Portal:Archaeology

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Archaeology portal

The 2,000-year-old remains of Ancient Rome in Italy are being excavated and mapped by these archaeologists.

Archaeology is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis and presentation of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, features, biofacts, and landscapes.

The goals of archaeology vary, and there is debate as to what its aims and responsibilities are. Some goals include the documentation and explanation of the origins and development of human cultures, understanding culture history, chronicling cultural evolution, and studying human behavior and ecology, for both prehistoric and historic societies. Archaeologists are also concerned with the study of methods used in the discipline, and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings underlying the questions archaeologists ask of the past. The tasks of surveying areas in order to find new sites, excavating sites in order to recover cultural remains, classification, analysis, and preservation are all important phases of the archaeological process. These are all important sources of information. Given the broad nature of the discipline there is a great deal of cross-disciplinary research in archaeology. It draws upon anthropology, history, art history, classics, ethnology, geography, physics, information sciences, chemistry, statistics, paleoecology, paleontology, paleozoology, paleoethnobotany, paleobotany .

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Casa Rinconada, one of the Chacoan Great Houses.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site hosting the densest and most exceptional concentration of pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a relatively inaccessible canyon cut by the Chaco Wash. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of America's most fascinating cultural and historic areas. Between AD 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Chacoans quarried sandstone blocks and hauled timber from great distances, assembling fifteen major complexes which remained the largest buildings in North America until the 19th century. Evidence of archaeoastronomy at Chaco has been proposed, with the "Sun Dagger" petroglyph at Fajada Butte a popular example. Many Chacoan buildings may have been aligned to capture the solar and lunar cycles, requiring generations of astronomical observations and centuries of skillfully coordinated construction. Climate change is thought to have led to the emigration of Chacoans and the eventual abandonment of the canyon, beginning with a 50-year drought in 1130. Located in the arid and inhospitable Four Corners region, the Chacoan cultural sites are fragile; fears of erosion caused by tourists have led to the closure of Fajada Butte to the public. The sites are considered sacred ancestral homelands of the Hopi and Pueblo people, who continue to maintain oral traditions recounting their historical migration from Chaco and their spiritual relationship to the land.


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The Great Bath
Credit: Diliff

The Great Bath of the Roman Baths in Bath, England, with Bath Abbey in the background. The complex, a grade I listed building, was constructed during Roman Britain, during which time the town was known as Aquae Sulis. It was rediscovered in the 18th century and, as well as being a major archaeological find, it has become one of the city's main attractions. The entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later reconstruction.

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