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 rich - it has resulted in filling in the blank and blurry phases of our history. After all, history is written on a basis of what we discover. Archaeology has now become the groundwork of our history both literally and metaphorically!
Unfortunately the fact that history could be pieced together from remains left behind in this earth only became realised in the 17th and 18th centuries, and it was then that "formal" investigation into the past began (Bahn, 2000). Before then many treasures could have been discarded lost or stolen. Thanks to archaeological excavations we are now able to understand our origins.
The link between archaeology and history can also be shown linguistically with the term 'historical archaeology', which is a branch of archaeology and history based on the text aided study of archaeological questions. Seeking answers to questions put forward by archaeology in written history.
Archaeology and history work hand in hand in order to provide the study of man's past from the "very first artifact all the way to yesterday's garbage" (Bahn, 1999). Therefore whilst archaeology backs up history by providing physical proof, history helps archaeologists 'place' their artifacts within the chronological jigsaw puzzle of our past.
Although not seemingly obvious, the alliance of archaeology and anthropology also looks to the same goals as that of archaeology and history. Anthropology is defined as the examination of culture - how humanity and culture developed together and changed over time and space and the inquiry into the essence of diversity. It is sub-divided into three sections: biological, cultural and archaeological anthropology. Although archaeology is only mentioned in one of the subsections it is actually linked with all three of these sections.
Biological anthropology refers to the study of evolution, more specifically, the study of human bones - what is left of the physical features of our ancestors. It is obvious that without the...