Introduction to Archaeology

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  • Topic: Archaeology, Archaeological record, Excavation
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  • Published : April 13, 2013
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Introduction to Archaeology

Lecture 1

Archaeology is the study of the past of human kind, using material remains and conducted in a systematic manner.

These material remains include:

• Potsherds (shards of pottery) along with their shape, design, material of construction

• Funerary system

• Clothes

• Jewelry

And all such physical evidence of the existence of a culture or civilization.

In short it is the process of Reconstructing Ancient History.

The methodology of archaeology includes several processes which are used to construct history through excavation, study of artefacts and surveys of areas of historical interest.

• Archaeological surveys: Searching for sites of interest, visiting those sites, asking local residents about generally known history, photo and video documentation, mapping and contouring of the area and general geographical data related to the site

• Archaeological Excavation: This is the systematic digging of sites of interest and cataloging of all artefacts found there using specific detailed procedures such as tagging, bagging, listing etc. a process in which every minute detail of every found object is recorded e.g a broken pot has a base, rim, and other pieces all of which when found are tagged as belonging to a specific section and the design details on them as well. There is a separate classification and detailing of each part of any found object as defined by certain ground rules and scientific methods.

Photo and video documentation is also a massive part of archaeology as these tools are greatly utilized to document and catalog various archaeological finds, along with details of their design, material etc. all of which is written with the corresponding images as well.

Using these methods, we can identify and deal with the problems that history presents us with as archaeology allows us to scientifically study history in a fact based manner.

There are many branches within archaeology which include

• Numismatics: Study of coins

• Paleography & Epigraphy: Study of inscriptions and languages of ancient origins.

• Archaeometry: Dating and analysis of artefacts.

• Museology: Study of museums, how they are established and run etc.

And many other branches that allow us to delve into the past.

Archaeology is thus the Scientific study of historic or pre-historic people and their culture by analysis of their artefacts, inscriptions, monuments and other physical remains which have been empirically recorded and researched.

Lecture 2

The study of history in Pakistan can be traced back to the stone age, where evidence of human or hominid settlement is found up to 2 million years ago (mya). It is around 8000 BCE when cultural activity of the stone age era is recorded in the geographical region known today as Pakistan and ends around 4000 BCE, giving us 4000 years of cultural and 2 million years of human settlement.

Earliest evidence of human settlement is found in areas such as Rorhi hills in Sind and Sowaan Valley in the Potohar Plateau.

In the study and understanding of a culture, the geography, fauna, flora, paths, customs, tribes, traditions, languages etc all are researched in order to better understand the area under study.

Eras of history can be divided into 3 basic sections namely:

• Prehistoric Era - which begins from 2mya to 4000 BCE. This includes parts of civilisation which had no set culture or recorded language through which their culture can be better understood.

• Protohistoric Era - which extends from 4000 BCE to 2000 BCE and contains thousands of sites within Pakistan particularly of the Indus Valley Civilisation. These sites are found in all provinces and extend into Rajasthan in India as well, of which the main cities are Harappa in Sahiwal and Moenjo Daro in Larkana. Cholistan, Bahawalpur, D.I.Khan, Rehman Deri all are considered important sites of this...
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