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9 Questions

What is the primary focus of archaeology?

What is the purpose of archaeology?

What is the difference between historical archaeology and ethnoarchaeology?

What is experimental archaeology?

What is cultural resources management (CRM)?

What is pseudoarchaeology?

What is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)?

What is the Society of Black Archaeologists?

What is the impact of climate change on archaeological sites?


Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture, consisting of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and cultural landscapes. It is both a social science and a branch of the humanities, and it is usually considered an independent academic discipline but may also be classified as part of anthropology, history, or geography. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools up until recent decades. Archaeology is particularly important for learning about prehistoric societies, for which there are no written records. The archaeological discipline involves surveying, excavation, and eventually analysis of data collected, to learn more about the past. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, and has since become a discipline practiced around the world. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy, which borrowed the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars. The purpose of archaeology is to learn more about past societies and the development of the human race. Archaeology also sheds light on many of humanity's technological advances, for instance, the ability to use fire, the development of stone tools, the discovery of metallurgy, the beginnings of religion, and the creation of agriculture. Archaeology provides the only means to learn of the existence and behaviors of people of the past, and without it, little or nothing would be known about the use of material culture by humanity that pre-dates writing.Archaeology: Methods, Theory, and Academic Sub-Disciplines

  • Writing as we know it did not exist in human civilization until the 4th millennium BCE.

  • Homo sapiens have existed for at least 200,000 years, and other species of Homo for millions of years.

  • Archaeology is the only way to learn about early human civilization that was not officially recorded.

  • Archaeological remains have scientific, political, cultural, monetary, and aesthetic significance.

  • Archaeological theory borrows from a wide range of influences, including neo-evolutionary thought, phenomenology, postmodernism, agency theory, cognitive science, gender-based and feminist archaeology, and systems theory.

  • Archaeological investigation consists of several phases, including survey, excavation, and analysis.

  • Remote sensing includes passive and active instruments to detect natural energy or emit energy and record what is reflected.

  • Field survey aims to locate previously unknown sites in a region or within a site.

  • Excavation is the most expensive phase of archaeological research and carries ethical concerns.

  • Post-excavation analysis involves the study of artifacts and structures collected from surface surveys or excavations.

  • Computational and virtual archaeology use computer graphics to build virtual 3D models of sites.

  • Drones are used by archaeologists worldwide to speed up survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders, and miners.Overview of Archaeology: Types, Techniques, and Controversies

  • Archaeology involves the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture.

  • Historical archaeology focuses on cultures with some form of writing and deals with objects and issues from the past.

  • Ethnoarchaeology is the ethnographic study of living people designed to aid in the interpretation of the archaeological record.

  • Experimental archaeology involves the application of the experimental method to develop more highly controlled observations of processes that create and impact the archaeological record.

  • Archaeometry aims to systematize archaeological measurement and emphasizes the application of analytical techniques from physics, chemistry, and engineering.

  • Cultural resources management (CRM) is a subsidiary activity within archaeology that involves the identification, preservation, and maintenance of cultural sites on public and private lands.

  • Protection of archaeological finds is being implemented internationally through international agreements and organizations that monitor or enforce protection.

  • Public archaeology involves outreach campaigns to educate and inform the public about archaeology and the importance of archaeological heritage.

  • Pseudoarchaeology is an umbrella term for all activities that falsely claim to be archaeological but in fact violate commonly accepted and scientific archaeological practices.

  • Looting of archaeological sites is an ancient problem that stimulates interest in ancient objects, and people in search of artifacts or treasure cause damage to archaeological sites.

  • Archaeologists rely on public support and increasingly realize that their work can benefit non-academic audiences.

  • Community archaeology projects are becoming more common, and archaeologists prize local knowledge and often liaise with local historical and archaeological societies.

  • Cultural resources management has been criticized for being conducted by private companies that bid for projects by submitting proposals outlining the work to be done and an expected budget.Challenges and Controversies in Archaeology

  • Looting of archaeological sites by metal detector hobbyists is a challenge to the preservation of historical archaeology sites.

  • American archaeologists and Native Americans have different views of the past and cultural values, and this has created conflict over the excavation of sites.

  • The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was introduced to limit the right of research institutions to possess human remains and to reach a compromise.

  • Australian archaeologists have explored the issue of natural features such as lakes and mountains that have cultural significance to native peoples.

  • Repatriation of native artifacts to the original descendants is a new trend in the controversy between First Nations groups and scientists.

  • The history of African diaspora archaeology is one of controversies over Whiteness in archaeology and anthropology, a lack of inclusion of the African descendant community, and possession of human remains in the collections of universities and museums.

  • The Society of Black Archaeologists was created to build a restorative justice-based structure in archaeology and to welcome input from African Americans.

  • The United States Senate passed a bill in December 2020 to protect historic African burial grounds.

  • Barbados announced plans for the construction of the Newton Enslaved Burial Ground Memorial and a museum dedicated to the history of the Atlantic slave trade.

  • Climate change affects archaeological sites, and the archaeologist's knowledge and skills are relevant to supporting society in adapting to a changing climate and a low carbon future.

  • Archaeological sites can be seen as habitats that support ecosystems and fulfil biodiversity goals.

  • Archaeologists have a responsibility to work with local communities to preserve and protect cultural heritage sites.


Are you fascinated by the study of human activity through material culture? Do you want to learn more about the various types, techniques, and controversies in archaeology? Then this quiz is for you! Test your knowledge of archaeology's methods, theory, academic sub-disciplines, challenges, and controversies. From the development of stratigraphy to the use of drones in the field, this quiz covers a wide range of topics in archaeology. Learn about the different types of archaeology, including historical and

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