DSST Anthropology as a Discipline

Although archaeology uses extensively the methods

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Although archaeology uses extensively the methods, techniques, and results of the physical and biological sciences, it is not a natural science; some consider it a discipline that is half science and half humanity. There are many branches of archaeology divided by geographical areas--such as classical archaeology, the archaeology of ancient Greece and Rome; or Egyptology , the archaeology of ancient Egypt. We can also divide by periods - such as medieval archaeology and industrial archaeology. Writing began 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt; its beginnings were somewhat later in India and China, and later still in Europe. This is important because Civilization is defined as "a human form of culture in which many people live in urban centers, have mastered the art of smelting metals, and have developed a method of writing." Ancient Mesopotamia is where the world's first cities appeared . No one knows why urbanization began in southern Mesopotamia, but the world's first cities were built there between the years 4000 and 3500 BC. The aspect of archaeology that deals with the past of man before he learned to write has, since the middle of the 19th century, been referred to as prehistoric archaeology, or prehistory. In prehistory, the archaeologist is paramount, for here the only sources are material and environmental. Fieldwork, in the narrow sense, consists of the discovery and recording of archaeological sites and their examination by methods other than the use of the spade and the trowel. Sites hitherto unknown are discovered by walking or motoring over the countryside: deliberate reconnaissance is an essential part of archaeological fieldwork. In Europe, a study of old records and place-names may lead to the discovery of long-forgotten sites. The mapping of new and old sites is an essential part of archaeological survey. This process has been brought to a very high standard of perfection, both in the marking of archaeological sites on ordinary topographical maps and in the production of special period maps. The distribution map of artifacts, especially when studied against the background of the natural environment, is a key method of archaeological study. The formerly earthbound archaeologist has been greatly helped by the development of aerial photography . The application of aerial photography to archaeological investigation began in a small way during World War I, as a side effect of military reconnaissance, and was given further impetus by World War II; the photographic intelligence departments of all the combatant nations were extensively staffed by archaeologists, who then carried their expertise and enthusiasm into the postwar years. Archaeological Reconnaissance may be advanced from ordinary surface or aerial methods in a wide variety of ways. A very simple method is tapping the ground to sound for substructures and inequalities in the subsoil.
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