Ancient History Web Search  

Part A.       Archaeology and Science - Web Search

                1.  Have a look at any sites you  can find for information on this topic.
For example: o
pen   - this is a regularly updated portal of links and commentary about history and archaeology, religion,  environment, and other topics. (If this site wont open, try the information on this web page.)

            2.  Find and read some articles that demonstrate examples of how archaeologists use specialists from 
different scientific fields in their investigations:
Here are some past examples that may still he carried.
(If these links don't work, type the words in a Google search, and find another sources for the news item.)

DNA test for Joan of Arc

Bronze Age mourners used flowers
Battle for the books of Herculaneum
Search for ancient Persian warships

3.      Briefly record a few points about some of the cases. You will be able to use this later, as examples in a mini essay on the relationship between archaeology and science.

4.    Now try your own web search. Find two more cases where archaeologists have called on other    scientific fields to aid their investigations. (see the other web lessons.)

Part B.          The Evolution of Archaeological Methods - Early Archaeologists

         (Questions 1-3 )

     1.    Read this brief overview of the history of archaeology. The earliest 'archaeologists' have been described as 'Treasure Hunters', with no thought to preservation, or the importance of making detailed records of their finds.


     2.    Now read about the following archaeologists: Belzoni, Schlieman, Evans. 

                                 BELZONI THE TOMB ROBBER

 Inevitably, greedy diplomats vied with one another for a share of the spoils, for prized antiquities to sell in Europe. They employed agents like circus strongman- turned arch-aeologist Giovanni Belzoni to clear tombs, move statues, and excavate for them. Belzoni had spent years using weights, levers, and improvising on the stage. Over 6 feet 6 inches tall, and a man of immense strength and charm, he now turned his talents to tomb robbing -- with brilliant success.
He moved great statues of Ramesses II, dug his way into the temple of Abu Simbel, and discovered the royal tomb of Pharoah Seti I. It was empty, but decorated with brilliant frescoes that Belzoni exhibited in London.
Belzoni spent three years in Egypt, leaving in 1819 with an impressive display of archaeological booty. Undoubtedly, he was one of the founders of Egyptology, but a rough and ready one.


“Every step I took, I crushed a mummy….”  Belzoni at his worst!
9  ​

                                                    Heinrich Schliemann

A brilliant pioneer in field archaeology, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, b. Jan. 8, 1822, d. Dec. 26, 1890, is best known for his excavations at ancient TROY and MYCENAE. His discoveries there were later to establish a historical background for the stories and legends told by Homer and Vergil that had fascinated Schliemann from childhood.

Schliemann was largely self-educated. Because his family was poor, he had to leave school at the age of 14 to earn a living. He continued studying on his own, however, showing an exceptional ability to master foreign languages. Soon he began to exploit his remarkable aptitude for business dealings, which enabled him to amass a large fortune early in life and to retire at the age of 41. From then on, he devoted himself to archaeology. He began to dig at Troy, his most famous excavation, in 1870, and later also made extraordinary discoveries at Mycenae, the legendary home of Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War.

Schliemann has been criticized for using methods that seem crude by comparison with the highly developed techniques of today. He deserves great credit, however, for creating method where none had existed and for demonstrating that excavation can be more than a mere treasure hunt--that it can, in fact, restore a knowledge of lost civilizations. Schliemann's work led to continuing investigations that are revealing in ever-widening horizons the wonders of pre-classical Greece (6000-1000 BC). Before Schliemann, this civilization was not even known to have existed. From:

                    Author Evans
It was in the late 19th century that archeology moved from being essentially an international treasure hunt financed by wealthy individuals (as was the case with Schliemann and Troy) to a scholarly discipline with well-defined expectations for the conduct of an excavation, preservation of finds and publication about ancient sites. Evans was among a number of prominent archeologists who recognized the need for change and helped to make it possible.

The intrepid Englishman who shaped the way we think about Europe and the Middle East. Sir Arthur Evans was the diminutive, fiery archaeologist who, at an excavation in Knossos in 1900, discovered what he called the Palace of Minos and presented to the world his stunning re-creation of Minoan civilization. This is the first biography of a flamboyant and very influential man--written by a scholar with unparalleled expertise in the archaeology of Crete.

When Evans went to Greece after a mediocre career as a journalist in the Balkans, Heinrich Schliemann had recently uncovered what he claimed were Troy and Mycenae, famed cities of Homer; Evans, too, wanted to verify the factual basis for the myths that meant most to him.

3.      Draw up a chart listing these archaeologists (like the chart below). In the first column note any mistakes made in their early archaeological methods, and in the second column, any contributions to the field of archaeology the different archaeologists made. (Optional - add an additional archaeologist if you can.)

Archaeologist       Mistakes - early archaeological methods                   Findings or contribution to archaeology

















Part C.  The Evolution of Archaeological Methods - From Treasure Hunting, to 
                       Scientific Analysis, Recording and Preservation.


1.  First study these links: This link and also this link, then the explain in your own words, the methods used by archaeologists in the field today. (One to two A4 pages)
 ( Include a description of the
Wheeler-Kenyon and stratigraphic dating and recording methods; And include an example of an actual  archaeological site in this answer.)

 2. Write a mini essay: (First revise how to structure an essay.)

 "Archaeologists to day can no longer work in isolation. They are becoming increasingly more reliant on 
     different fields of science for help in unlocking the secrets of the past." 

     Discuss how accurate this statement is. Explain, using examples, how different fields of science contribute to
     helping archaeologists in their work. (One to two A4 pages)