Archaeology or archeology (from Greek: ἀρχαιολογία, archaiologia, – Greek: ἀρχαῖος, arkhaios, meaning "ancient"; and Greek: -λογία, logia meaning "study of, discourse"), is the study of human activity in the past. In other words, archaeology is the study of antiquity. Another definition found is that archaeology is the study of the material remains of past cultures within their excavated contexts. Archaeology is therefore concerned with the full range of past human experience. It deals with issues like how humans organized themselves into social groups, how they exploited their surroundings, the kind of food they ate, their beliefs, etc...
Archaeology as a science, has a system where one archaeological investigation usually involves distinct items:
A field survey is the location of promising sites, based on historical and geological studies, aerial surveys and satellite images attempting to systematically locate previously unknown sites in a given region.
Expeditions are organized with persons qualified in leadership, support staff (cooks, drivers), preparation of positions to the fields, logistics, photographic equipment, transport vehicles, warehouses, etc...
Delimiting the area
At this stage archaeologists delimit the area to be examined and established camp. The area to be examined is divided.
Excavation and mapping
Excavation is the most expensive phase of archaeological research, in relative terms. Excavations begin with picks, hoes, saws, electric drills, material collected, classification and storage of items discovered. Materials are selected for further analysis in the laboratory and tests by technicians of different specialties. The excavation continues in layers (stratification) that often pass from one civilization to another. Features excavated at the site are normally excavated in portions to produce a visible archaeological section for recording. The position at which the artifacts are discovered is also important. This allows the archaeologist to deduce which artifacts and resources were used in conjunction. Thus the excavated areas are carefully mapped. At the end of the project excavations are again filled with earth and covered with vegetation appropriate to the site.
Careful handling of artifacts
All material collected in the excavations is examined by the methods possible, if necessary. Everything is recorded in the history of the excavation, including pictures. The materials are selected and classified.
The artifacts that require most attention are sent to the laboratory. Chemical analyzes are made or other types of analyses. If necessary, experts from other areas such as biologists, anthropologists and historians are summoned.
Finally, reports are prepared and articles and books are written. These reports usually include all the details recorded including diagrams and photographs. The reports are highly technical, aimed at experts of the field. Books may have a more popular language in order to disseminate the findings.
History and Development
Ciriaco de' Pizzicolli or Cyriacus of Ancona (Born::July 31, 1391 — Died::1453/55) was a Italian humanist who travelled all around the Eastern Mediterranean, noting down his archaeological discoveries in his book Commentaria, that eventually expanded in a work of six volumes. After translating the inscription of the triumphal arch of Trajan, Ciriaco decided to devoted the rest of his life to promoting the study of the past. He has been called the father of archaeology. Modern archaeology may be said to began in 1798 when the rich antiquities of the Nile valley were open to scientific study by the expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte. On this expedition it was the discovered the Rosetta stone by one of his soldiers. The Frenchman Jean-François Champollion (Born::1790-Died::1832) used its bilingual inscription to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphs in 1822 after working for 14 years. Around 1836, Jaches Boucher de Perthes began to collect axeheads and bones of mammals long extinct near the Somme river and concluded, by examining the tools, of the existence of very ancient men.
- Main article: Biblical archaeology
Biblical archaeology is a more restricted field than general archaeology and deals with ancient records related upon the Bible and its message. The scientific methodology of Biblical archaeology is the same of the general archaeology. There is no special science or technique available to the biblical scholar. The study of Biblical Archaeology is an important aid to the correct understanding of the Bible, since it gives a description of the lands of the Bible and of social customs, civil and religious, of the biblical characters.
Archaeologists study human cultures of the past, including the remains of the artifacts, buildings and monuments that people have made, the environments in which they lived, their tools, their ceremonial objects and the remains of the people themselves.
- Douglas, J.D.; Tenney, Merril C, ed. (1987). The New International Dictionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. p. 75. ISBN 0-310-33190-0.
- Bard, Kathryn A (2007). An Introduction to Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4051-1149-2.
- Thomas, David Hurst (1998). Archaeology (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Wadsworth/Thomsom Learning. p. 2-28. ISBN 0-15-501369-6.
- Unger, Merrill F (1988). Harrison, R. K.. ed. The New Unger´s Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press. p. 93-94. ISBN 0-8024-9037-9.
- Renfrew, Colin; Bahn, Paul G (2000). Archaeology: Theories Methods and Practice (3rd ed.). Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28147-5.
- Berkhof, Louis (1928). Biblical Archaeology (3rd, revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Smitter Book Company. p. 17.