An introduction to the history of archaeology
People were now being hired to go out and collect artifacts to make a nation's collection more grand and to show how far a nation's reach extends. These civilizations are, not coincidentally, the best-known; they are open to the inquiry of historians for centuries, while the study of pre-historic cultures has arisen only recently. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist , Augustus Pitt Rivers. In contrast, Homo sapiens has existed for at least , years, and other species of Homo for millions of years see Human evolution. Without archaeology, we would know little or nothing about the use of material culture by humanity that pre-dates writing. The interests and world-view of elites are often quite different from the lives and interests of the populace.
However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the importance of concepts such as stratification and context were overlooked.
The latter's site reports and descriptions were published by Hoare in a book entitled Ancient Historie of Wiltshire ina copy of which is kept at Stourhead.
Britain's large colonial empire provided a great opportunity for such 'amateurs' to unearth and study the antiquities of many other cultures.
For instance, the official, historian, poet, and essayist Ouyang Xiu — compiled an analytical catalogue of ancient rubbings on stone and bronze.
However, the methodology was still poor, and the digging was aimed at the discovery of artefacts and monuments.
Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites.
Shift to nationalism[ edit ] In the late 18th to 19th century archaeology became a national endeavor as personal cabinets of curios turned into national museums. The OED first cites "archaeologist" from ; this soon took over as the usual term for one major branch of antiquarian activity.
Although this was done in a manner that would be considered inappropriate today, it helped raise the profile of archaeology considerably. These individuals were frequently clergymen : many vicars recorded local landmarks within their parishes, details of the landscape and ancient monuments such as standing stones —even if they did not always understand the significance of what they were seeing.
Excavated in Rome in This style of arrangement, designed to highlight the evolutionary trends in human artifacts, was of enormous significance for the accurate dating of the objects.
Historical archaeology pdf
These scholars individuated nine different cities that had overlapped with one another, from prehistory to the Hellenistic period. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. Mortimer Wheeler pioneered systematic excavation in the early 20th century. The idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith , James Hutton and Charles Lyell. He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. Further adaptation and innovation in archaeology continued in this period, when maritime archaeology and urban archaeology became more prevalent and rescue archaeology was developed as a result of increasing commercial development. These scholars distinguished nine successive cities, from prehistory to the Hellenistic period. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture, costume, and shield-shapes. He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. His painstaking recording and study of artefacts, both in Egypt and later in Palestine , laid down many of the ideas behind modern archaeological recording; he remarked that "I believe the true line of research lies in the noting and comparison of the smallest details. He was also responsible for mentoring and training a whole generation of Egyptologists, including Howard Carter , who went on to achieve fame with the discovery of the tomb of 14th-century BCE pharaoh Tutankhamun.
Hence, written records cannot be trusted as a sole source. 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 come from archaeology.
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