo'' (humans) and ''Pan (genus), Pan'' (chimpanzees and bonobos), but excludes the genus ''Gorilla'' (gorillas). ...
s developed from the
australopithecines Australopithecina or Hominina Australopithecina or Hominina is a subtribe in the tribe Hominini. The members of the subtribe are generally ''Australopithecus ''Australopithecus'' (, ; ; singular: australopith) is a genus of early hominins ...

australopithecines
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 i ...

Africa
and eventually into modern ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread of , characterized by and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced , , and . Humans are highly social and tend to live in complex s composed of many ...

Homo sapiens
''. 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 Rock (geology), stone. Although stone tool-dependent societies and cultures still exist today, most stone tools are associated with prehistory, prehisto ...

stone tool
s, the discovery of
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of materials science and engineering ''Materials Science and Engineering'' may refer to several journals in the field of materials science and engineering: * '' Materials Science and Engineering A'' * '' Materials Science ...
, the beginnings of
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
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 Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
. 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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but arch ...
. For many literate cultures, such as
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
and
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in the ...

Mesopotamia
, their surviving records are often incomplete and biased to some extent. In many societies, literacy was restricted to the
elite In Political philosophy, political and sociology, 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 economic inequality, disproportionate amount o ...

elite
classes, such as the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
or the
bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials (bureaucrats A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes ...

bureaucracy
of court or temple. The literacy even of
aristocrats Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its bro ...
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 collection of materials, books or media that are easily accessible for use and not just for display purposes. It is responsible for housing updated information in order to meet the user's needs on a daily basis. A library provi ...

libraries
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 Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin with ...
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 evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual r ...

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 Archaeology or archeolo ...
)''. 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, 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 ...
. In the early 20th century, many archaeologists who studied past societies with direct continuing links to existing ones (such as those of
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
,
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a part of R ...

Siberia
ns,
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often consider ...
and Kent Flannery 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 An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the rel ...
testing and the
scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessible to sense experience or experimental procedure. Empirical evidence ...

scientific method
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 th ...
. In the 1980s, a new
postmodern Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of toward what it describes as the and of , as well as opposition to certainty and the stability of . It questions or criticizes viewpoints associated with ...
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 D ...
,
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 Anthr ...
,
Daniel MillerDaniel Miller may refer to: *Daniel Miller (anthropologist) (born 1954), anthropologist at University College London *Daniel Miller (basketball) (born 1991), American professional basketball player *Daniel Miller (cricketer) (born 1983), cricketer f ...
, and
Ian Hodder Ian Richard Hodder (born 23 November 1948, in Bristol Bristol () is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in England. With a population of 463,400, it is the most populous city in So ...
, 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 subjectivitySubjectivity in a philosophical Philosop ...
. 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 an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of philosophical skepticism, skepticism toward what it describes as the meta-narrative, grand narratives and ideology, ideologies of modernism, as well as oppos ...
,
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 Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic discipline An academic discipline or academic field is a subdivision of knowledge that is Educ ...
,
structural functionalism Structural functionalism, or simply functionalism, is "a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system A complex system is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accord ...
, gender-based and
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminist Feminism is a range of social movements and ideology, ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social gender equality, equality of the sexes. Feminism inco ...
, and
systems theory Systems theory is the interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields ...
.


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 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, in contrast to in situ or 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 Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. About 29% of Earth's su ...
is an example of passive remote sensing. Here are two active remote sensing instruments:
Lidar Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining (variable distance) by targeting an object with a and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. Lidar can also be used to make digital ...
(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. 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 A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones ...
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 ( ...
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 A ...
pioneered the technique of regional settlement pattern survey in 1949 in the Viru Valley 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 ...

Peru
, 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 *Sample (graphics), Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound ...
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 and settlement structure. Survey data are commonly assembled into
map A map is a symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different s and s. A ...

map
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 pits. If no materials are found, the area surveyed is deemed sterile.
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, unmanned aerial vehicle, UAVs, Balloon (aeronautics), balloons or other aerial methods. Typi ...
is conducted using
camera A camera is an optical Optics is the branch of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and t ...

camera
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 (aircraft), propeller, or rocket engine. Airplanes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and wing configurati ...

airplane
s,
balloons A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, and Atmosphere of Earth, air. For special tasks, balloons can be filled with smoke, liquid water, granular media (e.g. sand, flour ...
,
UAVs , a hunter-killer surveillance UAV , rotorcraft A rotorcraft or rotary-wing aircraft is a heavier-than-air aircraft An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to flight, fly by gaining support from the Atmosphere of Earth, air. It counters th ...
, or even
Kite A kite is a tether A tether is a cord, fixture, or flexible attachment that characteristically anchors something movable to something fixed; it also maybe used to connect two movable objects, such as an item being towing, towed by its tow. ...

