What is Archeology?

Do you know what is Archeology? Read this article and find out!

What is Archeology? It’s a science that looks a lot like history. The basic difference between one and the other is that historians research the past by studying written sources such as books, documents and letters. The archaeologist reconstructs the past too; a past sometimes very distant, sometimes more recent. However, instead of using only written sources, he also uses material remains, also called artifacts or archaeological objects, as an object of study – that is, the remains that these people left behind.

When studying archaeological sites, the archaeologist finds different remains (objects) according to each period of time. If he’s studying people from prehistory, he’ll find chipped stone at the archaeological site; in the case of the study of indigenous peoples, the objects will be ceramics (Prehistoric Archeology); on the other hand, the peoples of the colonial period left earthenware on their sites (Historical Archaeology). Anyway, each location has a different trace to be studied.

The main instrument of archeology is excavation. Through it, archaeologists continuously remove layers of earth from certain terrain, recording and photographing everything very well. After all, the archaeological record being excavated is also destroyed.

Archaeologists use books as well as historians; they seek knowledge that has been gained by other people who have researched the same area. In this process, several sciences intertwine to understand an environment of the past. Physics, trying to identify age; Biology, revealing the relationship that these people had with animals; Geography, investigating the landscape… Finally, Archeology is an interdisciplinary science.

 

In summary, Archeology is a science that studies, above all, people. People through their objects left over time.

 

Text by: Cris Amarante & Débora Blair

Translation: Débora Blair

Photo on the top: archeological site “Lapa do Gentil”, city of Cafarnaum, state of Bahia, Brazil.

Do you know whats is Archeology? Read this article and find out!
Archeologist Cris Amarante: archeological site in Serra da Capivara, city of São Raimundo Nonato, state of Piauí, Brazil.

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