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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 .

Selected article

David S. Cohen wrote the episode after being inspired by a visit to the American Museum of Natural History.
"Lisa the Skeptic" is the eighth episode of The Simpsons' ninth season, first aired on November 23, 1997. On an archaeological dig with her class, Lisa discovers a skeleton that resembles an angel. All of the townspeople believe that the skeleton actually came from an angel, but skeptical Lisa attempts to persuade them that there must be a rational scientific explanation. The skeleton is later revealed to be a publicity stunt for a new mall opening in Springfield, and the townspeople forget their concerns about the skeleton to go shopping. Writer David S. Cohen had the inspiration for the episode after visiting the American Museum of Natural History, and decided to loosely parallel themes from the Scopes Monkey Trial. The episode has been discussed in the context of concepts involving virtual reality, ontology, existentialism, and skepticism. The episode received mixed reviews, but has since been used in Christian religious education classes to form a discussion around angels, skepticism, and the balance between science and faith.As Homer attempts to get a motorboat from a "police raffle" that turns out to be a sting operation, a new mall in Springfield is being built on an area where a large number of fossils were found. Lisa condemns and protests the building of the mall. Thanks to her protest, it prompts the school to conduct an archaeological dig. During the excavations, Lisa finds a human skeleton with wings. Springfield's residents are convinced it is an angel, and Homer cashes in by moving the skeleton into the family's garage. Lisa remains skeptical and—believing it may not actually be an angel—has Stephen Jay Gould test a sample.

Did you know

  • ...that Epimachus of Athens, an ancient Athenian engineer, constructed the Helepolis, which remains the largest siege machine ever built, at over 60 feet in width and 125 feet in height?


Selected picture

Cliff Palace
Credit: Gustaf Nordenskiöld

An 1891 photograph of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling—a structure built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs—in North America, located in what is now Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA. There are about 150 rooms in the 288 ft (88 m) long structure, although only 25 to 30 of those were used as living space by Ancient Pueblo Peoples. it is estimated that the population of Cliff Palace was roughly 100–150 people.


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