Archaeology

Introduction to Archaeological Science



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An Introduction to Archaeological Science
Also Known As Archaeometry

Archaeology, in itself, encompasses almost everything historic and is a contributing discipline of anthropology that studies the growth of our species. In the past century, the need to apply the more traditional ideas of science with the methodologies of archaeology has never been more omnipresent.

There are seven key scientific techniques that make up the application of Archaeological Science:

Dating Technique
Science techniques include, but are not limited to, physical, chemical, biological and geological. Radiocarbon is the most popular and first science technique that was used in relation to archaeology. Radiocarbon is the dating of organic matter.

Bio-archaeology
Archaeology sites yield a tremendous amount of plant and animal matter and science plays a significant role in their study. The consideration of the physiology of plants and animals based on their microscopy and the biochemistry of the preserved tissues is a key element in the application of Archaeological Science.

Materials Science and Artefacts
The modern examination of the form and adornment of pottery, jewellery and stone tools includes the study of the composition of the artefacts. A chemical analysis of an artefact can yield the precise source of where the artefact originated.

Conservation Science
This application explores the actual structure of the archaeological site, preserving the site for future study and for possible museum exhibits. The science of studying the properties of materials located at the site and how they interrelate to their natural surroundings is crucial in the process of Archaeological Science.

Prospecting Methods
Stemming mainly from the oil and mineral industry, prospecting methods utilizing Archaeological Science is increasingly in demand. This discipline of science applies a variety of geophysical and geochemical techniques combined with aerial photography.

Geoarchaeology
The study of soil, decay, erosion and sediments is the backbone of Geoarchaeology and is a vital part of any archaeological site. The application of geology and soil science can reveal the history of the site.

Statistics and Computing
The first utilization of techniques used in statistics and computing was for the measurement of Egyptian skulls. The title of this scientific technique literally speaks for itself. It is the application of compiling data, statistics and any pertinent information into a database.

Excellent resources that I have used include:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeological_science
www.weizmann.ac.il/Kimmel-arch/home.html
www.torc.org.uk/factsheet3.asp

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