Flotation machine in use at Hallan Çemi, southeast Turkey, c. 1990. Note the two sieves catching charred seeds and charcoal, and the bags of archaeological matrix waiting for flotation
is the archaeological
sub-field that studies plant
remains from archaeological sites. Basing on the recovery and identification of plant remains and the ecological and cultural information available for modern plants, the major research themes are the use of wild plants, the origins of agriculture
, and the co-evolution
of human-plant interactions. Read more...
College students work with indigenous peoples in archaeological dig
is a sub-discipline of western archaeological theory that seeks to engage and empower indigenous people in the preservation of their heritage and to correct perceived inequalities in modern archaeology
. It also attempts to incorporate non-material elements of cultures, like oral traditions, into the wider historical narrative. This methodology came out of the global anti-colonial movements of the 1970s and 1980s led by aboriginal and indigenous people in settler-colonial nations, like the United States, Canada, and Australia. Major issues the sub-discipline attempts to address include the repatriation of indigenous remains to their respective peoples, the perceived biases that western archaeology's imperialistic roots have imparted into its modern practices, and the stewardship and preservation of indigenous people’s cultures and heritage sites. This has encouraged the development of more collaborative relationships between archaeologists and indigenous people and has increased the involvement of indigenous people in archaeology and its related policies.
As a relatively recently formed variety of archaeology, the "tenets and practices of Indigenous archaeology are currently being defined", and, as a sub-discipline, it is "unavoidably pluralistic, contingent, and emergent". Changes in practices under what is called indigenous archeology may range from Indigenous peoples being consulted about archaeological research and the terms of non-Native researchers, to instances of Native-designed and directed exploration of their "own" heritage. Read more...
Africa has the longest record of human habitation in the world. The first hominins emerged 6-7 million years ago, and among the earliest anatomically modern human skulls found so far were discovered at Omo Kibish
European archaeology, as well as that of North Africa
, is generally divided into the Stone Age
(comprising the Lower Paleolithic
, the Middle Paleolithic
, the Upper Paleolithic
, the Mesolithic
, and the Neolithic
), the Bronze Age
, and the Iron Age
. For Africa south of the Sahara
, African archaeology
is classified in a slightly different way, with the Paleolithic generally divided into the Early Stone Age
, the Middle Stone Age
, and the Later Stone Age
. After these three stages come the Pastoral Neolithic
, the Iron Age and then later historical periods. Read more...
is the study of the ways in which people in the past constructed and used the environment around them. Landscape archaeology is inherently multidisciplinary in its approach to the study of culture, and is used by pre-historical, classic, and historic archaeologists. The key feature that distinguishes landscape archaeology from other archaeological approaches to sites is that there is an explicit emphasis on the sites' relationships between material culture, human alteration of land/cultural modifications to landscape, and the natural environment. The study of landscape archaeology (also sometimes referred to as the archaeology
of the cultural landscape
) has evolved to include how landscapes were used to create and reinforce social inequality
and to announce one's social status
to the community at large. Read more...
, lithic analysis
is the analysis of stone tools
and other chipped stone artifacts
using basic scientific techniques. At its most basic level, lithic analyses involve an analysis of the artifact’s morphology, the measurement of various physical attributes, and examining other visible features (such as noting the presence or absence of cortex
, for example).
The term 'lithic analysis' can technically refer to the study of any anthropogenic
(human-created) stone, but in its usual sense it is applied to archaeological
material that was produced through lithic reduction
(knapping) or ground stone
. A thorough understanding of the lithic reduction and ground stone processes, in combination with the use of statistics, can allow the analyst to draw conclusions concerning the type of lithic manufacturing techniques used at a prehistoric archaeological site
. For example, they can make certain equation between each the factors of flake to predict original shape. These data can then be used to draw an understanding of socioeconomic and cultural organization. Read more...
