This is the study of the material remains of man’s past. It includes the study of man’s weapons, tools, settlements, pottery, skulls, bone and plant remains like grains, and cave paintings.
Archaeology refers to the scientific study of past human remain. It is the study of material remains of man’s past through scientific methods.
When the remains are excavated, they are carefully examined by the archaeologists and necessary information is obtained.
The archaeologists may excavate a place where erosion has exposed a stratum of rock and soil well below the surface, a place where there are partly visible remains or they may be guided by oral traditions to identify the place for instance if the place is orally mentioned for example the Great Zimbabwe and Merowe ruins.
The one specializes in archeology is called ARCHAEOLOGIST.
Archaeology involves excavations (digging) of the remains of man’s past.
The famous archaeologist in East Africa was Dr. Louis Leaky with his wife Mary Leakey.
Archaeology involves the use of carbon 14 dating to determine plants and animal remains.
FUNCTIONS OF ARCHAEOLOGY
Gives important information about man through different stages.
It is a useful method of revealing soil covered historical remains.
It arouse curiosity of searching past man historical information.
ADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY
i. It helps people to know when and how people lived in a certain place.
ii. Past objects tell us about the life and culture of past people.
iii. iv. It helps us to know and reveal the technology, pastoral, agricultural and commercial activities of the past man.
v. Through excavation, we get knowledge of artifacts e.g. Pottery, building etc.
vi. It reveals religious beliefs of the past man
vii. We can complement other sources of information through archaeology e.g. History
viii. We can know the past relationship between different people such as trading activities, migration, marriage, birth, death and political relation.
DISADVANTAGES OF ARCHAEOLOGY
i. It consumes time because of excavation.
ii. It cannot reveal the past people’s language.
iii. It cannot give out the reasons for historical events such as wars.
iv. It needs full experts and advanced technology.
v. Poorly interpreted remains can bring false information
vi. It cannot tell anything about the past social organization
vii. The remains exist in the following forms:
viii. Those made by early man such as weapons, tools, pots and ornaments.
ix. Unmovable structures such as dwellings, dug wells, tombs and early towns.
x. Items which are natural such as bone remains, horns, carbonized seeds or grains.
Archaeology has various limitations:
i) It is expensive to use the method to obtain information.
ii) It is time consuming especially when one uses the method to locate archaeological sites.
iii) Weather can affect fossils, for example fossils may decay or change their form.
iv) It is difficult to locate archaeological sites.
v) Sometimes people who use this method obtain inaccurate information.
vi) The archaeological method cannot be used to obtain recent events and information. Only the study of ancient period can be done by use of this method.
vii) It is difficult to date fossils and artefacts. A lot of estimation is involved.