October 10, 2018

Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of human activity of long ago...through the strategic recovery and then detailed analysis of the material that was left behind by a civilization and their culture...digging for bones, bones and stones and ten thousand other things...buried in the ground that holds secrets like a teenage girl’s diary...an archaeological record isn’t one you can play on your hi-fi stereophonic player that you bought at Woolworth’s...but it can consist of artifacts (some being rare antiquities which can be extremely valuable and desirable), styles of architecture, assorted biofacts or ecofacts, and cultural landscapes...archaeologists take it upon themselves to study human history, crude stone tools from over three million years ago up until the recent decades...people who have left behind a sort of legacy, an encyclopedia that needs to be deciphered...it’s like hieroglyphics but its pots, and bowls, jewels, buttons, bits of clothing that have to be read...people often confuse archaeology with palaeontology which are entirely different things...palaeontology is actually the study of fossils...archaeology is extremely important for learning about prehistoric societies because there are often no written records to study and learn from...it is estimated that over 99% of the development of humanity took place within prehistoric cultures...most of them didn’t write so there aren’t any written records that exist that can be studied by scholars...without written material, the only way to understand and learn about these prehistoric societies is through archaeology...the process of archaeology involves careful surveying of a site, delicate excavation of the materials that are buried there, some of which may be located involving a method called ‘remote sensing’ which sounds very paranormal like but is actually done using technical instrumentals, and then the analysis of the findings are benchmarks of modern archaeology...it’s important work that has to be performed, but archaeologists face many problems these days, such as dealing with posers and ‘fake’ archaeology which is also known as archaeology forgery...archaeological forgery is the manufacture of supposedly ancient items that are then sold to those in the antiquities market...they might even wind up in the collections of prestigious museums that are fooled by the ‘fakes’...in that way, it is related to the forgery of paintings which are then sold to art galleries, sometimes for millions of dollars...one of the greatest art forgers was Elmyr de Hory, who could manufacture fake paintings quite quickly...Matisse’s, Picasso’s, Modigliani's...although of course he never actually admitted to it...but it is rumored that several of his fakes hang in the galleries of prominent museums all over the world...in the world of archaeology as well as art, accuracy is sometimes overlooked or a head is turned in order to present a ‘great find’ and the prestige of presenting it to the public...there is also the looting of artifacts and digging sites in general, a lack of public interest in their work, and strident opposition to the excavation of human remains by some cultures...some of whom will go to great lengths to protect their artifacts from what they feel are profit seeking poachers...and remember as the famed archaeologist Dr. Jones once said, “Archaeology is the search for fact…not truth”, and...“We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and "X" never, ever, marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Reading and research."