Diagram describing major steps in post-excavation analysis.
constitutes processes that are used to study archaeological
materials after an excavation
is completed. Since the advent of "New Archaeology" in the 1960s, the use of scientific techniques in archaeology has grown in importance. This trend is directly reflected in the increasing application of the scientific method to post-excavation analysis. The first step in post-excavation analysis should be to determine what one is trying to find out and what techniques can be used to provide answers. Techniques chosen will ultimately depend on what type of artifact(s) one wishes to study. This article outlines processes for analyzing different artifact classes and describes popular techniques used to analyze each class of artifact. Keep in mind that archaeologists frequently alter or add techniques in the process of analysis as observations can alter original research questions.
In most cases, basic steps crucial to analysis (such as cleaning and labeling artifacts) are performed in a general laboratory setting while more sophisticated techniques are performed by specialists in their own labs. The sections of this article describe specialized techniques and section descriptions assume that artifacts have already been cleaned and cataloged. Read more...
is the scientific study
of bones, practiced by osteologists
. A subdiscipline of anatomy
, and archaeology
, osteology is a detailed study of the structure of bones, skeletal elements, teeth
, microbone morphology
, function, disease
, the process of ossification
molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics
), etc. often used by scientists with identification of vertebrate remains with regard to age
, and development
and can be used in a biocultural context. Osteologists frequently work in the public and private sector as consultants for museums, scientists for research laboratories, scientists for medical investigations and/or for companies producing osteological reproductions in an academic context.
Osteology and osteologists should not be confused with the holistic practice of medicine known as osteopathy
and its practitioners, osteopaths
. Read more...
Drawing to scale, underwater
practiced underwater. As with all other branches of archaeology, it evolved from its roots in pre-history and in the classical era
to include sites from the historical and industrial eras. Its acceptance has been a relatively late development due to the difficulties of accessing and working underwater sites, and because the application of archaeology to underwater sites initially emerged from the skills and tools developed by shipwreck salvagers. As a result, underwater archaeology initially struggled to establish itself as bona fide archaeological research. The situation changed when universities began teaching the subject and when a theoretical and practical base for the sub-discipline was firmly established. Underwater archaeology now has a number of branches including, after it became broadly accepted in the late 1980s, maritime archaeology
: the scientifically based study of past human
life, behaviours and cultures and their activities in, on, around and (lately) under the sea, estuaries and rivers. This is most often effected using the physical remains found in, around or under salt
or fresh water
or buried beneath water-logged sediment
. In recent years, the study of submerged WWII sites and of submerged aircraft in the form of underwater aviation archaeology
have also emerged as bona fide activity.
Though often mistaken as such, underwater archaeology is not restricted to the study of shipwrecks. Changes in sea level
because of local seismic
events such as the earthquakes that devastated Port Royal
or more widespread climatic
changes on a continental
scale mean that some sites of human occupation that were once on dry land are now submerged. At the end of the last ice age, the North Sea
was a great plain, and anthropological material, as well as the remains of animals such as mammoths
, are sometimes recovered by trawlers. Also, because human societies have always made use of water, sometimes the remains of structures that these societies built underwater still exist (such as the foundations of crannogs
, bridges and harbours
) when traces on dry land have been lost. As a result, underwater archaeological
sites cover a vast range including: submerged indigenous sites and places where people once lived or visited that have been subsequently covered by water due to rising sea levels
; wells, cenotes, wrecks (shipwrecks
); the remains of structures created in water (such as crannogs
); other port-related structures; refuse
sites where people disposed of their waste
, garbage and other items, such as ships, aircraft, munitions and machinery, by dumping
into the water. Read more...
is the study of ancient DNA
using various molecular genetic
methods and DNA resources. This form of genetic analysis can be applied to human, animal, and plant specimens. Ancient DNA can be extracted from various fossilized specimens including bones, eggshells, and artificially preserved tissues in human and animal specimens. In plants, Ancient DNA can be extracted from seeds, tissue, and in some cases, feces. Archaeogenetics provides us with genetic evidence of ancient population group migrations, domestication events, and plant and animal evolution. The ancient DNA cross referenced with the DNA of relative modern genetic populations allows researchers to run comparison studies that provide a more complete analysis when ancient DNA is compromised.
