These include human artifacts from the very earliest stone tools to the man-made objects that are buried or thrown
away in the present day: everything made by human beings—from simple tools to complex machines, from the
earliest houses and temples and tombs to palaces, cathedrals, and pyramids.
Archaeological investigations are a principal source of knowledge of prehistoric, ancient, and extinct
The word culture comes from the Greek archaia ("ancient things") and logos ("theory" or "science").
The main aim of the archaeologist is to place the material remains in historical contexts, to supplement
what may be known from written sources, and, thus, to increase understanding
of the past.
Ultimately, then, the archaeologist is a historian: his aim is the interpretive description of the past of man.
Radioactive carbon dating, which has revolutionized much of archaeological chronology, is a by-product
of research in atomic
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."
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
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