ADVANTAGES AND DISADAVANTAGES ARCHAEOLOGY
Archaeology refers to the scientific study of past human remain. It is the study of material remains of man’s past through scientific methods.
Archaeology is the study of man’s past through scientific analysis of the material remains of his culture.
The one specializes in archeology is called ARCHAEOLOGIST.
Archaeology involves excavations (digging) of the remains of man’s past. The famous archaeologist in East Africa was Dr. Louis Leaky with his wife Mary Leakey. Archaeology involves the use of carbon 14 dating to determine plants and animal remains.
FUNCTIONS OF ARCHAEOLOGY
1. Gives important information about man through different stages.
2. It is a useful method of revealing soil covered historical remains.
3. It arouse curiosity of searching past man historical information.
ADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY
1. It helps people to know when and how people lived in a certain place.
2. Past objects tell us about the life and culture of past people.
3. It helps us to know and reveal the technology, pastoral, agricultural and commercial activities of the past man.
4. Through excavation, we get knowledge of artifacts e.g. Pottery, building etc.
5. It reveals religious beliefs of the past man
6. We can complement other sources of information through archaeology e.g. History
7. We can know the past relationship between different people such as trading activities, migration, marriage, birth, death and political relation.
8. Unlike other sources, it gives detailed information on material culture.
9. It provides a sense of time as artefacts are dated.
10. It provides diversified information, depending on the materials found.
11. It enables the researcher to directly observe the site and to classify the artefacts.
DISADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY
1. It consumes time because of excavation. It is a time-consuming venture since preparation for excavation and transportation of artefacts to laboratories for analysis is long and laborious process.
2. It cannot reveal the past people’s language.
3. It cannot give out the reasons for historical events such as wars.
4. It needs full experts and advanced technology. There are few archaeological experts to interpret data.
5. Poorly interpreted remains can bring false information. Archaeological information could be inaccurate as it is often based on conclusions and reconstructions
6. It cannot tell anything about the past social organization
7. One cannot study present materials or events.
8. It is difficult to trace archaeological sites.
9. Archaeology estimates but does not provide precise dates.
10. Some materials are fragile and could easily break, thereby misleading analysts.
11. It is expensive to excavate and analyse artefacts.
IMPORTANCE OF ARCHAEOLOGY
Here are some reasons why we excavate sites in archaeology:
1. We Learn About the Past
The principal purpose of archaeology is to learn and understand the past. With archaeological excavation, we can get hints at people’s lifestyles and better appreciate their fashion and culture. While archaeology may seem cultural, it also helps with other fields of study.
We can use archaeology to understand how people lived, survived some natural events, and even how they died. We can learn the strength of civilizations as we uncover evidence of what they produced and who could purchase what. Archaeology truly shines a bright light on past events.
2. We Can Preserve Archaeological Finds from Weathering
While archaeology is more concerned about getting past valuable materials, it can also help us properly store our finds from decaying or getting lost. Weathering is a process in which rocks, minerals, and other items fade away due to natural processes such as rainfall and wind.
If a site is not excavated, we cannot collect or properly store these valuable materials. This means that without archaeological excavations, some materials might have been permanently lost and we may not have known that they ever existed. When we find them, we properly store them.
3. We Can Glean Insight into the Future
You do not need to see a tarot card reader or foreseer to predict the future. One of the best ways to shine a light on the future is to learn about the past.
What is the role of archaeology in predicting the future if it focuses on the past? When a site is excavated, archaeologists collect useful materials (and data) that we can use to predict the future.
For example, archaeology can answer the question, “what led to the fall of this civilization?” When archaeologists and historians determine an answer, they recognize similar patterns in modern-day societies and warn against hardships from similar patterns in the fallen civilization.
4. Ability to Prove or Disprove History Books
Closeup of vintage keys and books
There are many historical theories in books and publications today. While these books can throw light into the past, we are unsure about the information because they are mostly oral or based on opinions or inspiration. The best way to get information for a history book is to see the events with your own eyes.
While it is impossible to see unrecorded past events, you can surely get a hint of what happened in the past by excavating sites to find necessary clues. This is a major purpose of archaeological excavation. An archaeological excavation usually occurs after a popular story about a particular place (and time). Archaeologists often seek to find evidence to prove or disprove written or oral history.
5. We Can Understand Evolution Better
Archaeology – Exhumation of an Ancient Human Skeleton with Digging Tool Kit
There are many ways to understand evolution, but a very reliable method is by excavating sites. When you excavate a place, you can find the fossils of animals, plants, and other types of organisms. We can see the remains of extinct organisms, learn what happened to them, and find their closest living relatives.
Aside from the biological aspect of evolution, we can also understand the cultural aspect by excavating a site. The materials and products of old we find in an excavation site can tell us how a particular culture has changed over time. We can also tell if the people migrated to other places or not.
6. Archaeological Excavation Improves Our Knowledge in Other Fields
The greek Temple of Neptune in the archaeological site of Paestum
While archaeology is more like a practical form of history, we can apply our archaeological findings in other fields. For example, we can use what we find in an excavation site to understand better what we know in science, math, physics, sports, chemistry, fashion, medicine, and other fields.
You already know how archaeology helps with the study of evolution (biology, culture, etc.). It can also help with medicine as we can tell how people helped themselves when they had broken bones, toothache, etc. As for sports, we can find some valuable sports materials in excavation sites. Archaeology is the branch of history that links it with other fields.
7. Archaeological Excavation Boosts the Tourism Sector
Forum Romanum archeological site in Rome after sunset
What is tourism without useful items to see? While archaeology helps historians understand and translate history better, it also helps curious folks who love to see beautiful things and the uniqueness of the past. This means that archaeological excavation boosts the tourism sector as people will surely want to see the recent find.
With proper management and agreement, the findings of an excavation can bring extra income for nations and give tourists more items to see. Archaeological discoveries are usually kept in museums, schools, and other research centers. What would you do if archaeologists discovered valuable items neaYou’d? You’d likely want to see it.
8. Research and Academics
What more can scientists and historians use for research if not the materials we find in excavated sites? With a proper carbon technique, we can tell how old an item is. Through the age of a material, we can tell what people (or nature) at a particular time were like.
Archaeology is a history field that helps fuel historical research and almost every other area. New researchers are born daily so long as we continue to find valuable items from archaeological excavations. Science, research, and academia truly rely on archaeology.
9. There Is Always Room for Improvement
People usually complain that archaeological excavation is destructive or does not use an ethical methodology. Whether their complaints may be valid or not, one thing that is certain about archaeology and archaeological excavation methods and processes is that they always improve.
The ethics, equipment, and other aspects of archaeology are ever-improving and the methods used to excavate a site in the past have improved. In recent archaeological excavations, we can find and save more materials. Recently, archaeologists are primarily involved in rescue archaeology.
Archaeological excavation truly has a lot of benefits, right? Does it have some disadvantages? Continue reading to find out.
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