Cultural dating archeology
The earliest subjects of archaeological study date from the origins of humanity.
Because many items disintegrate over time, archaeologists get an incomplete view of the past that they must fill in with other kinds of information and educated reasoning.The earliest archaeological sites include those at Hadar, Ethiopia; Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli, Tanzania; East Turkana, Kenya; and elsewhere in East Africa.These sites contain evidence of the first appearance of bipedal (upright walking), apelike early humans.The archeological record encompasses every area of the world that has ever been occupied by humans, as well as all of the material remains contained in those areas.Archaeologists study the archaeological record through field surveys and excavations and through the laboratory study of collected materials.Archaeology is an important field of anthropology, which is the broad study of human culture and biology.
Archaeologists concentrate their studies on past societies and changes in those societies over extremely long periods of time.
Sites containing signs of the first simple but purposeful burials in graves date to as early as 40,000 years ago in Europe and Southwest Asia.
By the time people lived in civilizations, burials and funeral ceremonies had become extremely important and elaborate rituals.
Archaeology also examines many of the same topics explored by historians.
But unlike historythe study of written records such as government archives, personal correspondence, and business documentsmost of the information gathered in archaeology comes from the study of objects lying on or under the ground Archaeologists refer to the vast store of information about the human past as the archaeological record.
With its focus on the ancient past, archaeology somewhat resembles paleontologythe study of fossils of long-extinct animals, such as dinosaurs.