The discipline involves surveyance, excavation and eventually analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, and has since become a discipline practiced across the world. The purpose of archaeology is to learn more about past societies and the development of the human race.
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. There is no one singular approach to archaeological theory that has been adhered to by all archaeologists. In the 1980s, a new postmodern movement arose led by the British archaeologists Michael Shanks,[16][17][18][19] Christopher Tilley,[20] Daniel Miller,[21][22] and Ian Hodder,[23][24][25][26][27][28] which has become known as post-processual archaeology. Archaeological theory now borrows from a wide range of influences, including neo-Darwinian evolutionary thought, phenomenology, postmodernism, agency theory, cognitive science, Functionalism, gender-based and Feminist archaeology, and Systems theory. An archaeological investigation usually involves several distinct phases, each of which employs its own variety of methods. The archaeological project then continues (or alternatively, starts with) with a field survey.
Survey work has many benefits if performed as a preliminary exercise to, or even in place of, excavation. Although some archaeologists consider the use of metal detectors to be tantamount to treasure hunting, others deem them an effective tool in archaeological surveying. Regional survey in underwater archaeology uses geophysical or remote sensing devices such as marine magnetometer, side-scan sonar, or sub-bottom sonar. 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. Modern excavation techniques require that the precise locations of objects and features, known as their provenance or provenience, be recorded. The next task is to form a site plan and then use it to help decide the method of excavation. Once artifacts and structures have been excavated, or collected from surface surveys, it is necessary to properly study them, to gain as much data as possible. At its most basic, the artifacts found are cleaned, cataloged and compared to published collections, to classify them typologically and to identify other sites with similar artifact assemblages. These techniques frequently provide information that would not otherwise be known and therefore contribute greatly to the understanding of a site. In England, archaeologists have uncovered the long-lost layouts of medieval villages abandoned after the crises of the 14th century and the equally lost layouts of 17th century parterre gardens swept away by a change in fashion.[citation needed] In downtown New York City archaeologists have exhumed the 18th century remains of the African burial ground. Ethnoarchaeology is the archaeological study of living people.[37][38][39][40][41][42] The approach gained notoriety during the emphasis on middle range theory that was a feature of the processual movement of the 1960s. Experimental archaeology represents the application of the experimental method to develop more highly controlled observations of processes that create and impact the archaeological record.[48][49][50][51][52] In the context of the logical positivism of processualism with its goals of improving the scientific rigor of archaeological epistemologies the experimental method gained importance. While archaeology can be done as a pure science, it can also be an applied science, namely the study of archaeological sites that are threatened by development. In England, ultimate responsibility of care for the historic environment rests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport[57] in association with English Heritage.[58] In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the same responsibilities lie with Historic Scotland,[59] Cadw[60] and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency[61] respectively.
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.
Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic and documented guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology.
After that, modern archaeology has its origins in the antiquarianism of Europe in the mid-19th century, where it developed soon after the scientific advancement of geology, which had shown that the Earth was billions rather than thousands of years old, as was then commonly believed. Soon the early archaeologists began to investigate various areas around the world, with the study of ancient Aegean civilization being stimulated by the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann at Troy, and of Arthur Evans at Crete, whilst John Lloyd Stephens was a pivotal figure in the rediscovery of Maya civilization throughout Central America.
Early archaeology was largely an attempt to uncover spectacular artifacts and features, or to explore vast and mysterious abandoned cities. Much thorough and productive research has indeed been conducted in dramatic locales such as Copan and the Valley of the Kings, but the bulk of activities and finds of modern archaeology is not so sensational. Motivated by a desire to halt looting, curb pseudoarchaeology, and to help preserve archaeological sites through education and fostering public appreciation for the importance of archaeological heritage, archaeologists are mounting public-outreach campaigns.[72] 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. In the UK, popular archaeology programs such as Time Team and Meet the Ancestors have resulted in a huge upsurge in public interest.[citation needed] 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.
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.
Pseudoarchaeology is an umbrella term for all activities that claim to be archaeological but in fact violate commonly accepted and scientific archaeological practices.
A looter's pit on the morning following its excavation, taken at Rontoy, Huaura Valley, Peru in June 2007. Popular consciousness often associates looting with poor Third World countries,[citation needed] but this is a false assumption.[75] A lack of financial resources and political will are chronic worldwide problems inhibiting more effective protection of archaeological sites. In the United States, examples such as the case of Kennewick Man have illustrated the tensions between Native Americans and archaeologists, which can be summarized as a conflict between a need to remain respectful toward sacred burial sites and the academic benefit from studying them. 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. Archaeologists have also been obliged to re-examine what constitutes an archaeological site in view of what native peoples believe to constitute sacred space. While this cooperation presents a new set of challenges and hurdles to fieldwork, it has benefits for all parties involved.
