History and Archaeology sciences looked at #2 Co-operative of excavators, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and culture morphologists

Toward the end of the 19th century thinkers where attracted by the idea to delineate the specific character or historical knowledge and understanding, rather than of seeking to construct vast speculative schemes in the earlier manner of historians. Several scholars became also convinced that several fields should integrate into one discipline which wants to go deep into the history of man, looking at all details, the materials the people used in what for circumstances and with what availability of material and with what use of language. Therefore linguists are of particular importance to the field of archaeology, them being capable to encipher the signs, pictograms and words written on the artefacts (ornament, tool, or other object) found.

Most people do have an idea of an archaeologist being some “nerd”,  ‘lunatic’ of ‘not by the time guy’ digging in the ground for lost treasures. Lots of people do not see how chemistry, physics, anthropology, palaeontology, zoology, geology-and even photography and history are essential parts by which the archaeologist or a scholar make his job work and come to accurate conclusions.

Looking at the “archai” or “arche”, the ancient or old things, considering the “logos” (“theory” or “science”) but also the word, we as scholars and the archaeologists are willing to come to see the logic of the past. Concerned with the study of beginnings the archaeologist and the anthropologist are essential to us as scholars wanting to see clear in what really happened and how the fork fits the stem. Both like us concerned with the study of humans, their origins, physical characteristics, institutions, religious beliefs, social relationships, etc. .

Archaeologists mapping their finds at Pachacamac, Peru, an indigenous town occupied from approximately 200 bce to 1532 ce, when it was sacked by conquistadors under the command of Francisco Pizarro.

Archaeologists mapping their finds at Pachacamac, Peru, an indigenous town occupied from approximately 200 bce to 1532 ce, when it was sacked by conquistadors under the command of Francisco Pizarro.

Archaeology for many may seem to be limited to the results of excavations which proceed methodically and eventually get technical reports published. The excavators – and often other scholars – then study those reports, and some of them proceed with the slow business of translating the recovered documents that were written on clay, papyrus, leather, or some other medium.

As bible scholars those people willing to dig in the dust, often in not such easy or pretty circumstances, are very important because they are enabling us to give a remarkable relevance to what is written in the the Holy Scriptures, and over the years a substantial case has been built up to show that the Bible is an excellent source book for the historian.

Those people who try to unearth and to expose these kinds of antiquity are enabling us to reconstruct the times and to recapture the atmosphere against which the heroes, the enemies, and the ordinary people of old lived and died.

Dr. Clifford Wilson, former director of The Australian Institute of Archaeology and founding president of the Pacific College Of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, writes

“Findings take place in expected places and in unexpected places as well.  If a cemetery is found near an ancient site, it is likely that some of the buried objects will be very relevant in reconstructing the life of the times-as will the broken fragments in many ruined houses.  Jewellery, weapons, clothing and food are also important in telling about previous civilisations.”

Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, and the royal death pits at Ur, are examples of the wealth buried with the royal dead, but even in the modest tombs of everyday people much is found that throws light on the manners and way of life of people of long ago.”

Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East. In this ...

Qumran in the West Bank, Middle East. In this cave the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. In dieser Höhle in Qumran wurden die Schriftrollen gefunden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Remains are found in many other places besides graves.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves alongside the Dead Sea; the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were both destroyed when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.  Herculaneum was covered by mud caused by the ash mixing with rain, while Pompeii was covered by the ash itself.  Dried-up lakes often yield information about people who lived in nearby houses. Wells are also important, especially because people drop things into them and so they are rich sources of ancient culture.  Often they are very deep-one at Beer-sheba was over 100 feet deep.”

According to Mary Leighton archaeologists and excavators may function as interchangeable cogs in a machine because the work of archaeology is to reveal objects (however broadly construed) in the ground. For her the “micropolitics” of fieldwork shape archaeological results outside of the prevailing conversation about field methods, procedures, and processes. Two projects with very different field practices will appear to employ similar methods and to produce comparable results.

English: Gustav Sixt, German scholar and archa...

Gustav Sixt, German scholar and archaeologist, at an archaeological site in Gleichen, Württemberg  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Problem with archaeology is that the researchers have to destruct something which is present for the daily eye. When going to excavate one has to be softly destructive … without destructivism… nothing can be build up.

