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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What is Archaeology?

Archaeology involves the scientific study of past human culture, technology and behaviour, through the material objects (artifacts) that were left behind, and the physical remains of the natural environment in which they were connected (faunal and floral remains, soils, and so on). Such remains provide clues about when a site was occupied and the way people were living (for instance, about social organization and cultural change). In the Old World, archaeology often relates to the group of techniques and theories used in obtaining such information. Although written records may sometimes help, the Iron Age Celts left few, leaving us to rely on the literary evidence provided for them from the classical world. Archaeology can thus be used to study the prehistoric past, prior to when written evidence begins, as well as during the historic part of history to support written documents. Archaeology is thus a multicultural discipline, which encourages respect for past and present human populations, and is a means of conserving our shared human heritage by providing individuals with viewpoints about their own links with the past.


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