What is Archaeology?

The word archaeology means “the study of ancient things” (The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology by T Darvill, 2002).

Archaeology is the study of the people of the past: how they lived, where they lived, what they ate, and what their environment was like. Archaeologists use tools, houses, plant and animal remains, pollen, shells, and other evidence that they dig up in excavations to understand what the people of the deeper past were like and how they lived.

Archaeology is different from history in that history uses documents, letters and drawings to understand how people lived in the more recent past. Sometimes archaeologists use written historical records together with the artefacts that they have dug up to create a picture or story of what the past was like. This is called historical archaeology.