Archaeogenetics receives its name from the Greek word arkhaios
, meaning "ancient", and the term genetics
, meaning "the study of heredity". The term archaeogenetics was conceived by archaeologist Colin Renfrew
. Read more...
The term bioarchaeology
was first coined by British archaeologist Grahame Clark
in 1972 as a reference to zooarchaeology
, or the study of animal bones from archaeological sites
. Redefined in 1977 by Jane Buikstra
, bioarchaeology in the US now refers to the scientific study of human remains from archaeological sites, a discipline known in other countries as osteoarchaeology
. In England and other European countries, the term 'bioarchaeology' is borrowed to cover all biological remains from sites.
Bioarchaeology was largely born from the practices of New Archaeology
, which developed in the US in the 1970s as a reaction to a mainly cultural-historical
approach to understanding the past. Proponents of New Archaeology advocated using processual methods to test hypotheses about the interaction between culture and biology, or a biocultural approach. Some archaeologists advocate a more holistic approach to bioarchaeology that incorporates critical theory
and is more relevant to modern descent populations. Read more...
(also spelled archeoastronomy
) is the study of how people in the past "have understood the phenomena
in the sky
, how they used these phenomena and what role the sky played in their cultures
". Clive Ruggles
argues it is misleading to consider archaeoastronomy to be the study of ancient astronomy
, as modern astronomy is a scientific discipline, while archaeoastronomy considers symbolically rich cultural interpretations of phenomena in the sky by other cultures. It is often twinned with ethnoastronomy
, the anthropological
study of skywatching in contemporary societies. Archaeoastronomy is also closely associated with historical astronomy
, the use of historical records of heavenly events to answer astronomical problems and the history of astronomy
, which uses written records to evaluate past astronomical practice.Archaeoastronomy uses a variety of methods to uncover evidence of past practices including archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, statistics and probability, and history. Because these methods are diverse and use data from such different sources, integrating them into a coherent argument has been a long-term difficulty for archaeoastronomers. Archaeoastronomy fills complementary niches in landscape archaeology
and cognitive archaeology
. Material evidence and its connection to the sky can reveal how a wider landscape can be integrated into beliefs about the cycles of nature
, such as Mayan astronomy
and its relationship with agriculture. Other examples which have brought together ideas of cognition and landscape include studies of the cosmic order embedded in the roads of settlements. Read more...
Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler
(10 September 1890 – 22 July 1976) was a British archaeologist
and officer in the British Army
. Over the course of his career, he served as Director of both the National Museum of Wales
and London Museum
, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India
, and the founder and Honorary Director of the Institute of Archaeology
, in addition to writing twenty-four books on archaeological subjects.
Born in Glasgow
to a middle-class family, Wheeler was raised largely in Yorkshire
before relocating to London in his teenage years. After studying Classics
at University College London
(UCL), he began working professionally in archaeology, specializing in the Romano-British
period. During World War I
he volunteered for service in the Royal Artillery
, being stationed on the Western Front
, where he rose to the rank of major
and was awarded the Military Cross
. Returning to Britain, he obtained his doctorate from UCL before taking on a position at the National Museum of Wales, first as Keeper of Archaeology and then as Director, during which time he oversaw excavation
at the Roman forts of Segontium
, Y Gaer
, and Isca Augusta
with the aid of his first wife, Tessa Wheeler
. Influenced by the archaeologist Augustus Pitt Rivers
, Wheeler argued that excavation and the recording of stratigraphic context
required an increasingly scientific and methodical approach, developing the "Wheeler Method
". In 1926, he was appointed Keeper of the London Museum; there, he oversaw a reorganisation of the collection, successfully lobbied for increased funding, and began lecturing at UCL. Read more...
