Fundamental Principles of Archaeology
Archaeology relates past material things present in the environment to human behaviour. It may involve the digging of materials from specific sites though the main emphasis is placed on understanding the link between the material collected and the shifting human existence in terms of social, mental and physical conditions of the past and present. Archaeology involves the excavation of materials using specific methods and practices. The choice of technique depends on the site of material being excavated. Archaeology is concerned with the colonial environments and the complex processes involved in the excavation process. Archaeological evidence may change the existing facts on materials after the introduction of new evidence. This means that archaeology changes over time. Most materials excavated from archaeological sites have a direct link or relation with human beings. Essentially, most archaeologists research on materials that are linked to human beings. Archaeological materials are directly linked to social and cultural practices of human beings. The tie is inseparable since a deep connection exists between materials human beings and excavated materials. The extraction of archaeological material is guided by specific ethical practices that are followed to the latter.
Definition of Archaeology and its Importance
Archaeology is a subdivision of anthropology that studies former societies based on remains of both material culture and literature culture including all written records that have survived through time. Other scholars have defined archaeology as the study of material human remains through studying ancient events.
Archaeology plays several important roles in today’s societies. The main aim of archaeology is to learn about past human societies and relate some of the practices to the existing human culture. Archaeology explains the differences observed in human behaviours over time. It may explain the differences noted in different societies since excavated materials differ depending on the human societies. For example, classical societies such as the Greece and Romans can be readily compared to other societies across the world since they serve as a reference point. Archaeology also serves to explain the rise and fall of different civilisations and the specific time that the mentioned events happened.
Caracol and the Giza Plateau are an example of two archaeological sites located in Maya and Egypt respectively. Caracol was discovered by a native of Maya named Rosa Mai. The site was discovered in 1937. The site was discovered while Rosa Mai was searching for mahogany trees. The site was reported to the British Honduras commissioners who are currently located in Belize. A year later another commissioner known as A. H. Anderson gave the site the name Caracol. Several monuments were noted and grouped into different classes depending on their location. Close to 40 monuments have been discovered today. Caracol extraction began in solely between 1950 to 1953 after its discovery and documentation in 1937. The primary focus during this period was discovering and documenting the different monuments. Later on, altars and stelae were removed from the site. Further studies were conducted in the core area revealing different architectural groups, extensive terrace systems and population densities around the area. LIDAR has commonly been applied in Caracol in identifying the surrounding sites since the archaeological site is above the ground.
Giza, one of the wonders of the world, has been in existence for more than 4500 years. The culture of the Egyptian people has been linked together with this archaeological site. The remains present in the archaeological studies are being studied with stratigraphy being the most common method of excavation currently being utilised. Egyptologist Mark Lehner has been on the forefront studying the archaeological site. Geographical Information systems have been used time and again to study the features of the Giza pyramid. The information contained in GIS is used to draw maps of artefacts, burial sites and other natural sites before magnetic and survey methods are used to determine the presence of archaeological materials.
Public Archaeology and its Importance
Public archaeology involves the acceptance of all members of the society including governments that they have an imperative role in guarding some of the natural heritages that are found in different archaeological sites. It even goes further to cover protection of heritages across international dimensions. Public archaeology is important since it ensures that most natural heritages present in different locations are protected. The most effective way of ensuring that all archaeological sites are protected is through the formulation of policies rules or guidelines that guide certain archaeological practices. Also, public archaeology ensures aspects of ethical archaeology are observed during all excavation exercises present in archaeology. Public archaeology provides the methodology that will be used by different parties during all their excavation practices. In some areas, this are known as preservation laws that guide the conduct the processes to be used in the excavation process.
Public archaeology plays an important role in preventing destruction and looting of archaeological material in different sites. Once all members of the society including national governments accept or have agreed on the type of policies to guide the excavation practices, then less destruction of most archaeological sites will take place. Also, if a set of the methodology is put in place, then all the archaeological techniques in place will not over utilise the areas under investigation in the process destroying some of the archaeological features. Also, archaeological sites could be preserved and protected by the government so that there is restricted access to all individuals entering the sites.
The ancient city of Palmyra was ruined by the fighting witnessed in Iraq and Syria. Most archaeological materials that were preserved in the ancient city have been destroyed to the ground. The militants have destroyed the temple, and all materials have been looted. Another similar case happened in Serbia where the Orthodox monasteries were completely obliterated during the Second World War. The destruction was led by the Croatian forced fighting during the Yugoslav war. The two incidences noted above present occasions when the war has destroyed some of the most important archaeological presents in different countries. Wars can be said to have played a major role in the destruction of various archaeological sites.
The above two destroyed cities could have been protected if the government had established security measures that restrict access to archaeological sites. In most cases, the government provides less security to most archaeological features since they are never considered as one of the areas that require adequate protection. If the government had placed more security measures on the above sites, then the archaeological sites could have been protected. Additionally, the government could have opted to take all of the archived materials to a safer location to prevent looting of properties. Protocols should be established where important archaeological materials are collected from different archaeological sites that are insecure to a centralised location that is adequately protected. This way it becomes more possible for all archaeological materials to be protected and preserved in their required form. The government and other members of society should play a vital role in ensuring that all archaeological materials that show the history of mankind is preserved in the right way.