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What Are The Branches Of Archeology And The Importance Of Archeology

Archeology has numerous subfields, and it is difficult to define what archeology is. The scope of the word archeology is very extensive but generally works within three main branches: prehistoric, historical, and applied.

Prehistoric archeology is the study of human activity before the written record. This could include anything from stone tools to ancient civilizations. Historical archeology is the examination of cultures and societies after the invention of writing. This could encompass studies of ancient Greece or Rome, for example. Finally, applied archeology uses archaeological methods and data in contemporary society, such as in heritage management or conservation.

Archaeologists often specialize in one area or another, but many are proficient in multiple branches. For example, a historian may also have expertise in classical archeology or historical forensic analysis. There are also numerous subfields within these three main branches, so it isn't easy to provide a comprehensive list.

However, some common specialties include:

  • Archaeological Illustrator
  • Forensic Archaeologist
  • Historian of Archeology
  • Prehistoric Archaeologists
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Specialist
  • Conservationist
  • Heritage Management Consultant
  • Underwater archaeologist

The three main branches still apply, but some sub-fields may be known by different names or be more specific. For example, Forensic anthropologists study human remains for law enforcement and criminal cases. They perform autopsies on decomposed bodies under the same circumstances as forensic pathologists do. However, instead of determining medical causes of death, their goal is to produce information about the skeletal profile of the deceased so that they can be identified or ruled out as a potential suspect. Near Eastern archaeologists focus on the archeology of the ancient Near East, which includes Mesopotamia (Iraq), Anatolia (Turkey), and Syria. They may also study other regions adjacent to this area, such as Iran or the Caucasus.

The Significance of Archeological Studies

Archaeological research provides substantive data about the behaviors and beliefs of people in the past. Many different fields benefit from archaeology, such as history, religion, philosophy, biology, etc. For example, anthropologists examine human remains to determine genetic traits and migration patterns during prehistory. Social scientists investigate cultural practices to understand cultural norms better today. Botanists study pollen grains to learn more about what plants were growing at a particular time or place so they can determine possible diets or diets of an area's inhabitants. Historians use archaeological finds to supplement written records.

Types of Archaeological Sites

There are many types of archaeological sites throughout the world that present opportunities for varied kinds of and excavation activities.

These include:

A cave site with human occupation dating back several thousand years.

An ancient city that is now a tourist destination.

An important archaeological museum housing the finds from an excavation carried out decades ago.

A medieval church built on top of a Roman temple.

The main types of archaeological sites are:

  1. Excavation site -- where archaeologists dig to uncover artifacts and other remains from past cultures/civilizations
  2. Artifact Site -- where material goods such as pottery, tools, weapons, etc., have been found
  3. Fossil Sites -- where paleontologists study fossils to learn more about early forms of life
  4. Geological Sites -- where geologists study layers of earth and rock formations to learn more about the history of the planet
  5. A living site -- where anthropologists study contemporary human culture to gain deeper insights into human behavior and beliefs

Archeology is increasingly becoming regarded as a significant tool in the interpretation of contemporary societies. This is because archaeology allows historians to "fill in some of the gaps" in historical records. For example, archaeological evidence can provide information on the economy, social status, food consumption, trade practices, etc., that are not available through written sources alone. However, archaeologists must be careful when interpreting artifacts or features within an archaeological context because they do not have any contextual information that would allow them to decipher why these items were created or used. Therefore, it is best if historians and archaeologists work together to produce a complete historical picture of a society.

Archaeologists can provide significant data about the context for economic and social systems. Still, they have no means of knowing what these items meant to people who used them at a particular time and place. This is why good communication between historians and archaeologists is important if their interpretations of the past are more accurate. Archeology alone cannot answer all questions that may arise from studying human culture, but it is an excellent method for supplementing other methods such as written records. For example, historical records say that Christopher Columbus landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492. However, archaeological excavations within Latin America indicate that people were already living in the Americas when Columbus arrived. This discrepancy can be resolved through a careful examination of all the evidence available instead of relying solely on historical records.

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The field of archeology is constantly growing and changing, and new discoveries are being made all the time. For this reason, it is important for archaeologists to keep up with current research in order to ensure that their interpretations are as accurate as possible. There are many different branches of archaeology, and each one has its own set of theories and methodologies. It is important for archaeologists to be familiar with these different approaches so they can choose the most appropriate one for their particular project.

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