Archaeology: The History Of Archaeology

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The History of Archaeology Introduction Curiosity is instilled in the human species, thus providing an ideal niche for the eventual creation of Archaeology as an independent discipline (Renfrew & Bahn 2000). Archaeology is defined by its application of scientific techniques and methodologies that allow for the investigation of the past by analysing material culture (Renfrew & Bahn 2000; Gamble 2001). Additionally, Archaeology is continually shaped by social, political and economic factors, that influence changes in the role, responsibilities and perspectives of past, present and future archaeologists (Berggren & Hodder 2003). The changing role, responsibilities and perspectives of archaeologists are explained with reference to specific archaeological…show more content…
The Renaissance period is commonly associated with the revival of learning and cultural knowledge, particularly Classical antiquity (Renfrew & Bahn 2000; Shaw & Jameson 1999). Antiquarianism is the study of the ancient world through the collection of valuable or beautiful artefacts from around the world (Shaw & Jameson 1999). Antiquarianism was a common practice among the wealthy and the noble people of the time, as a result “cabinets of curiosity” were formed to house artefacts. (Renfrew & Bahn; Shaw & Jameson 1999). However, this was problematic as artefacts were arbitrarily displayed without producing sufficient records of their original context, association or placement in the archaeological record (Renfrew & Bahn 2000; Shaw & Jameson 1999). In addition, to collecting artefacts some antiquarians studied large monuments, such as William Stukeley (1687-1765) (Renfrew & Bahn 2000). William Stukeley’s is recognised for his accurate plans and systematic approach of studying large prehistoric monuments, namely Stonehenge and Avebury, thereby foreshadowing the beginning of a new discipline: Archaeology (Renfrew & Bahn 2000). However, there is a big difference between the first “scientific” archaeology and antiquarianism (Shaw & Jameson 1999). The sole focus of Antiquarians is the collection of valuable and interesting artefacts, in contrast…show more content…
Like General Pitt-Rivers, Flinders Petrie focused on meticulous excavation procedures, total collection and description of each and every artefact, management of site without direct involvement in the manual labour of the excavation, use of seriation on pottery types and stratigraphy, as well as publicising his excavation results from Egypt and Palestine (Fredheim 2012; Ramsey 2004; Renfrew & Bahn 2000). Additionally, both General Pitt-Rivers and Flinders Petrie were influenced by ethnographic, evolutionary, nationalist and colonist ideologies, but it is suggested that this framework of thought influenced many of their revolutionary interpretative techniques (Gamble 2001; Ramsey 2004). Furthermore, Flinders Petrie continued to refine accuracy of artefact documentation and advance General Pitt-Rivers use of stratigraphy by applying it to remove layer by layer (Ramsey 2004; Renfrew & Bahn 2000). Additionally, Petrie is recognised for championing a new technique of relative dating called contextual seriation to examine the duration if different artefact styles that allocate each type to a cultural time period (Ramsey 2004; Renfrew & Bahn 2000). Finally, the work of Flinders Petrie and General Pitt-Rivers greatly influenced later

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