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Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and
analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includ ...
of
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality grounded in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes the usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects creat ...

material culture
. 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 ''archit ...
, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and
cultural landscape Cultural landscape is a term used in the fields of geography, ecology, and heritage studies, to describe a symbiosis of human activity and environment. As defined by the World Heritage Committee, it is the "cultural properties hatrepresent t ...
s. Archaeology can be considered both a
social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociol ...

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 populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture ...
. Archaeologists study human
prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history between the use of the first stone tools by hominins 3.3 million years ago and the invention of writing systems. The use of symbols, marks, and images appears very ...
and
history History (from 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 millio ...

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 (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of Fossil, ...
, which is the study of
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally "obtained by digging") is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once- living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of anima ...

fossil
remains. Archaeology is particularly important for learning about prehistoric societies, for which, by definition, there are no written records. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the
Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. ...
until the advent of literacy in societies around 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 into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique has been applied in the study of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includ ...
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 around the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including
maritime archaeology Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...

maritime archaeology
,
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminism, feminist perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as Human sexuality, sexuality, Race (classification of humans), ...
and
archaeoastronomy illuminates the inner chamber of Newgrange, Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel ...
, and numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, today, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with
pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which reje ...
, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, and opposition to the excavation of human remains.


History


First instances of archaeology

In
Ancient Mesopotamia The history of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن '; grc, Μεσοποταμία; Syriac language, Classical Syriac: ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ Ārām''-Nahrīn'' or ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ ''Bēṯ Nahrīn'') is a ...

Ancient Mesopotamia
, a foundation deposit of the
Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. It was centered in the city of Akkad (city), Akkad and its surrounding region. The empire united Akkadian language, Akkadian (Assyri ...
ruler Naram-Sin (ruled circa 2200 BCE) was discovered and analysed by king
Nabonidus Nabonidus (; akk, 𒀭𒀝𒉎𒌇 , "Nabu is praised") was the List of Kings of Babylon, last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BC (17 years). He seized power in a Coup d'état, coup, toppling King Labashi-Marduk. He als ...

Nabonidus
, circa 550 BCE, who is thus known as the first archaeologist. Not only did he lead the first excavations which were to find the foundation deposits of the temples of Šamaš the sun god, the warrior goddess Anunitu (both located in
Sippar Sippar (Sumerian language, Sumerian: , Zimbir) was an ancient Near Eastern Sumerian and later Babylonian city on the east bank of the Euphrates river. Its ''Tell (archaeology), tell'' is located at the site of modern Tell Abu Habbah near Yusufiyah ...
), and the sanctuary that Naram-Sin built to the moon god, located in
Harran Harran, ancient Carrhae, was a major ancient city in Upper Mesopotamia whose site is in the modern village of Harran, Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and ...

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 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 2018; Athens is ...
, ''archaiologia'' from , ''arkhaios'', "ancient" and , ''-logia'', "
-logy ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 15 ...
") grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied
history History (from 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 millio ...

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 (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the u ...

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 (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient hist ...
during the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song following his usurpation of the throne of the Later Zhou, ending the Five Dynasties a ...
(960-1279), figures such as
Ouyang Xiu Ouyang Xiu (1 August 1007 – 22 September 1072), courtesy name Yongshu, also known by his art names Zuiweng ("Old Drunkard") and Liu Yi Jushi ("Retiree Six-One"), was a Chinese essayist, historian, poet, calligraphy, calligrapher, politician, an ...

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 ( grc, ἐπιγραφή, "inscription") is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing; it is the science of identifying graphemes, clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, a ...
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 writing, Chinese scripts on Chinese ritual bronzes, ritual bronzes such as ''zhōng'' bell (instrument)#Ancient Chines ...
from the
Shang The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and lower Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty The Xia dynasty is the first ...

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 Sinosphere, including China, Jap ...
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 Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, wi ...
, 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 (c. ...
rather than a separate discipline of archaeology. In
Renaissance Europe The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. was a period in European history The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events ...
, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-
Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in ...
civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
.
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 (p ...

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 Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Arc ...

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, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the '' Brief Lives'', his collection of short biographical pieces. He was a pioneer Archaeology ...

John Aubrey
(1626–1697) was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous
megalith A megalith is a large pre-historic stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterranean sea. The word ...

megalith
ic and other field monuments in southern England. He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture, costume, and shield-shapes. Excavations were also carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune'' of Pompei near Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area (e.g. at Villa Boscoreale, Boscoreale, Stabia ...

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, a major stratovolcano A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava ...
. 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 p ...

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 county ...
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, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
and
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric 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 second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
, and the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of
stratigraphy through Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a Geological period, geologic period and System (stratigraphy), stratigraphic system that spanned from the end of the Triassic period million years ago (Year, Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous period ap ...

