Friday, October 18, 2013

Archaeology – What’s the point?

By Audrey McCullough 

This week, we will diverge a bit from talking about our site, and take a look at archaeology as a whole. Many people don’t understand the importance of archaeology. Why bother digging in the dirt for old pieces of junk?

Archaeology tells us things about the cultures that have since gone away for whatever reason. So that piece of junk you think was found may actually be able to tell us about some aspect of the culture. Trash, especially, can tell so much. Think about what you throw away in your trash: this could one day be studied to understand our culture!

Without archaeology, so much of what we know about our past would never have been learned. Archaeological digs may be painstakingly thorough and precise, but the information around the artifacts may be just as important to understanding a culture as the object itself. That is why archaeologists need to be so careful when digging.

Massachusetts has learned much about the past through archaeology as well. There are hundreds of registered sites, both Native American and colonial. Some sites date back thousands of years! The points in the picture are 8000 to 9000 years old, and can be seen in the Robbins Museum of Archaeology. We know so much from archaeology, from how long people have been settled here and when they left, to what they ate and how they dressed, all based on remnants of their culture. It is pretty amazing how much we can learn from minimal information. Learning about past cultures is how we learn about our own. Archaeology is a useful way to learn, and that is why its important.
Learn more about Massachusetts archaeology here:

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