Kite
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 predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

Plant
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 A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the skeleton in most vertebrate animals. Bones ...
s) may develop more rapidly. Photographs of ripening
grain A grain is a small, hard, dry seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album ...

grain
, 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 In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that stud ...

ultraviolet
,
infrared Infrared (IR), sometimes called infrared light, is electromagnetic radiation (EMR) with wavelengths longer than those of Light, visible light. It is therefore invisible to the human eye. IR is generally understood to encompass wavelengths from ...

infrared
, ground-penetrating
radar Radar (radio detection and ranging) is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the distance (''ranging''), angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, Marine radar, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor ...

radar
wavelengths,
LiDAR Lidar (, also LIDAR, or LiDAR; sometimes LADAR) is a method for determining (variable distance) by targeting an object with a and measuring the time for the reflected light to return to the receiver. Lidar can also be used to make digital ...
and
thermography Infrared thermography (IRT), thermal video and/or thermal imaging, is a process where a Thermographic camera, thermal camera captures and creates an image of an object by using infrared radiation emitted from the object in a process, which are e ...
.
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 E ...
can be the most effective way to see beneath the ground.
Magnetometer A magnetometer is a device that measures magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. For instance, a vector field in ...
s detect minute deviations in the
Earth's magnetic field Earth's magnetic field, also known as the geomagnetic field, is the magnetic field A magnetic field is a vector field In vector calculus and physics, a vector field is an assignment of a vector to each point in a subset of space. Fo ...
caused by
iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . In its metallic state, iron ...

iron
artifacts,
kiln , Wrecclesham Wrecclesham is a village on the southern outskirts of the large town of Farnham Farnham is a market town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley Borough Council, Waverley.OS Explorer map 145:Guildford and Farnham ...

kiln
s, some types of stone structures, 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 An electric current is a stream of charged particles, ...
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 A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustr ...

metal detector
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 Kingdom of England, England's governance and issues of re ...
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 m ...
. Regional survey in
underwater archaeology Wreck of ''E. Russ'' in national heritage monument.">National heritage site">national heritage monument. Underwater archaeology is archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of ...

underwater archaeology
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 Seafloor mapping, create an image of large a ...

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 Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock (geology), rock layers (Stratum, strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary rock, sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigrap ...

stratigraphy
, 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 i ...

provenance
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 The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degre ...
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 ( ...
, 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 Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock (geology), rock layers (Stratum, strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary rock, sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigrap ...

stratigraphy
; 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 action (philosophy), behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'"Ethics"/ref> The field of ethics, al ...

ethical
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 *Sample (graphics), Sampling (graphics), converting continuous colors into discrete color components *Sampling (music), the reuse of a sound ...
is even more important in excavation than in survey. Sometimes large mechanical equipment, such as
backhoe A backhoe—also called rear actor or back actor—is a type of excavating equipment, or , consisting of a digging bucket on the end of a two-part articulated arm. It is typically mounted on the back of a or , the latter forming a "" (a US te ...

backhoe
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 biology, biological soil activity occurs. Topsoil is composed of mineral partic ...
(
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 tail ...
), 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 A hand tool is any 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 ...

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 An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buil ...
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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biolog ...
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 ...
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 impo ...
, 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 techniqueA scientific technique is any systematic way of obtaining information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it ...
, 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 Zooarchaeology (sometimes incorrectly archaeozoology), also known as faunal analysis, is a branch of that studies remains of animals from s. Faunal remains are the items left behind when an animal dies. These include bones, shells, hair, , scale ...
,
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 environ ...
,
palynology pollen File:Pollen Tube.svg, Pollen Tube Diagram Pollen is a powdery substance consisting of pollen grains which are Sporophyte, microsporophytes of spermatophyta, seed plants, which produce male gametes (sperm cells). Pollen grains have a hard ...
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 isotope Isotopes are variants of a particular c ...
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 are now used to build virtual 3D modeling, 3D models of sites, such as the throne room of an Assyrian palace or ancient Rome. Photogrammetry is also used as an analytical tool, and digital topography, topographical models have been combined with astronomy, astronomical 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. Agent-based modeling and Computer simulation, simulation can be used to better understand past social dynamics and outcomes. Data mining 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, 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. The data are being analysed by the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Vienna.


