What is archaeology? You’d think that the answer was obvious answer thanks to the countless Hollywood movies and video game franchises.
But the term, “what is archaeology” is a search term entered into google each month by thousands of unsure individuals… possibly even by you?
Firstly, archaeology is not the study of dinosaurs, fossils or anything you might have seen in a Jurassic Park movie. Dinosaurs and fossils-alike are studied by Palaeontologists and not to be confused.
An Archaeologist on the other hand studies the historical record of human activity through an analysis of material culture. Whether that being through surveying, excavation, recording, data analysis or using other scientific methods to document the past.
Where we place archaeology as a field of study is still yet to be determined. Institutions have classed the discipline as a social science, a humanities study, arts or general science. Archaeology is so broad in the area of study that its all of these and more.
Archaeology is also closely associated to anthropology, in the US its considered a sub-field of the latter, but here in Europe we recognise archaeology as its own discipline.
Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, and numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation.