Branches of Archaeology

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Archaeology is a broad and diverse field that covers nearly every aspect of the past and how it relates to the present. It is much more than the stereotypical treasure hunt. Today’s archaeologists specialize in different areas and different scientific methods to pursue their careers and their search for the past, so there are many branches of archaeology to consider.

Archaeometry is a form of archaeology dealing with scientific methods. Today, modern techniques such as radiocarbon dating, and remote-sensing microscopes, have given archaeologists a better and more accurate idea of when and where events transpired and a better means of artifact analysis.

Classical archaeology is one of the most often recognized branches, and certainly the one that gets the most publicity. Since earliest times, ancient Greece, and Rome have been a source of interest for professionals and amateurs alike, since many ancient structures are still at least partially visible.

Ethno archaeology is a study of the past as it relates to present day cultures and societies. In many areas of the world, certain tribes and communities have changed little for over a thousand years, and by studying these present day people, scientists can get a clearer picture as to their past.

Environmental archaeology involves more science than some other branches, however, it is still a form of unearthing the past and therefore, archaeology. Those involved in this field study the earth through throughout its history, examining sediments for pollens, and other environmentally relevant data.

Pseudo archaeology is the controversial branch that is either pseudo or factual depending on the researcher. This branch deals with ancient remains, their origins, and with finding areas and cities that are still questionable such as the lost city of Atlantis.

Underwater archaeology has come into its own in the last few decades as more and more discoveries have been made of sunken cities, temples, and ships. The salvaging of centuries old vessels and their contents by divers who specialize in this field has revealed more and more information on previous cultures and their lifestyles. And the discovery of long missing temples and cities has gone a long way to reinforcing ancient historical records.

Apart from the main branches of archaeology, there are also literally dozens of subdivisions, specializing in specific regions, ethnic groups, or cultures. Those involved in archaeology may also deal solely with one particular aspect of the field, such as data recording, mapping, or recording historical facts. This is a very open scientific field for anyone interested in history or science, and the opportunities are endless.

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