Why An Archaeologist Excavates An Archaeological Site?

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Many people commonly associate archaeology with Indiana Jones, a risk taking adventurer who seeks distant lands to gather treasure. Booby traps and aggressive natives also concord with this instinctive fantasy. This is often not at all the case. Archaeologists are attributed to have curiosity, passion, determination and critical thinking skills. They take an unknown area of history and think to ask questions that no one has ever attempted to answer. How an archaeologist excavates an archaeological site is moderately straightforward but why an archaeologist excavates an archaeological site is slightly more complex. In this essay I will explain the physical side to an archaeological excavation and I will also attempt to break down the barrier …show more content…
The first archaeologists were nothing more than antiquarians. Many archaeologists prior to the 19th century were predominantly less interested in cultivating historical knowledge and more interested in making a name for themselves by conducting treasure hunts. Heinrich Schliemann was a respected archeologist in his time but in his publishing’s he is more concerned about documenting the ‘treasures of gold’ he discovered when he excavated the Tell of Hissarlik. (Heinrich Schliemann 1884) It is due to these particular archeologists that the profession was tarnished and the impression on archaeologists knowledge was less valued as a whole. Even into the beginning of the 20th century archaeologists were struggling to get a foothold in the scientific world (Brian M. Fagan 1972) The development of industrial areas was destroying potential sites and pseudo archaeology was developing at a steady rate. These pseudo archaeologists were diminishing the credibility of archaeologists which lead to further opinion of unreliability towards the profession. This low opinion of archaeology did not deter the passion behind the science. True archaeologists persevered because they wanted answers from the past, they wanted to conduct excavations which could potentially lead to some of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. They followed the mantra that, ‘archeology shouldn’t just describe the world; it should explain

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