What is Archaeology and Why Does it Help Us?

When most people think of archaeology, they picture massive fossils and ancient temples, turning archaeologists into dinosaur hunters who examine the ancient world for the clues they hold. However, the ancient world isn’t just restricted to the past.

While some archaeologists do make a study of the distant past, some choose to study the buildings and remains of the world from just a few years ago, examining the early 20th century and the buildings and people in it.

By examining the culture and people within the world long after they are dead, archeologists can help us modern humans understand how our ancestors lived. Everything from the diet, clothing, skills, and materials of the ancient people can be discovered with enough time and luck.

Sometimes these features can change based on events, weather changes, and even the changes of time as people moved due to a number of factors.

Understanding everything

Most of the history that we can find relies on pictures or written words, but with archeology, people don’t need written words to tell a story. They can understand just as much from a pile of bones and rubble, and can often shed insight on things that happened when written words weren’t an option in history.

Because of archeology, whole aspects of cultures that were never written down are now known about and people who would have otherwise disappeared were given a voice, and that’s what makes the job so special.

Types of archaeology

Prehistoric: This type takes on the cultures and people who didn’t have written records or language, using examinations of their bones and other artifacts to piece together their story.

Historical: Then comes historical archaeology, which has several different fields and focuses on the past such as Greece and Rome, to various other eras that were recorded by the inhabitants of those eras.

Other variants include biblical astronomy which focuses on the events in the Bible and seeks for evidence to prove they existed and underwater archaeology which focuses on shipwrecks and their construction, submerged cities or harbors, and structures both under and along water.

The most popular and recognizable kind of archaeology is Bioarchaeology, which is the study of bones and remains at dig sites to understand as much information as possible about past people. It had been popularized by TV and other media and is what most people think of when they think of archaeology.

Letting us know our history

So many discoveries in the archaeological field have already shed light on what modern humans were like, and how they compare to us present humans today. Without them, we wouldn’t have knowledge about where we came from in the past and how we’ve evolved to the state we are in now.

Every aspect of archeology and every field of study has the potential to give more clues on the past of humankind, and those past discoveries might just influence the future of our species and our culture.

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