The archaeological record is the body of physical (i.e. not written) evidence about the past. It is one of the most basic concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record. The archaeological record consists of the material culture found at an archaeological site. Material culture in terms of archaeology can consist of artifacts, built structures, human impact on the environment, garbage, stratigraphy, mortuary practices, plant remains, animal remains. Archaeological theory is used to interpret the archaeological record for a better understanding of human cultures. The archaeological record can consist of the earliest ancient findings as well as contemporary artifacts. Human activity has had a large impact on the archaeological record. Destructive human processes such as agriculture and land development may damage or destroy potential archaeological sites. Other threats to the archaeological record include natural phenomena and scavenging. Archaeology is a destructive science and can take away from the finite resources of the archaeological record. It is for this reason that archaeologists limit the amount of excavation that they do at each site and meticulous records are kept of what is found.
See also 
- Cultural resources management and Cultural Heritage Management
- Material culture
- Artifact (archaeology)
- Excavation (archaeology)
- Patrik, Linda E. (1985). "Is There an Archaeological Record?". Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 8: 27–62. JSTOR 20170186.
- Hardesty, Donald L. (2008). "GOALS OF ARCHAEOLOGY, OVERVIEW". In Deborah M. Pearsall. Encyclopedia of Archaeology. pp. 1414–1416. doi:10.1016/B978-012373962-9.00121-7. ISBN 978-0-12-373962-9. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- Lipe, William D. "Conserving the In Situ Archaeological Record". Retrieved April 13, 2012.
Feder, Kenneth L. (2007). Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology, Second Edition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-533117-6.
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