By definition, archaeology is the study past human activity, primarily through the examination of environmental and material data, including artifacts. Now, that said, what is an artifact? Well, that is defined as something made or given shape by man. So, in other words, archaeologists can extract information regarding how humans lived in the past by studying objects that run the gamut.
A glass bottle? Sure. Maybe men drank beer from bottles that featured a shorter neck than they do now. Is there a reason behind this? That’s for archaeologists to deduce. Or perhaps diggers excavate items that resemble construction work signs or ancient traffic signs.
Did ancient civilizations have a need for traffic signs? Well, not in the literal sense in regards to cars, but who’s to say a drawing of a stampede of 1,000 mammoths on the face of a mountain didn’t imply a similar meaning?
Items uncovered by archaeologists don’t have to meet a specific height or weight requirement. Nor do they have to hold any specific meaning, as it relates to our modern culture. Archaeology is all about discovering the manner in which our ancestors lived, and any object that helps further unlock that mystery is considered a great find.
Archeology is defined as the scientific study of past human’s activity, including their culture and behavior. Materials used to study humans’ past culture and behaviors include artifacts, bio-facts, architecture and cultural landscapes. Culture entails what a group of people have learnt to share in the course of time, like religion, language, values and technology.
An archeological site refers to a place where human activity occurred in the past and from which one can get the artifacts. Archeological sites are of two types; Prehistoric sites which are those sites that occurred before people could learn how to write while Historic sites were created by communities with written records. 99% of human history is from the prehistoric times. Examples of archeological sites include Hadar in Ethiopia, Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania and East Turkana in Kenya.
Archeology generally involves survey of a potential archeological site, excavation, and analysis of data. It also incorporates anthropology, ethnology, geology, linguistics, history, paleozoology, paleoethnobotany among many other disciplines. The goal is to learn as much as possible about development of humans as well as past societies. For instance, the origin of humans is studied from then fossil remains of what is believed to be of human ancestors dating back to 3.5-4.5 million years ago when man could not walk in an upright position and was using simple tools.
Due to the extent of what is covered, it has been possible to construct human development history in time from the time they spread from Africa into Asia and finally into Europe. Archeology also traces back when humans began to practice agriculture; domestication of animals and planting and harvesting of plants. The emergence of ancient civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt has also been traced back. Similarly, it’s possible to know when some cultural practices began. For instance, burial ceremonies date back to 40,000 years ago when people started burying the dead ones in graves. It’s also during this time that the belief in afterlife started.
Recent historical periods are also covered by archeology. For instance, how the earliest settlers found their way around the world from Europe and how they infiltrated the existing societies in places they wished to conquer in order to colonize them, slave trade in Africa to its utilization in plantations in the United States and the growth of major cities around the world. It’s an on-going practice and future archeologists will move into new realms of study.
Methods used in archeology range from those used in surveying a particular area for any evidence of artifacts. Preciously, techniques used were very laborious and time-consuming. Much emphasis is now given to aerial surveys using satellites or photographic materials mounted on airplanes. These have made it easier to pin-point areas of interest. Recently, advanced technology like Geographic Information System (GIS) has been used in mapping sites. Ground penetrating radar or magnetic-field recording has also been used to locate remains beneath the surface of the earth. Excavation may follow as most of the artifacts have been buried in the ground with time. Once the artifacts are excavated, data analysis is done and eventually classification. This is the most time-consuming part of the discipline.
Thanks to archeology, humans have been able to reconstruct their historical life from the ancient man to the modern man of today. Studies are still on-going using advanced techniques to fill in any gaps in history and shed more light on given aspects of the human race.
Forbidden archeology, a book by Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson has attracted a lot of controversy and attention globally. The book’s anti-Darwinian theory has really attracted negative comments from so many sources. Many of these reviews misrepresent the contents of the book while some of the reviews have recognized the scholarly contribution of the book. This post looks at some of the reviews that have been posted in academic journals.
Journal of Field Archaeology (1994)
This journal acknowledges the challenge that the authors have given to the dominating views on human origin. They admit that the volume has given evidence about their eBook from archaeological records. The evidence given in this book is what has been accepted by the masses and also controversial records that have also been recorded.
British journal for the History of Science (1995)
As recorded in this journal in 1992, Tim Murray posted that he is sure that there will be a lot of people that will benefit from the substance in the book. He acknowledged the useful case studies that have been included in the book to boost scientific knowledge in the field. He went on to say that his information will boost the debate in the field of archaeology.