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. – 26 March 1797) was a Scottish geologist, Agricultural science, agriculturalist, chemist, chemical manufacturer, Natural history, naturalist and physician. Often referred to as the ‘fat ...

James Hutton
and
Charles Lyell Sir Charles Lyell, 1st Baronet, (14 November 1797 – 22 February 1875) was a Scottish geologist who demonstrated the power of known natural causes in explaining Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomica ...

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 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 second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
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 ...
began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and
ethnologist Ethnology (from the grc-gre, ἔθνος, meaning 'nation') is an academic field that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationships between them (compare cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which ...
,
Augustus Pitt Rivers Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers (14 April 18274 May 1900) was an English officer in the British Army The British Army is the principal Army, land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of the British Armed Forces. , the British A ...
, 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 , '' -logia''; ar, علم المصريات) is the study of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, ...
. 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 s ...

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

Howard Carter
who went on to achieve fame with the discovery of the tomb of 14th-century BC pharaoh
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, wikt:twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () ( 1342c. 1325 BC), commonly referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family t ...

Tutankhamun
. The first stratigraphic excavation to reach wide popularity with public was that of
Hissarlik , alternate_name = Troy , image = Troy composite.jpg , image_size=250 , alt = , caption = Hisarlik from above , map = , map_type = Turkey Marmara#Turkey , map_alt = Located at the edge of a cape projecting into the Aegean , map_ ...
, on the site of ancient
Troy Troy ( grc, Τροία, ''Troía'', , ''Ī́lion'' or , ''Ī́lios''; la, Troia, also ;''Troia'' is the typical Latin name for the city. ''Īlium'' is a more poetic term: Hittite language, Hittite: 𒌷𒃾𒇻𒊭 ''Wilusa'' or 𒋫𒊒𒄿 ...

Troy
, carried out by
Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology. He was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ...

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 German architect and archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often conside ...

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 ...
at
Knossos Knossos (also Cnossos, both pronounced ; grc, Κνωσός, Knōsós, ; Linear B: ''Ko-no-so'') is the largest Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas p ...

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 i ...
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 ...
. 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 archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...

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 Common may refer to: Places * Common, a townland in County Tyrone County Tyrone (; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialec ...
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 populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, ...
. Over 99% of the development of humanity has occurred within prehistoric cultures, who did not make use of
writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of computer languages); they are means of rendering ...
, 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, is a period in human prehistory distinguished by the original development of stone tools that covers  99% of the period of human technological prehistory. ...
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 Hominini form a Tribe (biology), taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the extant genera ''Homo'' (hum ...
in
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are ...

Africa
and eventually into modern ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedalism Bipedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where an organism moves by means of its two rear limbs or legs. An animal ...

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, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
, 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 sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated species created food ...
. 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 was ...
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 theory, 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 of wea ...
classes, such as the
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the ter ...
or the
bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of non-elected governing officials (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 ...
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 curated collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. It provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical location or a virt ...

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 Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. These characteristics are the Gene expression, expressions of genes that ...

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

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 th ...
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 for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can testable, test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on prev ...
testing and the scientific method very important parts of what became known as processual archaeology. In the 1980s, a new postmodern movement arose led by the British archaeologists Michael Shanks (archaeologist), Michael Shanks, Christopher Tilley, Daniel Miller (anthropologist), Daniel Miller, and Ian Hodder, which has become known as post-processual archaeology. It questioned processualism's appeals to scientific positivism and impartiality, and emphasized the importance of a more self-critical theoretical reflexivity (social theory), 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 evolution, neo-evolutionary thought,#cite note-Hinshaw2000-35, [35] Phenomenology (philosophy), phenomenology, postmodernism, Structure and agency, agency theory, Cognitive archaeology, cognitive science, structural functionalism, Gender archaeology, gender-based and
feminist archaeology Feminist archaeology employs a feminism, feminist perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as Human sexuality, sexuality, Race (classification of humans), ...
, and systems theory in archaeology, systems theory.


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 Archaeological survey, 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 (archaeology), remote sensing 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 is an example of passive remote sensing. Here are two active remote sensing instruments: Lidar (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 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 archaeological survey, 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 middens, 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 Feature (archaeology), features there. Gordon Willey pioneered the technique of regional settlement pattern survey in 1949 in the Viru Valley of coastal 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 (statistics), sampling 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 Human settlement, settlement patterns and settlement structure. Survey data are commonly assembled into maps, 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 auger (drill), augers, corers, and shovel test pits. If no materials are found, the area surveyed is deemed sterile deposit, sterile. Aerial survey is conducted using cameras attached to airplanes, balloon (aircraft), balloons, UAVs, or even Kites. 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. Plants 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 middens) may develop more rapidly. Photographs of ripening cereal, 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, infrared, ground-penetrating radar wavelengths, LiDAR and thermography. Geophysical survey (archaeology), Geophysical survey can be the most effective way to see beneath the ground. Magnetometers detect minute deviations in the Earth's magnetic field caused by iron artifacts, kilns, some types of stone structures, and even ditches and middens. Devices that measure the electrical resistivity 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 detectors 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 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. Regional survey in underwater archaeology uses geophysical or remote sensing devices such as marine magnetometer, side-scan sonar, or sub-bottom sonar.