A new trend in the heated controversy between First Nations groups and scientists is the repatriation of native artifacts to the original descendants. The remains and artifacts, including jewelry, tools and weapons, were originally excavated from various sites in the Ottawa Valley, including Morrison and the Allumette Islands.
Now, an inconspicuous rock mound marks the reburial site where close to 80 boxes of various sizes are buried, no further scientific study is possible. Jesus appears a world-away from western representations of Christ, but a British anatomical artist has reimagined the face of the son of God.
Depictions of Christ predominantly show a white, clean shaven man with long, flowing blonde locks. Richard Neave, formerly a professor at Manchester University, constructed the image after he examined three Semites’ skulls from around Galilee in northern Israel using methods more frequently employed to identify victims of crimes. A forensic expert depicts Jesus Christ in a new image that makes him appear more human than the widely before. He also used ancient drawings at archaeological sites to determine the color of Christ’s hair and studied the bible to ensure the length was correct. Earlier this year, Italian detectives revealed what they believed Jesus looked like as a young boy after using the Shroud of Turin, which the forensic expert also studied. They also concluded that Jesus Christ most likely would have been a bit over 5ft tall, and he would have been weather beaten after working as a carpenter until he was about 30. The forensic expert gives Jesus Christ with a new image after recreating his face as he would appear during his time in Jerusalem during the time he was alive.
Detectives use a variety of means to collect crime scene evidence. When attempting to locate evidence, investigators must be methodical. Grid search patterns are especially effective when searching large areas, such as a field or other open land areas.
Alternate light sources (ALS) are useful when attempting to locate hard-to-see evidence, such as fingerprints and body fluids.
Some crime scenes, such as labs used for manufacturing methamphetamine, contain hazardous materials, such as flammable and toxic chemicals and fumes. About setting up an accurate grid – do they use something like a transit, or one of the hand held laser distance measurers? There are times; however, when evidence, such as body fluids show up better when the lights are out and officers are using alternate light sources. Well, one of the horses did not approve, used it’s nose to open the stall, walked up to the bucket, turned around, and kicked it so that the contents spread wildly over everything around including, the ceiling, walls, and my great-grandmother. But, there you are – what a false lead some Luminol would have provided if it had been invented then. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, and numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation.
Over 99% of the history of humanity has occurred within prehistoric cultures, who did not make use of writing, thereby not leaving written records about themselves that we can study today. For many literate cultures, such as Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, their surviving records are often incomplete and biased to some extent. It questioned processualism's appeals to scientific positivism and impartiality, and emphasised the importance of a more self-critical theoretical reflexivity.[citation needed] 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.


Before any practical work can begin however, a clear objective as to what the archaeologists are looking to achieve must be agreed upon.
Regional survey is the attempt to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a region. 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 there. It requires relatively little time and expense, because it does not require processing large volumes of soil to search out artifacts. 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. 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. 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. It can reveal several types of information usually not accessible to survey, such as stratigraphy, three-dimensional structure, and verifiably primary context.
This always involves determining their horizontal locations, and sometimes vertical position as well (also see Primary Laws of Archaeology).
Features dug into the natural subsoil are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible archaeological section for recording. This process is known as post-excavation analysis, and is usually the most time-consuming part of the archaeological investigation. However, a much more comprehensive range of analytical techniques are available through archaeological science, meaning that artifacts can be dated and their compositions examined.
Near Eastern archaeology, Islamic archaeology, Medieval archaeology), other thematic concern (e.g. Experimental techniques remain a crucial component to improving the inferential frameworks for interpreting the archaeological record.
It emphasizes the application of analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering.
In such cases, archaeology is a subsidiary activity within Cultural resources management (CRM), also called heritage management in the United Kingdom.[55] Today, CRM accounts for most of the archaeological research done in the United States and much of that in western Europe as well. Since 1990 PPG 16[56] has required planners to consider archaeology as a material consideration in determining applications for new development. 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.