Social Studies of Science Journal (1996)
Jo Wodak and David Oldroyd go ahead to give reasons as to why Forbidden Archaeology has made significant contribution to the field of Science. They go ahead to say that the authors of the book had a chance to bring out the details which had not been brought to the fore before, and also that the two authors bring out the lack of proper evidence in claims of truth in scientific claims.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology (1994)
Jonathan Marks comes out candidly in this journal to support the authors in their quest to bring out the nature of the human race as a great antiquity and that the book brings out the fact that in the ancient times, human beings and their ape-like counterparts coexisted for many years. He talks about the various generalizations that have been made in the field of archaeology and what the book brings out by looking at the hoaxes, exceptions, paradoxes and mistakes that have not been explored before.
Ethology, Ecology, and Evolution (1994)
This journal talks of the fact that the book brings out the view that Homo sapiens existed millions of years ago. The journal lauds the book for bringing out the facts that have been suppressed or ignored by many scientists because the views contradict what many people in the world have been made to believe. The authors of this book have come out to prove the theory of human evolution using evidence that has been left out in many studies.
Creation/Evolution Journal (1994)
Wade Tarzia, in this journal, has argued that humans who are anatomically similar to the modern man existed millions of years ago. He goes ahead to give support to the substance in the book by saying that conventional archaeologists have filtered information and left out so much that they don’t want to avail to people. The evidence ignored has been there for millions of years and this information has been collected by these authors to make it available for the masses.
The aura surrounding the birth and propagation of most religions has been one of mythological nature. Careful assemble of historical facts that emerged during archaelogical digs and cross-examined with literary sources provide any presupposition with the necessary validation. Archaeological findings are the tool by which history and historicity both get a leverage into truth. The Bible and the life of Jesus that evoked the rise of such massive following making it the largest religious community in the world , has gained immensely from biblical archaeology. The conclusions that are drawn from the findings include,material and architectural evidence that ratify the references in the Bible and the sequence of events in the life of Jesus.
Biblical archaelogy is a field of dynamic studies wherein some finding may return from the dust to challenge the previous and thus the ongoing process makes it a dynamic field of study. From findings spread over the entire eastern Mediterranean, Israel , Jordan, Syria, Lebanon,Iran , Iraq, Turkey and Egypt makes it a vast region of study and collection of evidence. Many findings have unlocked critical information unlocking the events of the past.The festering doubt about the accuracy of biblical happenings have led to an immense surge to purge all contradictions that abound not only in scholastic writings but also otherwise.
Biblical Archaeology Sources
Scientific evidence gathering involves corroboration of evidence from excavations that have put together facts from literature, architecture, multi-lingual and multi-religious sources, art, pottery, clothing, weaponry, coins, weights and measures, inscriptions and any other material traces.
The Scope Of Biblical Excavations
The area of study can be dauntingly vast. It may be clinically divided into the ‘Old Testament Region’ of study called in the ancient times as the ‘fertile crescent ‘ that is mainly the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and the other area is the ‘New Testament Region’ that is when the story moves westwards from Palestine and Jerusalem to Rome.
Validity And Biblical Archaeology Landmarks
The first ever rather conclusive and awe inspiring discovery that put biblical archaeology in the forefront was the finding of the Rosetta Stone by Napoleon . It drew huge amount of curiosity not only about the script but also about the secrets it was capable of unlocking .The Dead Sea Scrolls found in eleven of the caves close to the Dead Sea indicated the existence of the Jewish manuscripts in profusion and went on to push the historical validation by almost a thousand years to the times when the Old Testament was written. It throws light on the manner in which Christianity developed in Israel and the making of Rabbinic Judaism after the revolt of the Jews against the Romans.
Further the discovery of the ‘House of David ‘discovered at the foot of Mount Hermon in North Israel has brought immense interest back to the people we meet in the Bible. 20,00 Cuneiform clay tablets called as the Nuzi Tablets conform many of the social and political structures mentioned in the book of Genesis.The biblical cities attested archeologically include,Dan , Haran , Hazor, Meggido, Shechem, Beth shean, Bethn shemsh, Lachish and Samaria.
The work of biblical historians such as RD Wilson who has studied and corroborated evidence from histories of different cultures, proves the existence of twenty five kings mentioned in the Bible. Sceptics like the famous archaeologist Sir Willaim Ramsy went from one dig to another trying to refute every biblical theory, only to arrive at newer sources to confirm their existence.He focused his attention to Luke’s account in the Bible . He cross- checked every geographical and historical detail in his digs all across Asia Minor. So overwhelmed was he by the truth of the findings that he not only converted to Christianity but called Luke the master historian of his times.
The debate over the minimalist who question every fragment of biblical history and the believers has driven scientific archaelology to greater heights of accurate findings and recordings. As was recently quoted in a session at a symposium of history that the Bible and the believers do not have to fear the spade because its not gospel truth to believe every word utterd by the nihilists, whose arguments are getting left by the wayside of newer findings to prove the truth of the Bible
One way to surprise people is to tell them that you are going to for an archeology vacations. The concept sounds strange because of the stereotypical association of the work vacations with resorts and cultural expeditions. After clearing the air, on the need and fun of going for such a vacation, here are some of the top destinations to consider.
