Historical Archaeology
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<Historical archaeology

is a form of archaeology dealing with sites about written records exist. These records can both complement and conflict with the archaeological evidence found at a particular site. Studies tend to focus on literate, historical-period societies as opposed to illiterate, prehistoric societies.

Historical archaeologists try to discover the fabric of everyday life in the past and try to find the broader historical progress of their own and other societies.The most visible branch of historical archaeology is Egyptology, the study of history and archaeology of Egypt, but other sub-disciplines recognized in their own right for conventional archaeology and Assyriology, which study the ancient Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, respectively. Industrial archaeology studies 18th and 19th century buildings in Europe and the United States, whilst there have also been archaeological studies of World War II defenses.

Historical Archaeology

The problem is that ancient records do not cover all topics equally. Literacy was often preserves upper classes, such as the clergy and aristocracy. The general population made few records of there own, those made less likely to be preserved. The literate classes were, understandably, primarily concerned with recording their own interests. Many topics of interest to recent scholars such as economic history and religious history were widely taken for granted and not described in records.

Not all records that were written in antique have been preserved. Much of the knowledge of the Roman Empire was vanished during the early on Middle Ages, before Europe took a renewed interest in its ancestors. In addition, many of the ancient records that have survived are not primary sources. For example, the works of Cristobel's, the historian who accompanied Alexander the Great on his campaigns, were mostly destroyed within a few centuries and supplanted by the writings of later scholars who used him as a source.

Finally, written sources are not always truthful. Those who write about history usually have some personal involvement in that, and they may to bend the truth to cast them in a more positive light. On the other hand, it is practically impossible to systematically distort the archaeological personal involvement in that, and they may to distort the truth to cast themselves in a more positive light. On the other hand, it is practically impossible to systematically distort the archaeological record so as to imply events that never occurred.

Historical Archaeology

Historical archaeology is an international discipline concerned with studying the past using physical evidence in conjunction with other types of historical sources such as documents,maps, illustrations, photographs and oral history. It focuses on the objects used by people in the past and the places where they lived and worked. It can tell us about the way things were made and used and how people lived their daily lives.

In Australia historical archaeologists investigate sites and relics such as those left by early Asian fishing fleets and Dutch explorers, as well as the settlements of Europeans, Chinese and other cultural groups. The study of Aboriginal sites is another branch of archaeological research. However, historical archaeologists do study sites where interaction between Aboriginal peoples and invading cultures occurred. The study of industrial sites such as factories, mines and mills is a specialist area of historical archaeological study.

Historical archaeological sites are physical evidence of the past and have the potential to increase our knowledge of earlier human occupation, activities and events. Some sites are wholly below the ground surface, others partially or wholly above ground.They can be in ruins, or intact and still functioning. Types of physical evidence studied by archaeologists include:

  • buildings (both ruined and standing);
  • structures such as wells, mine shafts and bridges;
  • objects of household use such as crockery, bottles, personal effects and toys;
  • machinery and tools;
  • pollen as evidence of past environments;
  • parasites as evidence of human diet and disease.

Cultural landscapes, both rural and urban, are also important physical evidence of land use and are a record of the changing shape of our settlements.Physical evidence can sometimes be recovered by archaeological excavation, although it is important to remember that archaeology involves much more than excavation. Detailed survey, recording and the study of photographs, maps, plans and other historical sources are primary methods of studying past material culture.

Archaeological resources are irreplaceable. They have enormous potential to contribute to our knowledge of our history, providing information that is unavailable from other sources.It is important that archaeological resources are adequately investigated and recorded if they are to be disturbed.

Historical archaeologists are people who have completed tertiary training in archaeology,prehistory or a related field and who have specialist training and experience in historical archaeology. Historical archaeologists carry out archaeological assessments, do archival research and undertake survey recording and archaeological excavation.

There are also many dedicated non-professionals who are interested in historical archaeology and have contributed to our understanding of the past. They have developed their skills from researching and recording historical sites and from working on excavations under professional supervision.

Books on the Historical Archaeology:

Historical archaeology - Martin Hall, Stephen W. Silliman - 2006 .

This volume offers lively current debates and case studies in historical archaeology selected from around the world, including North America, Latin America, Africa, the Pacific, and Europe..

Historical Archaeology books

Historical archaeology:- Charles E. Orser - 2004.

Significantly revised and expanded, the second edition of this popular book provides a short, readable introduction to historical archaeology.

Historical Archaeology books

Historical archaeology:-why the past matters Books, Barbara J. Little - 2007.

As an introductory guide for historical archaeology courses, or as a supplement for other undergraduate classes, this volume is unmatched in quality and scope.

Rich Resources over the web on Historical Archaeology
  • Historical Archaeology is a form of archaeology dealing with sites about written records exist. These records can both complement and conflict with the archaeological evidence found at a particular site.

  • The Society for Historical Archaeology : The Society will be for the promotion of scholarly research and the dissemination of knowledge concerning historical archaeology. This Society will cooperate with other learned and scholarly organizations in the pursuit of common objectives.

Diciplines by Regional study
  • African Archaeology

    African Archaeology Africa has the longest record of human activity of any part of the world and along with its geographical extent; it contains an enormous archaeological resource. Scholars have studied Egyptology for centuries but archaeologists have only paid serious attention to the rest of the continent in more recent times.
  • American Archaeology

    American Archaeology Archaeology of the Americas is the learning of the archaeology of North America, Central America (or Mesoamerica), South America and the Caribbean, which is to say, the pre-history and Pre-Columbian history of Native American peoples.
  • European archaeology

    European Archaeology In terms of area, Europe is the world's second smallest continent, with an area of 10,400,000 kmē (4,000,000 square miles), making it slightly larger than Australia.
  • Medival archaeology

    Medival archaeology The period covers the commotion caused by the fall of the Medival archaeology Roman Empire and cultures such as the Vikings, Saxons and Franks.
  • Near Eastern Archaeology

    Near Eastern Archaeology Near Eastern Archaeology is a wide generalised application, and is divided into further regional sub-branches, the archaeology of modern states in the region or along broad thematic lines.
  • Post Medieval Archaeology

    Post Medieval Archaeology The Post Medieval Archaeology is considered as a bi-annual journal study of the material evidence of European society. This period saw the conversion of medieval to industrial society.
  • Modern Archaeology

    Modern Archaeology In contrast to the antiquarianism of classical archaeology, anthropological archaeology today is concerned with culture history (i.e., the chronology of events and cultural traditions) and the explanation of cultural processes.