Is this the time to pursue a course in archaeology? The word from the field that reaches the Current Archaeology offices is that graduates are disillusioned with their prospects: jobs are scarce, competition is fierce and projects are poorly funded. What’s the point?
There are many areas of the world and periods in the story of the human race to which archaeologists can devote themselves through research and excavation. From Roman coins to Egyptian hieroglyphs, from the Maya pyramids to the megaliths of Stonehenge, there is something to intrigue, obsess and satisfy everyone with imagination, dedication and enthusiasm […]
The dramatic emergence of the Mary Rose from the bottom of the sea off Portsmouth in 1982 inspired many an archaeologist to enroll in diving lessons (see CA 218). However, maritime archaeologists also study submerged cultural environments and coastal settlements, as well as ships, ports and harbours, to set them within the relevant socio-political context. […]
The archaeology of the industrialised world is gaining popularity. Although its roots can been seen as far back as the 16th century, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries was a time of great change in this country and around the world. Its architecture, the emergent technology and the physical remains of the […]
This specialism looks at ideologies and belief systems of previous civilisationsthrough their religious structures,art and practices and covers a broad spectrum of sub-disciplines. Archaeoastronomy comes under this heading. Since time immemorial humans have looked to the skies. Archaeoastronomy concentrates on how ancient cultures traced the movements of the planets and the subsequent significance of their […]
Initially, this area came under the auspices of general field archaeology, but battlefield experts have rapidly developed it into a specialist subject which, due to its very nature, is often a sensitive one, especially — especially when dealing with World War I and II sites, which still affect people living today. Because battles invariably took […]
In experimental archaeology, archaeological theories are put to the test in a practical way by recreating lost structures or artefacts using the same techniques as would have been employed for the originals. The Iron Age farm at Butser (CA 188) and the Ferriby Bronze Age boat (CA 191) are two examples.
Conservators work on archaeological finds and structures, using a knowledge of the cultural background of the subject matter as well as scientific methods to document, examine, analyse and preserve the material. It is often painstaking but extremely rewarding work, and requires an understanding of the environmental conditions in which the archaeological material has been preserved […]
Environmental archaeology is the study of the long-term relationship between humans and their environments. It has emerged as a formal sub-discipline within the last 30 years, and become firmly established as an essential component to most excavation projects. The subject is, itself, broken down into further specialisms, including: – Archaeobotany (also known as paleoethnobotany) is […]
A relative newcomer to the world of archaeology, forensic techniques have been responsible for startling revelations — such as that Napoleon Bonaparte suffered arsenic poisoning, with significant traces of the toxin found in his hair — and is increasingly being employed to solve modern criminal investigations. – Osteoarchaeology is the detailed study of human bones, […]