Mayan Civilization Sites
Mexico City hosts an archeological museum that displays the lives and cultures of the original inhabitants of the area. It includes regular reenactment of the historical rituals of the people. The museum is very large and takes an adult a couple of hours to go through all its features. Also included in it is the Maya exhibition, known worldwide for its details representation of the Mayan civilization.
While in Mexico, about eighty miles from Cancun lies Talum, a secluded place that is an archeology marvel. It is close to Mayan ruins and provides many ancient civilization features to explore.
Shark Teeth Finds
Beach holidays can be more than just sun and sand. A day at the beach can also serve as archeology vacations for learning about what happened thousands of years ago. Finding fossil shark teeth is an adventure in itself. The teeth sink to bottom of ocean after sharks loose them. After very many years, as the sea waters move back, exposure of the teeth happens and findings can then determine the number of years since their fall from a shark. Venice remains the cultural capital of the world but another gem about it is the availability of shark teeth on its shores. Those taking archeological vacations can go to its beaches early in the morning or just after a sea storm and collect dark sand and crushed shells. From the loot, people find dark brown, tan and gray triangular-shaped shark teeth that could go back millions of years.
Stone Age Excavation Site
For a hands-on archeological vacation that involves actual exploration, it is good to go to existing sites of excavation. The Council of British Archeology offers contact details of places that one can take archeology vacations. One of them is the Iain Crawford site found at Udal in Hebrides, Scotland. The site is accessible by ferry and has characteristic asphalt roads, treeless hills, and rolling dune grasslands called machair.
On arrival to the site, visitors get tour guides who provide a historical background of the area and answer questions from the visitors. The real fun begins when you get to an actual archeological dig and learn to trowel. The work has to remain neat and follow sills of colored sand in the soil. Visitors learn how to avoid trampling the finds of the excavation area and this experience connects them to the Stone Age times and its people.
Early Man Excavation Sites
The Rift Valley in Africa has many archeological sites that trace the life of early man on his way to Europe. From the Kruger National Park in South Africa, up to Lake Victoria in Kenya at the Homa Peninsula tourists can find various excavation sites. For example, the Oldowan stone tools were the earliest form of human stone tool industry known. The 3700 fossils and 2900 artifacts at the Olduvai Gorge in Kenya, east of Lake Victoria form the biggest known collection of Oldowan artifacts. Excavation continues today and it is possible to take archeological vacation in the area to understand the origin of man.
Archeology is simply the study of the human past by the analysis of material culture. It is the study of the prehistoric way of life. This is by taking into account things found concerning the people who lived then. The artifacts, architectural designs, bio facts and cultural landscapes go a long way to help archelologists in their analysis of the archeology finds. Many finds have given a good picture of how the past was like. The finds are still being made to this day. This is a journey into the past to discover how humans evolved and what led them to.
There are thousands of archaeology finds that have been made and dug up. The History of the Mayans has been a major buzz due to their association with futuristic science. It is said that they were way beyond their time. Their obsession with astrology was immense. Egyptology took a whole dimension of its own with the study of the Egyptian prehistoric way of life. The discovery of the Sphinx and the pyramids were revolutionary in the field of archaeology finds. The recent past has seen the discovery of more artifacts.
Funding these projects is not easy, and so is finding the money. The guarantee for the digs to pay off is a gamble. This has led to the use of more sophisticated methods to find the artifacts. Remote sensing, satellite imaging, field survey and research has gone a long way to ensure the right place is excavated.
Top Archeology Finds
A rather striking viking boat burial was discovered in the West coast of Scotland. This was found in Ardnamurchan with a viking dated dead over 1000 years ago. This was the first burial recorded on land. He was found in a six foot grave with his sword, axe and other viking paraphernalia The finding of a settlement in the South of Jordan at the Wardi Faynan site changed the aspect of the prehistoric man. This was dated back to over 11000 years ago. The settlement was a pit dug, oval in shape and lined up with some strong muddy substance. The walls had held up this long. The abode was found with mortar and pestle for grinding among other items. It was proof of organized agriculture in the time.A rare Mayan Female ruler was discovered in Guatemala at the Nakum digging site. The tomb was facing East with precious artifacts. The tomb was decorated according to the royal designs that came with the lineage.Remains of the first domesticated dogs were found in Czech republic at Predmosti. The dogs which looked like they had the wolf origin dated over 33000 years ago. This is much further than the previous records and finds that dated 11000 years ago. The discoveries showed the dogs were much bigger and broad snouted. This were definitely not the average dogs.
Archeology finds are shaping the look of our past. Our ancestors had alot to do with the future as it is right now. The finds are not only exciting but an eye opener on how far the human race has come and a good lesson of how far it can go.