CRM is conducted by private companies that bid for projects by submitting proposals outlining the work to be done and an expected budget. This dearth of academic positions causes a predictable excess of well educated individuals who join the ranks of the following year's crop of non-academically employed archaeologists. Soon after this, in 1859, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published, outlining his theory of evolution, eventually leading scientists to believe that humanity was in fact millions of years old, thereby providing a time limit within which the burgeoning archaeological movement could study. One of the pioneering figures in this was Augustus Pitt Rivers, who meticulously excavated on Cranborne Chase in southern England, emphasising that it was not only items of beauty or value that should be recorded but mundane items as well; he therefore helped to differentiate archaeology from antiquarianism. Archaeological adventure stories tend to ignore the painstaking work involved in carrying out modern survey, excavation, and data processing. Common methods of public outreach include press releases, and the encouragement of school field trips to sites under excavation by professional archaeologists.[citation needed] Public appreciation of the significance of archaeology and archaeological sites often leads to improved protection from encroaching development or other threats. 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.
Archaeological excavation, however, is best undertaken by well-trained staff that can work quickly and accurately.
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. It includes much fictional archaeological work (discussed above), as well as some actual activity. His 1968 book, Chariots of the Gods?, together with many subsequent lesser-known works, expounds a theory of ancient contacts between human civilisation on Earth and more technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilisations. Several small holes left by looters' prospecting probes can be seen, as well as their footprints.
Object stolen from the Iraq National Museum in the looting in connection with the Iraq war of 2003. For instance, many of the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs were looted during antiquity.[74] Archaeology stimulates interest in ancient objects, and people in search of artifacts or treasure cause damage to archaeological sites. Many Native American Indians today, such as Vine Deloria, Jr., consider any removal of cultural artifacts from a Native American Indian site to be theft, and much of professional archaeology as academic looting.
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.
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. To many native peoples, natural features such as lakes, mountains or even individual trees have cultural significance.
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. An example of this occurred June 21, 2005, when community members and elders from a number of the 10 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.
They had been part of the Canadian Museum of Civilization's research collection for decades, some since the late 19th century. Some people argue that it’s the real face of Jesus using ancient Semite bones to reveal what Christ may have looked like, according to Daily Mail.
Professor Neave, an expert medical artist, used computerized tomography to create x-ray slices of the skulls and by evaluating the thickness of the skulls in certain areas recreate the skin and muscles of his face.
It has widely been regarded as a forgery for centuries, but the account it gives of Jesus’ appearance persists. One way to be certain they’ve combed every inch of a crime scene is to conduct structured, patterned searches, such as spiral or grid searches.
Devices such as Sirchie Fingerprint Laboratory’s Krime Site Imager are invaluable for detecting and capturing fingerprint images. When searching those dangerous crime scenes, investigators must wear protective gear and clothing.
Because archaeology employs a wide range of different procedures, it can be considered to be both a science and a humanity,[3] and in the United States it is thought of as a branch of anthropology,[4] although in Europe it is viewed as a separate discipline. It draws upon anthropology, history, art history, classics, ethnology, geography,[7] geology,[8][9][10] linguistics, physics, information sciences, chemistry, statistics, paleoecology, paleontology, paleozoology, paleoethnobotany, and paleobotany. Nonetheless, today, archaeologists face many problems, ranging from dealing with pseudoarchaeology to the looting of artifacts and opposition to the excavation of human remains.
Without such written sources, the only way to learn about prehistoric societies is to use archaeology.
In many societies, literacy was restricted to the elite classes, such as the clergy or the bureaucracy of court or temple.
This done, a site is surveyed to find out as much as possible about it and the surrounding area. Site survey is the attempt to systematically locate features of interest, such as houses and middens, within a site.
Surface survey cannot detect sites or features that are completely buried under earth, or overgrown with vegetation. 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. Likewise, their association, or relationship with nearby objects and features, needs to be recorded for later analysis. It is not uncommon for the final excavation reports on major sites to take years to be published.
The bones, plants and pollen collected from a site can all be analyzed (using the techniques of zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany, and palynology), while any texts can usually be deciphered.
Ethnoarchaeology continues to be a vibrant component of post-processual and other current archaeological approaches.[43][44][45][46] Ethnoarchaeology is the use of ethnography to increase and improve analogs, which are then used as analogies to interpret the archaeological record. It is a lively field of research that frequently focuses on the definition of the chemical composition of archaeological remains for source analysis.[53] Archaeometry also investigates different spatial characteristics of features, employing such methods as space syntax and geodesy, which can be analyzed using computer-based geographic information system technologies. 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. As a result, numerous archaeological organisations undertake mitigation work in advance of (or during) construction work in archaeologically sensitive areas, at the developer's expense.
It is not unheard-of for the agency responsible for the construction to simply choose the proposal that asks for the least funding.


Cultural Resource Management, once considered an intellectual backwater for individuals with "strong backs and weak minds"[62] has reaped the benefit of this massive pool of well educated professionals.
