W1 Reflection Post

Prompt Part 1:

When I put together the bits and pieces that I came into this class believing about archaeology, it mostly involved locations in the deserts of the Middle East with pyramids, sand storms, and ancient temples. I believed that archaeology involved quite a bit of digging up human remains and putting together skeletons to determine their origin and point of evolution. However, I was right in some aspects as I would say that my most accurate belief about archaeology is the fact that it’s about piecing together cultures to understand what they were like and how they have changed over time.

Prompt Part 2:

Using a modern day example of what archaeology truly looks like on the Colorado River, I can see vast differences in how it was done in the past according to our reading and lectures. The most important difference being the care and delicacy surrounding the excavation of these historical sites. The fact that the sites on the Colorado River were carefully watched and researched for fifteen years rather than bombarding right into the middle of it and tearing it all apart shows how far archaeology has truly come. In the past, people like Giovanni Belzoni would come across a site and excavate it in a matter of days, usually just digging right into the middle in search of the treasure and then abandoning every thing else. The archaeologists on the Colorado River only began excavation when it became evident that if they did not, the site would be washed away and all the historical evidence would be destroyed.

Another major difference, although related, is the way the data is collected and stored. Historical collectors and looters did not care to document their excavations, as they were in it for either the items or the money. Although some documentation was done in the past, modern day archaeologists put way more emphasis on it carefully account for every aspect of their excavation in an attempt to preserve the historical site further.

One difference that I am really happy to have seen occur in the video, is the fact that they brought in local people who are descendants of the people who created the sites in order to get their cultural input on the excavation process. I think that this is really important and unfortunately was not taken into account at all in historical methods of archaeology. Many cultures have strict guidelines on how to treat their ancestors remains and dwellings.

In regards to how archaeology is portrayed in media today, it is much different than in actuality. In movies we see intricately laid out booby traps that aim to kill the archaeologists at every turn and protect these massive treasures full of gold and jewels. Archaeologists are shown as some sort of warrior scientists that are capable of combating every obstacle thrown in their way, be that crazy animals or indigenous populations wielding swords and arrows. And the archaeological sites are a lot more preserved and clean of dirt and debris than in real life.

4 thoughts on “W1 Reflection Post

  1. I never really understand the significance of why archaeologist would find artifacts and in some cases wouldn’t dig up the site. Now I understand it’s a sentimental thing and you can understand the past culture surroundings more. And it’s sad that people like Giovanni Belzoni destroy sites and didn’t write down the historical information. Now we don’t know what happen there and the significance of the artifacts. Modern day archaeologist understand the delicately of the artifacts while past archaeologist didn’t. And the archaeologist we discuss is not really archaeologist their thief’s. I also like how the archaeologist brought people to the site to see what they discover. It will help people understand the true values of these landmarks.

  2. History has always fascinated to me. No human ever lives for more than a century, therefore it is impossible to know about the culture people had back then. It is only through excavation and studies done on artifacts, which tell us about that time period. Archaeologists back then and now had one major difference, that is preservation of sites. The video showed us how today the excavation of sites has changed drastically. People, now, care about the cultural significance that the site holds. Earlier it had always been about the monetary value of the artifact. This video has helped me deepen my knowledge about archaeology.

  3. I also loved the fact that they brought up the local tribes in order to find out more about the historical site and its culture. It illustrates the fact that in todays society archaeologists are more concerned with the preservation of this culture and site rather than the object in the sites themselves. It also seems to get a more accurate representation of the dig site and any artifacts that you may find there. The documentation of these sites is a very valid point as well! The sites were just looted before hand by people like Giovanni Belzoni and its great to see that modern day archaeology is a lot different and much more focused on research than it was before.

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