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Show the relationship between archaeology and history and archaeo...

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Show the relationship between archaeology and history and archaeology and anthropology.

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  • Jan. 13, 2006
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Archaeology: "the study of the ancient" (Bahn, 1999). The study of prehistoric and historic civilizations as seen through what they have left behind in our earth, both the tangible and the intangible: artifacts, settlements, monuments, rubbish dumps, cultural behaviorisms, religions, legacies, and other remains.

This definition alone already shows the bringing together and intertwining of archaeology, history and anthropology in order to piece together the scattered pieces of our past, hidden in our earth. It is the fact that we - the peoples of the today - are a result of the past, that gives our "back looking curiositie" as the great archaeologist William Camden defines it (Bahn, 2000)

However that definition alone is not enough to show how these three areas of discovery are related. In order to do this we must first look at what each discipline entails then looked at the interrelations between them.

"Back looking curiositie" would also be a good definition of the word 'history'. Coming from the Greek word 'historia', literally meaning 'inquiry', one may conclude that history is an inquiry into man's past, sparked off by curiosity. This inquiry may be carried out through many means, amongst them, written history, oral history and superstition. In fact, the Oxford Dictionary defines history as "continuous methodical record of public events". Yet these alone will not provide us with a chronologically clear picture of our past that we all yearn for, as writing only came about in the 8th century BC, oral history is rare and flaky due to bias, and the word superstition speaks for itself. Surely our curiosity wills us further back in time than that? This is where prehistory comes in, that is, the time in our past before writing came about, which we would not even be aware of had archaeology not existed.

Although archaeology started out as a mere 'hobby' (an expensive one too), a "scramble for curiosities" (Bahn, 1999), taken up by the eccentric and the...