What is Archaeology
Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture and the archaeological record does consist of artifact, architecture and cultural landscape, archaeology ca be considered as a social science at the same time it can be considered as a branch of the humanities, this science in Europe is normally viewed as a discipline in its own right or as a sub-field of other disciplines but it is viewed as a sub-field of anthropology in North America.
Archaeologists do study the human’s prehistory and history starting from the development of the first stone tools up until recent decades and this science has various goals which do range from understanding the history of culture to reconstruct the past’s lifeways to document and explain changes that did happen in the human societies through time.
Archaeology did develop out of antiquarianism in Europe during the nineteenth century and since that it has become a discipline practiced across the world, archaeology also has been used by nation-states to do create visions of the past, starting from the early development of archaeology various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed and this did include; maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archeoastronomy, also numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to do aid the archaeological investigation, it is important to announce that that archaeologists today do face many problems and as example for that is dealing with pseudoarcheology, looting of artifacts, lack of public interest and opposition to the excavation of human remains.
Purpose of archaeology is to learn much more about the past societies and to learn about the development of the human race as 99% of the humanity’s development has occurs within the prehistoric cultures and these cultures did not make a use of writing as a result for that there were no written records did exist for study purpose and without the written sources the only way found to understand the prehistoric societies was through archaeology.
As archaeology is the study of the human past’s activity then it does stretch back to almost 2.5 million years ago when human did find the first stone tools. The Oldowan Industry and many developments in human history did occur during prehistory such as the evolution of humanity during the Paleolithic period, archaeology also does shed light on many of humanity’s technological advances such as; ability to use fire, development of stone tools, discovery of metallurgy, beginnings of religion and the creation of agriculture , we do recognize that without archaeology we would know little or would know nothing about the use of material culture by humanity that pre-dates writing.
Historic literature cultures as well can be studied by archaeology and this is through the sub-discipline of historical archaeology, in many literate cultures their surviving are most probably incomplete and biased to some extent and in many societies literacy was restricted to the elite only, the literacy even of aristocrats has been restricted sometimes to deeds and contracts.
Archaeology does provide the only means to learn the existence and to learn the behaviors of human in the past as across many thousand cultures and societies which did come and did go there is only little written records or no written records or even the existing records are misrepresentative or incomplete as writing on its known way today did not exist in the human’s civilization up to the 4th millennium BC, in a relatively small number of technologically advanced civilizations.
Homo sapiens has been existed for at least 200,000 years, and other species of Homo for millions of years, these civilizations are open to the inquiry of historians for many centuries while the study of pre-historic cultures has arisen recently, even within a literate civilization many important events and human practices are not recorded, any knowledge of the early years of human civilization , the development of agriculture, cult practices of folk religion , the rise of the first cities must do come from archaeology.
Archaeological does remain to have political or cultural significance to descendants of the people who did produce them or strong aesthetic appeal and many people do identify archaeology with the recovery of such aesthetic, religious, political, or economic treasures rather than with the reconstruction of past societies.