Conscious about the importance of everything what is here present on earth, being a witness of the past we sincerely can hope that every archaeologist is fully aware of the importance of the material he has in front of him or her. He or she is the responsible that nothing becomes destroyed for ever.

Alan S and Sandy Gerrard remark

Any deposits removed during the course of an excavation are destroyed together with the information they held. It is therefore the duty of the archaeologist to ensure that as much accurate information as possible is collected.

If an excavation is not recorded correctly, any information from that excavation is lost forever. Therefore it is of prime importance that accurate records are kept of what has been excavated, and where. That includes any and all finds, features and samples, from all contexts. If records are not kept, knowledge is lost, and the damage to the archaeological record is total. {“All archaeology is destructive!” Is it? Some is…}

In terms of excavation techniques, it’s certainly true to say that carefully scraping away soil to reveal the hidden mysteries contained below is more rewarding than blindly shovelling earth to grab at hoped for treasures! {“All archaeology is destructive!” Is it?…}

All the material uncovered in the past and all the writings from the past should complement each other.

The phrase ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’, used by Sir Isaac Newton (but with a much earlier origin), is used to describe the practise of research by referring to, and building upon the work of others. A large part of desk-based archaeology is based upon this principle, and should involve meticulous reference to previous research, excavation reports etc. Much of this can be done using a myriad of resources including: the Archaeological Data Service, Heritage Environment Records, libraries, old maps, National and County Record Offices, museums, satellite and aerial imagery, LIDAR or 3D imaging, and extrapolating information therefrom to identify potential new areas of investigation, or to strengthen or extend existing theories. No new excavation or collection of field data is involved, but future excavation plans may result from any findings. {“All archaeology is destructive!” Is it?…}

English: Excavations at the Edgewater Park Sit...

Excavations at the Edgewater Park Site, Coralville Iowa, 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is of interest for the Bible scholar is whatever method archaeologists may prefer to use, we do hope they may offer us clear results and some good documented material over the researched and found material, giving us a better insight in the history of that area looked at and can give us more insight concerning the people living there.

For us biblical scholars and for in God believing people the work of archaeologists is useful to have an idea about how the different cultures related to each other and how they used gods or related to the Only One True God. Knowledge of different surrounding cultures is of real value in throwing light on Bible culture and customs. There are many examples where factual material in the Bible is better understood because of similar materials found in the settlements of Israel’s neighbours and in cultures far away from the origin of God’s People.


Preceding articles

Archaeology and the Bible researcher 1/4 Knowing what happened in previous times

Archaeology and the Bible researcher 2/4

Archaeology and the Bible researcher 3/4

Archaeology and the Bible researcher 4/4

History and Archaeology sciences looked at #1 Encyclopedism and enlightenment

Next: History and Archaeology sciences looked at #3 Nature of archaeological work


Additional reading

  1. Assyriologist brother Wilfred Lambert goes to sleep
  2. Blueprint for Ancient Egypt
  3. 2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem uncovered
  4. What date was the Flood?
  5. Entry to Herodian Hilltop Palace unearthed
  6. Shuafat and Arad Judahite literate places
  7. Bring praise to the Creator
  8. Many churches


Further reading

  1. “All archaeology is destructive!” Is it?…
  2. “All archaeology is destructive!” Is it? Some is…
  3. Writing Week: Chapter 1 Archaeology of the Contemporary World
  4. Agency, Ontology, and Archaeology of the Recent Past
  5. Rejiggering Slow Archaeology
  6. More Slow Archaeology
  7. Practice and Process in Archaeology
  8. Pseudoarchaeology
  9. An Archaeology of Care at the Society for Historical Archaeology
  10. Data, Digital Archaeology, and Publishing
  11. Slow Archaeology in Mobilizing the Past
  12. Ubik and Archaeology
  13. Method in the Archaeology of Late Antiquity
  14. More on a Method for Late Antique Archaeology
  15. An Archaeology of Early Christian Cyprus
  16. Early Christian Archaeology
  17. Mobility and Archaeology
  18. An Archaeology of Care: Toward a Definition
  19. Context in Archaeology
  20. More Philip K. Dick and Archaeology
  21. An Archaeology of Care in the Bakken Oil Patch
  22. The Festival of Archaeology 2016
  23. A Day of Archaeology 2016




7 thoughts on “History and Archaeology sciences looked at #2 Co-operative of excavators, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and culture morphologists

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