Excavation

Archaeological excavation existed even when the field was still the domain of amateurs, and it remains the source of the majority of data recovered in most field projects. It can reveal several types of information usually not accessible to survey, such as
stratigraphy through Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a Geological period, geologic period and System (stratigraphy), stratigraphic system that spanned from the end of the Triassic period million years ago (Year, Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous period ap ...

stratigraphy
, three-dimensional structure, and verifiably primary context. Modern excavation techniques require that the precise locations of objects and features, known as their provenance or provenience, be recorded. This always involves determining their horizontal locations, and sometimes vertical position as well (also see Harris matrix#Harris's Laws of Archaeological Stratigraphy, Primary Laws of Archaeology). Likewise, their archaeological association, association, or relationship (archaeology), relationship with nearby objects and feature (archaeology), features, 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 archaeological phase, phases of activity. For example, excavation of a site reveals its
stratigraphy through Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a Geological period, geologic period and System (stratigraphy), stratigraphic system that spanned from the end of the Triassic period million years ago (Year, Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous period ap ...

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 ethics, 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 (statistics), Sampling is even more important in excavation than in survey. Sometimes large mechanical equipment, such as backhoes (J. C. Bamford, JCBs), is used in excavation, especially to remove the topsoil (overburden), though this method is increasingly used with great caution. Following this rather dramatic step, the exposed area is usually hand-cleaned with trowels or hoe (tool), hoes to ensure that all features are apparent. The next task is to form a Archaeological plan, site plan and then use it to help decide the method of excavation. Features dug into the Archaeological natural, natural subsoil are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible archaeological section for recording. A feature, for example a pit or a ditch, consists of two parts: the Cut (archaeology), cut and the Fill (archaeology), 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 Single context recording, recording 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, 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, 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, paleoethnobotany, palynology and stable isotopes while any texts can usually be Deciphering, 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 archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline within archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a ...

maritime archaeology
, landscape archaeology, battlefield archaeology), or a specific archaeological culture or civilization (e.g.
Egyptology Egyptology (from ''Egypt'' and Greek , '' -logia''; ar, علم المصريات) is the study of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, ...
, Indology, Sinology).


Historical archaeology

Historical archaeology is the study of cultures with some form of writing. In Italy in the Middle Ages, Italy, archaeologists have explored the illicit burial of unbaptized children in medieval texts and cemeteries. 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 science community, which reje ...
". Archaeologists are also very much reliant on public support; the question of exactly who they are doing their work for is often discussed.


Current issues and controversy


Public archaeology

Motivated by a desire to halt looting, curb
pseudoarchaeology Pseudoarchaeology—also known as alternative archaeology, fringe archaeology, fantastic archaeology, cult archaeology, and spooky archaeology—refers to interpretations of the past from outside the archaeological science community, which reje ...
, 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 science community, which reje ...
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 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, 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.


African diaspora archaeology

Similar to the experience of Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans, the history of African diaspora archaeology is one of controversies over Whiteness theory, Whiteness in archaeology and anthropology, a lack of inclusion of the African descendant community, and possession of human remains in the collections of universities and museums. In the nineties, anthropologist Michael Blakey (anthropologist), Michael Blakey was the director of research during the African Burial Ground National Monument, New York African Burial Ground Project where he initiated a protocol for collaborating with the African descendant community. In 2011, the Society of Black Archaeologists was created in the United States. Co-founders Ayana Omilade Flewellen, archaeologist at the University of California, Riverside and Justin Dunnavant, archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles intend to build a restorative justice-based structure in archaeology. They suggest to define descendants not only in genealogical terms, but also to welcome input of African Americans whose ancestors had a shared historical experience in enslavement. The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill in December 2020 that centers African American cemeteries at risk in South Carolina. The bill is made to better protect historic African burial grounds and can lead to the creation of an African American Burial Grounds Network. Barbados, eight days after becoming a republic on November 30, 2021, announced plans for the construction of the ''Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial'' as well as a museum dedicated to the history of the Atlantic slave trade. The Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye is to lead the project that is to commemorate an estimated 570 West Africans buried in unmarked graves at the site of the former Newton sugar plantation. Barbados can be seen as a good example of respectful preservation of an African burial ground. Throughout the Americas however the burial grounds are in danger of being destroyed or human remains are being excavated without the descendant community being involved.


See also

* * * * * * Conservation and restoration of archaeological sites * * * * * * * * 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 & 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