One of the four major sub-fields of anthropology is that of archaeology, which I explored further by looking at the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). This large non-profit attempts to understand past cultures through material record. Their primary goal is to support all kinds of archaeological research, but they also take it a step further by making sure the information is understandable and accessible to the everyday public. AIA attempts to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and a shared humanity while advocating the preservation of the world’s vast archaeological legacy.
The AIA has a significant source of public educational programs, allowing individuals to get involved in more ways than just donating. There are many different archaeological fieldwork opportunities on six different continents. Each opportunity is unique in itself as some focus on paleopathology, and others more focused on excavation and preservation.
Archaeology Institute of America focuses heavily on site preservation and brags to “safeguard the world’s archaeological heritage through direct preservation, education, outreach…and the spread of best practices.” The Site Preservation Program through AIA grants up to $25,000 to innovative projects, which preserve archaeological sites, and currently supports projects on five continents. Current projects include protecting some of the few surviving ancient Mayan murals in Brazil and a Mayan structure in Belize. The study of both of these preserved sites has allowed anthropologists to get a closer and more insightful look at how Ancient Mayan culture used timber, communicated, and constructed years ago.
The study of archaeology holds great importance in the scientific, cultural and environmental world. Archaeology allows scientists to study the human past, allowing them to extend their knowledge of human history beyond the existence of written records. Even though written records only go back a few thousands of years (a blimp in time, really) archaeological advances have allowed the study of an innumerable amount of cultures, traditions and peoples.
One of the main themes of anthropology is culture, a set of behaviors and ideas, which humans acquire as members of society. Culture is used to adapt and transform the world. Because of anthropology, history has been written and rewritten a countless number of times. Continuously scientist’s worldview have been completely changed after the findings of certain artifacts or primates. As our articles said, the study of anthropology is a recently very new one when looking at the vast amount of time in which the earth has existed. In addition, it takes an incredible amount of time to perceive noticeable differences in evolving and human behaviors. Archaeology works as a helpful tool to allow those who study anthropology to glance back in time, over multiple time frames and compare to that of now.
Archaeology merges both history and anthropology together, allowing humans of the present to look directly at the humans of the past. Seeing practices, customs, traditions, building-styles, hunting preferences and others allows for scientists to obtain better insight for events of the past. Archaeology is highly related to anthropology, as anthropology is the study of humankind. Anthropology describes the workings of societies around the world, heavily tied into humankind. Overall, Archaeology is a field of tremendous worth, which has allowed humans of today to better understand humans of yesterday.