A maritime archaeologist with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program in St. Augustine, Florida, recording the ship's bell discovered on the 18th century "Storm Wreck."
(also known as marine archaeology
) is a discipline within archaeology
as a whole that specifically studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, shore-side facilities, port-related structures, cargoes, human remains
and submerged landscapes. A specialty within maritime archaeology is nautical
archaeology, which studies ship construction
As with archaeology as a whole, maritime archaeology can be practised within the historical, industrial, or prehistoric periods. An associated discipline, and again one that lies within archaeology itself, is underwater archaeology
, which studies the past through any submerged remains be they of maritime interest or not. An example from the prehistoric era would be the remains of submerged settlements or deposits now lying under water despite having been dry land when sea levels were lower. The study of submerged aircraft lost in lakes, rivers or in the sea is an example from the historical, industrial or modern era. Many specialist sub-disciplines within the broader maritime and underwater archaeological categories have emerged in recent years. Read more...
Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers
(14 April 1827 – 4 May 1900) was an English officer in the British Army
, and archaeologist
. He was noted for innovations in archaeological methodology, and in the museum display of archaeological and ethnological collections. His international collection of about 22,000 objects was the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum
at the University of Oxford
while his collection of English archaeology from the area around Stonehenge forms the basis of the collection at The Salisbury Museum
Throughout most of his life he used the surname Lane Fox, under which his early archaeological reports are published. In 1880 he adopted the Pitt Rivers name on inheriting from Lord Rivers (a cousin) an estate of more than 32,000 acres in Cranborne Chase
. Read more...
Alfred Vincent Kidder
Alfred V. Kidder at Pecos, 1916
(October 29, 1885 – June 11, 1963) was an American archaeologist
considered the foremost of the southwestern United States
during the first half of the 20th century. He saw a disciplined system of archaeological techniques as a means to extend the principles of anthropology
into the prehistoric past and so was the originator of the first comprehensive, systematic approach to North American archaeology. Read more...
; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German
businessman and a pioneer in the field of archaeology
. He was an advocate
of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer
and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik
, now presumed to be the site of Troy
, along with the Mycenaean
. His work lent weight to the idea that Homer
reflects historical events
. Schliemann's excavation of nine levels of archaeological remains with dynamite has been criticized as destructive of significant historical artifacts, including the level that is believed to be the historical Troy.
Along with Arthur Evans
, Schliemann was a pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization
in the Bronze Age
. The two men knew of each other, Evans having visited Schliemann's sites. Schliemann had planned to excavate at Knossos
but died before fulfilling that dream. Evans bought the site and stepped in to take charge of the project, which was then still in its infancy. Read more...
involves the recovery and scientific investigation of the material remains of past cultures that can illuminate the periods and descriptions in the Bible
, be they from the Old Testament
) or from the New Testament
, as well as the history and cosmogony
of the Judeo-Christian
religions. The principal location of interest is what is known in the relevant religions as the Holy Land
, which from a Western perspective is also called the Middle East
. In contrast, the archaeology of the ancient Middle East
simply deals with the Ancient Near East
, or Middle East, without giving any especial consideration to whether its discoveries have any relationship with the Bible.
The scientific techniques used are the same as those used in general archaeology, such as excavation and radiocarbon dating
. Read more...
Egyptian mummy of a dog front and profile views
) is the branch of archaeology
that studies faunal remains related to ancient people. Faunal remains are the items left behind when an animal dies. It includes: bones, shells, hair, chitin
, scales, hides, proteins and DNA. Of these items, bones and shells are the ones that occur most frequently at archaeological sites
where faunal remains can be found. Most of the time, most of the faunal remains do not survive. They often decompose or break because of various circumstances. This can cause difficulties in identifying the remains and interpreting their significance. Read more...
is the exposure, processing and recording of archaeological remains. An excavation site or "dig" is a site being studied. Such a site excavation concerns itself with a specific archaeological site or a connected series of sites, and may be conducted over as little as several weeks to over a number of years.
