Artifacts, structures, settlements, materials, and features of prehistoric or ancient peoples are surveyed and/or excavated to uncover history in times before written records.
Archaeology also supplements the study of recorded history. From the end of the 18th century onwards, archaeology has come to mean the branch of learning which studies the material remains of mankind's past. Its scope is, therefore, enormous, ranging from the first stone tools made and fashioned by man over three million years ago in Africa, to the garbage thrown into our trash cans and taken to city dumps and incinerators yesterday.
The objectives of archaeology are to construct cultural history by ordering and describing the events of the past, study cultural processes to explain the meaning of those events and what underlies and conditions human behavior, and reconstruct past lifeways.
Among the specialties in the field are: archaeobiology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, and social archaeology. Modern archaeology, which is often considered a subdiscipline of anthropology, has become increasingly scientific and relies on a wide variety of experts; such as, biologists, geologists, physicists, sociologists, anthropologists, and historians.
The methods appropriate to different periods vary, leading to specialized branches of the subject, e.g. classical, medieval, industrial, etc. archaeology.
2. The archaeological study of the period and sites of the Industrial Revolution and later.
It involves the discovery, recording, and study of the material remains of past industrial activities, covering ways of making, transporting, and distributing products.
In the U.S., it has helped to create the industries of salvage archaeology or cultural resource management (in the U.K., it is called "rescue archaeology").
Threats to archaeological remains occur in the form of road-building, road improvement, new building of houses, offices, and industrial complexes, the flooding of valleys for reservoirs, and improved farming techniques involving the use of deep plowing.
The rescue, or salvage, archaeologist, is concerned with the retrieval of as much information as possible about the archaeological sites before they are damaged or destroyed. Frequently time is too short and funds are too limited for anything but a brief survey.
In the U.S., the first major program of salvage archaeology was undertaken during 1930, ahead of the construction and dam building done by the Tennessee Valley authority."
The rescue, or salvage, archaeologist, is concerned with the retrieval of as much information as possible about the archaeological sites before they are damaged or destroyed.