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Archaeology is the study of past human activity, by reconstructing environmental settings and cultural systems, typically from their physical remains (masonry, pottery, coins, engravings, etc). Archaeology often interacts with history to provide a broad view of the human experience.

In recent years, the discipline of archaeology has been much extended; the view that it only examines cultural remains or digs up bones is a caricature. Archaeologists also ask the question: How do we know what we know? What constructs are implicit in this set of knowledge? Some schools of archaeology (e.g. processualism) tend to describe the underlying systems, trying to find common ground between cultures; other schools (post-processualism) either believe this impossible or fraught with difficulty, and so examine archaeology in a certain cultural context.

Archaeology has been a cultural and political battlefield. Many groups have tried to use archaeology to prove some current cultural point. Marxist archaeologists in the USSR often tried to prove the truth of [historical dialecticalism]?. Many cultural groups try to use archaeology to prove their ancient ownership of an area of land. Many schools of archaeology have been patriarchal, assuming that in prehistory men produced most of the food by hunting, and women produced little nutrition by gathering; more recent studies have roundly demolished these theories. Some used The Great Ages theory to argue continuous upwards progress by Western civilization.

Archaeology subdisciplines:

Schools of Theoretical Archaeology:

Regions within Archaeology:

A brief history of archaeology and archaeological discoveries:

Famous archaeological discoveries (listed):

Famous archaeologists:


Techniques used in archaeology:

What are our priorities for writing in this area? To help develop a list of the most basic topics in Archaeology, please see Archaeology basic topics.


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Last edited December 10, 2001 8:37 pm by 24.190.154.xxx (diff)