Numerous specialized techniques each with its particular features are used. Resources and other practical issues do not allow archaeologists to carry out excavations whenever and wherever they choose. These constraints mean many known sites have been deliberately left unexcavated. This is with the intention of preserving them for future generations as well as recognising the role they serve in the communities that live near them. Read more...
is a sub-discipline of archaeology
that began in North America with Dr. Douglas D. Scott
's, National Park Service, metal detecting of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
in 1983. It is not considered distinct from Military archaeology
(i.e., the recovery of surface finds and non-invasive site surveying).Battlefield archaeology
also refers to the specific study of a particular archaeological horizon in which a military action occurred. This may include both 'bounded' battlefields where troop dispositions, numbers and the order of battle are known from textual records, and also from undocumented evidence of conflict. The discipline is distinct from military history in that it seeks to answer different questions, including the experiences of ordinary soldiers in wider political frameworks. Therefore, battlefield archaeology
is not concerned, primarily, with the causes of conflict but of the sites where conflict actually took place, and of the archaeology of the event. Read more...
(from the Latin
, meaning pertaining to ancient times) is an aficionado
or student of antiquities
or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history
with particular attention to ancient artifacts
, archaeological and historic sites
, or historic archives
. The essence of antiquarianism
is a focus on the empirical evidence
of the past, and is perhaps best encapsulated in the motto adopted by the 18th-century antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare
, "We speak from facts, not theory."
Today the term is often used in a pejorative sense, to refer to an excessively narrow focus on factual historical trivia, to the exclusion of a sense of historical context or process. Read more...
Ground penetrating radar is a tool used in archaeological field surveys.
or field survey
is a type of field research
by which archaeologists (often landscape archaeologists
) search for archaeological sites and collect information about the location, distribution and organization of past human cultures across a large area (e.g. typically in excess of one hectare
, and often in excess of many km2
). Archaeologists conduct surveys to search for particular archaeological sites or kinds of sites, to detect patterns in the distribution of material culture over regions, to make generalizations or test hypotheses about past cultures, and to assess the risks that development projects will have adverse impacts on archaeological heritage. The surveys may be: (a) intrusive
, depending on the needs of the survey team (and the risk of destroying archaeological evidence
if intrusive methods are used) and; (b) extensive
, depending on the types of research questions being asked of the landscape
in question. Surveys can be a practical way to decide whether or not to carry out an excavation
(as a way of recording the basic details of a possible site), but may also be ends in themselves, as they produce important information about past human activities in a regional context.
A common role of a field survey is in assessment of the potential archaeological significance of places where development is proposed. This is usually connected to construction work and road building. The assessment determines whether the area of development impact is likely to contain significant archaeological resources and makes recommendations as to whether the archaeological remains can be avoided or an excavation is necessary before development work can commence. Read more...
Forensic archaeologists employ their knowledge of proper excavation techniques to ensure that remains are recovered in a controlled and forensically acceptable manner. When remains are found partially or completely buried the proper excavation of the remains will ensure that any evidence present on the bones will remain intact. The difference between forensic archaeologists and forensic anthropologists is that where forensic anthropologists are trained specifically in human osteology and recovery of human remains, forensic archaeologists specialize more broadly in the processes of search and discovery. In addition to remains, archaeologists are trained to look for objects contained in and around the excavation area. These objects can include anything from wedding rings to potentially probative evidence such as cigarette butts or shoe prints. Their training extends further to observing context, association and significance of objects in a crime scene and drawing conclusions that may be useful for locating a victim or suspect. A forensic archaeologist must also be able to utilize a degree of creativity and adaptability during times when crime scenes can not be excavated using traditional archaeological techniques. For example, one particular case study was conducted on the search and recovery of the remains of a missing girl who was found in a septic tank underground. This instance required unique methods unlike those of a typical archeological excavation in order to exhume and preserve the contents of the tank.
