Archaeology : A Scientific Key To The Past


The past incidents in history have always influenced the actions and decisions of mankind at present. Deciphering history involves being knowledgeable about the past literary sources as well as archaeological sources. Literary sources involve the ancient text and extracting the information mostly about dynastic history of rulers from it. While archaeological sources provide information about the common people's past. 


Archaeology is the study of the material remains of the past . Material remains which are extracted from an archaeological site by exploration, sub - surface investigation or excavation (digging out a cavity in the ground of the site and extracting the material remains) are known as artefacts. The most significant or advantageous feature of archaeology is the fact that it is supported by progressive sciences like chemistry and informatics as well as other branches of science like botany , geology and zoology. The most orthodox idea which people have is that archaeology mainly deals with the digging of the ground and bringing up antique pieces. But on the contrary digging is the last thing an archaeologist does. First comes exploration, then surveying and excavation at last. 

While performing the process of exploration and survey, an application of informatics comes in. GIS is used for better information and data management of the artefacts. GPS on the other hand is used for pinpointing the location of the site while recording. After exploration and survey come excavation, which is mainly of two types horizontal excavation and vertical. Horizontal excavation has trenches that expand through a long area while vertical excavation is constricted to a small surface.


Then comes the different process of dating which involves the application of chemistry. Different methods of dating like radio- carbon dating, fluorine- phosphate dating, potassium- argon dating, electron spin resonance technique etc ; are used for the finding out the chronology. Carbon dating is used in sites where we find there is presence of charcoal. Besides while dating animal bones we use mainly flourine phosphate dating. The annual tree rings of tree bark are used for the purpose finding the chronology .This is known as dendrochronology.

Life sciences like zoology find their application in archaeology when archaeologist study the bones of different species of different animals found at the site or different burial sites. Botany also comes into the picture when we study palynology and phytology. Pollen grains are quite indestructible in nature and can be found in trenches after thousands of years. The study of the pollen grain to find out the timeline of the archaeological trench is known as palynology. There is also a presence of an algae called phytolith. It is also indestructible and studied in marine archaeology to find out the timeline. The study of phytolith is known as phytology.

Palynology-study of pollen grains


Thus, we find archaeology as a multidisciplinary science which help us to know more about our ancestors daily life as it is the scientific key to the past. 

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