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Archeology

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Archeology

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
Archaeology is defined as the systematic study of past human life, society and culture by the recovery and analysis of material evidence left behind. This material evidence includes artifacts--tools, pottery, bones--and structures such as graves or architectural structures. Archaeology is of utmost importance in the investigation of prehistoric cultures, but is also commonly used to research societies in which there was minimal writing. In fact, Archaeologists have made some exciting discoveries over the years in ancient languages, including hieroglyphics and cuneiform.

Archaeology itself is a rather old science--Ciriaco de'Pizzicolli wrote a six-volume work called Commentaria chronicling his archaeological discoveries in the 1400's, and is known as the father of Archaeology. Around the same time Flavio Biondo, also credited with being a founding father of archaeology, created and documented a guide to the ruins of Ancient Rome.

The only way to get field work as an archaeologist is to obtain a B.A. or B.S. degree in archaeology or anthropology, and most students in the field obtain a Master's degree or Ph.D. as well. But don't despair--you can get field work as an amateur archaeologist as a volunteer through museums and schools. For the dedicated hobbyist, learning about and helping to unearth ancient civilizations can be very rewarding. Doing it alone, however--without professional supervision--can be dangerous and illegal.

The archaeological expedition includes first surveying a site, then excavation artifacts (without destroying the site) and then an extensive process of analysis of the artifacts. A good way to get started as an amateur archaeologist is to join a local club or attend seminars. Some clubs sponsor tours of archaeological sites of interest. Volunteering on a dig is hard physical work often conducted in hot, arid conditions. It's recommended only for those in good physical condition, because the hours may be long and labor-intensive. It can be exciting, however, to work alongside professionals while uncovering ancient shards of pottery. Some organizations offer "archaeological vacations," which are more short-term than other volunteer opportunities. They range in expense, and some are quite affordable. Archaeological vacations are a great way to meet other enthusiasts and to see a foreign country.

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