Forensic archaeologists are involved within three main areas. Assisting with crime scene research, investigation, and recovery of evidence and/or skeletal remains is only one aspect. Read more...
applies to the use of sensory experiences to view and interpret an archaeological site or cultural landscape
. It first came to widespread attention among archaeologists with the publication of Christopher Tilley
's A Phenomenology of Landscape
(1994), in which he suggested it to be a useful technique that can be used to discover more about historical peoples and how they interact with the landscapes in which they live. He argued that, simply by looking at two-dimensional depictions of a landscape, such as on a map
, archaeologists fail to understand how peoples living in hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies actually relate to those areas. He believed, therefore, that investigators should enter the very landscape that they are studying, and use their senses of sight
, and hearing
to learn more about how historical peoples would have interpreted it.
Phenomenology "has provoked considerable discussion within the discipline", receiving considerable criticism from the archaeological community who deem it to be "unscientific" and "subjective". In contrast to this, it has also been supported by a great number of archaeologists and nowadays is often used in fieldwork alongside other, more traditional methods. It has been used particularly in understanding prehistoric sites
, such as the Neolithic Tavoliere Plain
in Italy, and the Bronze Age
landscape on Bodmin Moor
, England. Read more...
employs a feminist
perspective in interpreting past societies. It often focuses on gender, but also considers gender in tandem with other factors, such as sexuality
, or class
. Feminist archaeology
has critiqued the uncritical application of modern, Western norms and values to past societies. It is additionally concerned with switching a perceived androcentric
bias in the structuring disciplinary norms of archaeology with a gynocentric
bias within the profession. Read more...
A geoarchaeologist analyzes a stratigraphy on the route of the LGV Est high-speed railway line.
is a multi-disciplinary approach which uses the techniques and subject matter of geography
and other Earth sciences
to examine topics which inform archaeological
knowledge and thought. Geoarchaeologists study the natural physical processes that affect archaeological sites
such as geomorphology
, the formation of sites through geological processes and the effects on buried sites and artifacts
post-deposition. Geoarchaeologists' work frequently involves studying soil
as well as other geographical concepts to contribute an archaeological study. Geoarchaeologists may also use computer cartography, geographic information systems
(GIS) and digital elevation models
(DEM) in combination with disciplines from human and social sciences and earth sciences. Geoarchaeology is important to society because it informs archaeologists about the geomorphology of the soil, sediments and the rocks on the buried sites and artifacts they're researching on. By doing this we are able locate ancient cities and artifacts and estimate by the quality of soil how "prehistoric" they really are. Read more...
, also spelled palaeopathology
, is the study of ancient diseases
. Studying pathologies
, these abnormalities in biologic individuals and systems, may be intrinsic to the system itself (examples: autoimmune disorders or traumatic arthritis) or caused by an extrinsic factor (examples: viruses or lead poisoning from pipes). Any living organism can have pathology. Studies have historically focused on humans, but there is no evidence that humans are more prone to pathologies than any other animal.
Paleopathology is an interdisciplinary science. The majority of the work has historically been done by anthropologists
studying diseases in ancient cultures. Medically trained professionals
have also made substantial contributions, especially in modern comparative studies. Paleontologists
have sporadically contributed to the field, focusing on non-avian dinosaurs
and Cenozoic mammals
. Read more...
Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie
(3 June 1853 – 28 July 1942), commonly known as Flinders Petrie
, was an English Egyptologist
and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology
and preservation of artifacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt in conjunction with his wife, Hilda Petrie
. Some consider his most famous discovery to be that of the Merneptah Stele
, an opinion with which Petrie himself concurred.
Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings. Read more...
is a method of studying past societies through their material culture
by closely examining the social construction of gender
identities and relations. Gender archaeology itself is based on the ideas that even though nearly all individuals are naturally born to a biological sex
(usually either male or female, although also [[intersex].