Ciriaco traveled all around the Eastern Mediterranean, noting down his archaeological discoveries in his day-book, Commentaria, that eventually filled six volumes. Books, films, and video games, such as The City of Brass, King Solomon's Mines, Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, The Mummy and Relic Hunter all testify to the public's interest in the discovery aspect of archaeology.
Often this requires observing the necessary health and safety and indemnity insurance issues involved in working on a modern building site with tight deadlines. Many non-fiction authors have ignored the scientific methods of processual archaeology, or the specific critiques of it contained in post-processualism. This theory, known as palaeocontact theory, or Ancient astronaut theory, is not exclusively Daniken's, nor did the idea originate with him. The commercial and academic demand for artifacts unfortunately contributes directly to the illicit antiquities trade.
In some cases human remains were not even thoroughly studied but instead archived rather than reburied.
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.
Australian archaeologists especially have explored this issue and attempted to survey these sites to give them some protection from being developed.
There have also been active efforts to recruit aboriginal peoples directly into the archaeological profession. It was not determined, however, if the remains were directly related to the Algonquin people who now inhabit the region. Elders from various Algonquin communities conferred on an appropriate reburial, eventually deciding on traditional redcedar and birchbark boxes lined with redcedar chips, muskrat and beaver pelts.
Neave says that his portrait of Jesus is not a portrait of Jesus specifically, but rather that of an adult Jewish man living at the same time and place as Jesus. The KS Imager is battery operated and is capable of recording images in bright light or in total darkness.
Of course, it also reacts with bleach and horseradish, but not many people have horseradish spatter on their floors and ceilings.
Many important developments in human history occurred during prehistory, including the evolution of humanity during the Palaeolithic period, when the hominins developed from the australopithecines through to the early homos in Africa and finally into modern Homo sapiens. Second, an excavation may take place to uncover any archaeological features buried under the ground. It is the only way to gather some forms of information, such as settlement patterns and settlement structure. Surface survey may also include mini-excavation techniques such as augers, corers, and shovel test pits. Archaeological features whose electrical resistivity contrasts with that of surrounding soils can be detected and mapped. In the UK, metal detectorists have been solicited for involvement in the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This allows the archaeologist to deduce which artifacts and features were likely used together and which may be from different phases of activity.
Again the percentage of a site excavated depends greatly on the country and "method statement" issued. 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.
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 endeavor. This results in CRM offices increasingly staffed by advance degreed individuals with a track record of producing scholarly articles but who have the notches on their trowels to show they have been in the trenches as a shovelbum. 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.
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. Furthermore, Western archaeologists' views of the past often differ from those of tribal peoples. Such work requires close links and trust between archaeologists and the people they are trying to help and at the same time study.
The remains may be of Iroquoian ancestry, since Iroquoian people inhabited the area before the Algonquin. Luminol’s reaction to blood gives off a brighter glow then when it contacts other substances. Archaeology also sheds light on many of humanity's technological advances, for instance the ability to use fire, the development of stone tools, the discovery of metallurgy, the beginnings of religion and the creation of agriculture. The interests and world-view of elites are often quite different from the lives and interests of the populace. And, third, the data collected from the excavation is studied and evaluated in an attempt to achieve the original research objectives of the archaeologists. 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. 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. For example, excavation of a site reveals its 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.
CRM is a thriving entity, especially in the United States and Europe where archaeologists from private companies and all levels of government engage in the practice of their discipline. 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).
Volunteers work with professional USFS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S.
Looters damage and destroy archaeological sites, denying future generations information about their ethnic and cultural heritage. 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.
It would seem to a lay-person – me – that one would be able to see more in the light, but maybe not? Writings that were produced by people more representative of the general population were unlikely to find their way into libraries and be preserved there for posterity.
Photographs of ripening grain, which changes colour rapidly at maturation, have revealed buried structures with great precision. The fill is what the feature is filled with, and will often appear quite distinct from the natural soil.
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. From a Western perspective, the past is long-gone; from a native perspective, disturbing the past can have dire consequences in the present.
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.
Aerial photographs taken at different times of day will help show the outlines of structures by changes in shadows. It is common for large mechanical equipment, such as backhoes (JCBs), to be used in excavation, especially to remove the topsoil (overburden), though this method is increasingly used with great caution. 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. Aerial survey also employs infrared, ground-penetrating radar wavelengths, LiDAR and thermography.
Following this rather dramatic step, the exposed area is usually hand-cleaned with trowels or hoes to ensure that all features are apparent.
Scaled plans and sections of individual features are all drawn on site, black and white and colour photographs of them are taken, and recording sheets are filled in describing the context of each.
All this information serves as a permanent record of the now-destroyed archaeology and is used in describing and interpreting the site.



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