Important Terms to Know About Archaeologists Archaeologists study human activity through artifacts, cultural landscapes, architecture and biofacts. Thought to be both a science and a humanity, archaeology is a branch of anthropology. Archaeologists typically study their craft through lab analysis and on-site digs for fossils, relics and artifacts that may give them some insight into human history. Read up on these important terms about archaeologists:
Biofact: Also known as an ecofact, this is an item found at an archaeological site that provides evidence of human life. Bones, wooden roof beams and plant seeds are all examples of biofacts. These items are useful to humans in the form of food, shelter and clothing.
Anthropology: The study of humanity involving characteristics of human experiences and interactions. It encompasses physiology, evolutionary origins, social and cultural organizations, and individual and collective human experiences. With roots in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, anthropology is a Greek term meaning humankind.
Humanities: The study of the human condition, including literature, history, religion, language and social science. Humanists are the scholars who study the humanities, which also include music, linguistics, cultural studies, anthropology and communication.
Archaeological Record: Physical evidence about the past, specifically concerned with documenting and interpreting the past. Many objects are found at an archaeological site, such as artifacts, structures, plant and animal remains, and even garbage.
Stratigraphy: A branch of geology concerned with rock layers and layering, which is referred to as stratification. It also involves the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks, with two subfields including lithologic stratigraphy and biologic stratigraphy.