Gender archaeologists examine the relative positions in society
of men, women, and children through identifying and studying the differences in power and authority they held, as they are manifested in material (and skeletal) remains. These differences can survive in the physical record although they are not always immediately apparent and are often open to interpretation. The relationship between the genders can also inform relationships between other social groups such as families, different classes, ages and religions. Read more...
, also known as archaeometry
, consists of the application of scientific techniques
to the analysis of archaeological materials, to assist in dating the materials. It is related to methodologies
of archaeology. Martinón-Torres and Killick distinguish ‘scientific archaeology’ (as an epistemology) from ‘archaeological science’ (the application of specific techniques to archaeological materials). Martinón-Torres and Killick claim that ‘archaeological science’ has promoted the development of high-level theory in archaeology. However, Smith rejects both concepts of archaeological science because neither emphasize falsification or a search for causality.
In the United Kingdom, the Natural and Environmental Research Council
provides funding for archaeometry separate from the funding provided for archaeology. However, in almost all cases of archeometric research, scientists from the natural sciences
assist in the scientific analysis of archeological artifacts. Universities that offer courses in archeometry offer these courses frequently as free choice for archeology
students and these courses contain mainly a nonscientific overview over the possibilities that different scientific analyses offer to them. Read more...
Experimental tree felling with reconstructed adzes
of the Linear Pottery culture
for the analysis of stress marks on the adze blades and ghost lines on the tree stump and the timber in comparison with marks on archaeological finds
(also called experiment archaeology
and experiential archaeology
) is a field of study which attempts to generate and test archaeological hypotheses, usually by replicating or approximating the feasibility of ancient cultures performing various tasks or feats. It employs a number of methods, techniques, analyses, and approaches, based upon archaeological source material such as ancient structures
It is distinct from uses of primitive technology without any concern for archaeological or historical study. Living history
and historical reenactment
, which are generally undertaken as a hobby, are the non archaeological person's version of this academic discipline. Read more...
—also known as alternative archaeology
, fringe archaeology
, fantastic archaeology
, or cult archaeology
—refers to interpretations of the past from outside of the archaeological
science community, which reject the accepted datagathering and analytical methods of the discipline. These pseudoscientific
interpretations involve the use of artifacts, sites or materials to construct scientifically insubstantial theories to supplement the pseudoarchaeologists' claims. Methods include exaggeration of evidence, dramatic or romanticized conclusions, and fabrication of evidence.
There is not one singular pseudoarchaeological theory, but many different interpretations of the past that are at odds from those developed by persons who know and understand the data. Some of these revolve around the idea that prehistoric and ancient human societies were aided in their development by intelligent extraterrestrial life
, an idea propagated by those such as Swiss author Erich von Däniken
in books such as Chariots of the Gods?
(1968) and Italian author Peter Kolosimo
. Others instead hold that there were human societies in the ancient period that were significantly technologically advanced, such as Atlantis
, and this idea has been propagated by figures like Graham Hancock
in his Fingerprints of the Gods
(1995). Read more...
is a sub-field of archaeology
and is the science of reconstructing the relationships between past societies and the environments they lived in. The field represents an archaeological-palaeoecological approach to studying the palaeoenvironment through the methods of human palaeoecology. Reconstructing past environments and past peoples' relationships and interactions with the landscapes they inhabited provides archaeologists with insights into the origin and evolution of anthropogenic environments, and prehistoric adaptations and economic practices.
Environmental archaeology is commonly divided into three sub-fields: Read more...
(from Latin calcei
" and -λογία
") is the study of footwear
, especially historical
footwear whether as archaeology
, shoe fashion history
, or otherwise. It is not yet formally recognized as a field of research. Calceology comprises the examination, registration, research and conservation of leather shoe
fragments. A wider definition includes the general study of the ancient footwear, its social and cultural history, technical aspects of pre-industrial shoemaking
and associated leather trades, as well as reconstruction of archaeological footwear. Read more...