But although archaeology uses extensively the methods, techniques, and results of the physical and biological sciences, it is not a natural science; some consider it a discipline that is half science and half humanity.
Archaeological investigations are a principal source of knowledge of prehistoric, ancient, and extinct culture.
The word comes from the Greek artifacts he studies.
The justification for this work is the justification of all historical scholarship: to enrich the present by knowledge of the experiences and achievements of our predecessors.
Because it concerns things people have made, the most direct findings of archaeology bear on the history of art and technology; but by inference it also yields information about the society, religion, and economy of the people who created the artifacts.
Classical archaeology was established on a more scientific basis by the work of Alexander Conze at Samothrace in 18.
Conze was the first person to include photographs in the publication of his report.
It was an odd sensation climbing over the Great Pyramid, looking for minute flecks of charcoal or other datable material, loaded down with cameras, scales, notebooks, and forms with entries for sample number, site, monument, area, feature, material (charcoal, reed, wood, etc.), matrix (gypsum mortar, mud brick, etc.), date, time, notes on details, extracted by, logged by, photograph numbers, and sketches. The 1984 radiocarbon dates from monuments spanning Dynasty 3 (Djoser) to late Dynasty 5 (Unas), averaged 374 years older than the Cambridge Ancient History dates of the kings with whom the pyramids are identified.
It was 1984 and the Edgar Cayce Foundation, named for an early twentieth-century psychic who claimed that the Sphinx and Khufu's Great Pyramid were built in 10,500 B. Old friends and supporters of the deceased psychic had visited Giza in the early 1980s and several of them were willing to put their beliefs to the test by radiocarbon dating the Great Pyramid. and built the Giza Pyramids in a span of 85 years between 25 B. In spite of this discrepancy, the radiocarbon dates confirmed that the Great Pyramid belonged to the historical era studied by Egyptologists.
The demand for Egyptian antiquities led to organized tomb robbing by men such as Giovanni Battista Belzoni.
A new era in systematic and controlled archaeological research began with the Frenchman Flinders Petrie, who began work in Egypt in 1880, made great discoveries there and in Palestine during his long lifetime.
Petrie developed a systematic method of excavation, the principles of which he summarized in Mesopotamian archaeology also began with hectic digging into mounds in the hopes of finding treasure and works of art, but gradually these gave way in the 1840s to planned digs such as those of the Frenchman Henry Creswicke Rawlinson became the first man to decipher the Mesopotamian cuneiform writing.