Academic sub-disciplines

As with most academia, academic disciplines, there are a very large number of archaeological sub-disciplines characterized by a specific method or type of material (e.g., lithic analysis, music (archaeology), music, archaeobotany), geographical or chronological focus (e.g. Near Eastern archaeology, Islamic archaeology, Medieval archaeology), other thematic concern (e.g.
maritime archaeology Maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswic ...

maritime archaeology
, landscape archaeology, battlefield archaeology), or a specific archaeological culture or civilization (e.g.
Egyptology Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
, Indology, Sinology).


Historical archaeology

Historical archaeology is the study of cultures with some form of writing. In England, archaeologists have uncovered layouts of 14th century medieval villages, abandoned after crises such as the Black Death. In downtown New York City, archaeologists have exhumed the 18th century remains of the African Burial Ground National Monument, African Burial Ground. When remnants of the WWII Siegfried Line 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

Ethnoarchaeology 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 or foraging societies; today ethnoarchaeological research encompasses a much wider range of human behaviour.


Experimental archaeology

Experimental archaeology 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 epistemological, epistemologies the experimental method gained importance. Experimental techniques remain a crucial component to improving the inferential frameworks for interpreting the archaeological record.


Archaeometry

Archaeometry 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 as well as computer-based tools such as geographic information system technology. Rare earth elements 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 (CRM), also called Cultural heritage management (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 as well. In the US, CRM archaeology has been a growing concern since the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (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. The application of CRM in the United Kingdom is not limited to government-funded projects. Since 1990, PPG 16 has required planners to consider archaeology as a material consideration 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 polluter pays principle, developer's expense. In England, ultimate responsibility of care for the historic environment rests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in association with English Heritage. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the same responsibilities lie with Historic Scotland, Cadw and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency respectively. In France, the Institut national du patrimoine (The National Institute of Cultural Heritage) trains curators specialized in archaeology. Their mission is to enhance the objects discovered. The curator 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 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 (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 postdoctoral, post-doc, 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, UNESCO and Blue Shield International deal with the protection of cultural heritage and thus also archaeological sites. This also applies to the integration of United Nations peacekeeping. 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 and the Valley of the Kings, 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, Excavation (archaeology), excavations, 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 Archaeology or archeolo ...
". 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 Archaeology or archeolo ...
, 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, US Forest Service, 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 videography, underwater video of the ''Queen Anne's Revenge'' Shipwreck Project was webcast to the 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 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'' and ''Meet the Ancestors'' 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 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 and indemnity insurance issues involved in working on a modern construction, building site with tight deadlines. Certain charities and local government 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 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[c] [3] 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 Archaeology or archeolo ...
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-processual archaeology, post-processualism. An example of this type is the writing of Erich von Däniken. His 1968 book, ''Chariots of the Gods?'', 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

Archaeological looting, Looting of archaeological sites is an ancient problem. For instance, many of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs were looted during Classical antiquity, antiquity. 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 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 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 A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustr ...

metal detector
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 have illustrated the tensions between Native Americans in the United States, 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 (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 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'' A new trend in the heated controversy between First Nations groups and scientists is the repatriation 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 peoples, Algonquian nations in the Ottawa area convened on the Kitigan Zibi reservation near Maniwaki, Quebec, 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, tools and weapons, were originally excavated from various sites in the Ottawa Valley, including Morrison Island, Morrison and the Allumette Islands. They had been part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization'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 Juniperus virginiana, redcedar and birchbark boxes lined with redcedar chips, muskrat and Beaver#Commercial uses, 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 is another repatriation candidate that has been the source of heated debate.


See also

* * * * * * * * * * * * Lists * List of archaeological periods * 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 Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often consider ...
- ''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 Bristol () is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in England. With a population of 463,400, it is the most populous city in So ...
& 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