Perhaps what sparked my interest in archeology is because it is the study of past civilizations, therefore being the story of our past. And being an aspiring novelist, stories are the things that I generally live for. The story of our past..
….it’s a complex and unexplored terrain that we must learn from if we ever plan on attending to our future. To able to unearth our own past as humans, as inhabitants of this earth.
….to able to explore it and study and learn from the great rises and falls of our own species. An honor.
To discover the footprints that man left behind, the tiny clues, carefully persevered bodies and secrets that past civilizations buried deep. The greatest story yet. The history of our world. The word archeology derives from the Greek, fittingly translating into ‘the study of what is ancient’. Very few artifacts of past civilizations actually endure the grueling test of time.
Unless properly preserved, artifacts are likely to decay, be destroyed or simply fade as the centuries fly by. This makes an archaeologists mission in piecing together the great mystery of the past even harder. From the tiny clues that they are able to obtain they must attempt to learn more and dig deeper (no pun intended) into the tangle of what is left of the past. But how does an archaeologist proceed to uncovering theses artifacts? What is process that must be undertaken? The archaeologist is first employed by either a museum, university, government or a private company before they are assigned an area. There are many steps an archaeologist must carefully follow in order to conduct a proper and legal archaeological expedition. Area Research Before an archaeologist can begin surveying an area they must first study the site’s history and background.
The archaeologist’s team must learn of the people who’d once lived there and what kind of artifacts they might have left behind to better prepare them for the expedition. Survey An archaeologist’s team survey’s the area for any promising signs of artifacts. Sometimes, an archaeological team may chose to perform an aerial survey by tying cameras to airplanes or balloons (let’s not forget the occasional kite) to get a birds eye view of the area. Other archaeologist’s may chose to conduct a geopyshical survey, which in some cases can be an extremely effective way to see beneath the surface of the ground. Using a magnetometer to detect changes in the Earth’s magnetic field, caused by iron artifacts and stone structures. Others still may chose to simply use a metal detector to sniff out metal artifacts under the surface.
Excavation The site is now carefully uncovered, layer by layer. Archaeologist’s ofter use shovels, hand picks, trowels, small brushes and dental picks to do the job. A essential part of the excavation process is recording. Every step of the expedition must be carefully written down or photographed. Larger finds must be photographed and mapped before being completely uncovered. Once uncovered, artifacts are bagged and labeled.
The label must include the name of the archaeologist who discovered it as well as the site number. Artifact Processing Artifacts are taken to a museum to be cleaned and cataloged. Analysis The archaeologist’s must study the artifacts and then attempt to figure out how they were used and time period they’re from. The archaeologist must decipher as much data from the artifact as possible and then write a concluding report of all the information they were able to obtain from the artifact. Curating The artifacts are then expertly stored safely away by the museum workers so that they are available for future study. The whole process seems thrilling to me.
Being out there digging up the remains of our past and piecing them together for so that we may study them, learn from them so that we can avoid repeating our mistakes. We must do the best the we can for our world in the little time that we will be allowed to occupy it. We must leave behind artifacts for future civilizations so that they might learn from our mistakes. So that we can move on to make a better world but never, never forget our past. Time will keep moving forward, til we are all but ghosts of the past.
Washed away by eternity. But never forgotten.