The archaeologist is first a descriptive worker doing the systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material, evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery, to prove or disprove upheld ideas and to provide a thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgement. Some may even consider his or her work as part of anthropology, seeking to document and explain continuity and change and similarities and differences among human cultures.
Opposite to the anthropologist who can go to the people he or she is going to research and can encounter living material, the archaeologists work with the material remains of cultures, past and present, providing the only source of information available for past nonliterate societies and supplementing written sources for historical and contemporary groups.
His or her task is to describe, classify, and analyse the artefacts (ornaments or objects) being found and studied. An adequate and objective taxonomy is the basis of all archaeology, and many good archaeologists spend their lives in this activity of description and classification of objects according to certain criteria. But the main aim of the archaeologist is to place the material remains in historical contexts, to supplement what may be known from written sources, and, thus, to increase understanding of the past. Ultimately, then, the archaeologist is an annalist, antiquarian, chronologist, chronicler, historian and historiographer: his or her aim being the interpretive description of the past of man.
In my previous writings looking at the history of archaeology you may remember that though many consider archaeology a very young discipline, we can find already interested researchers excavating grounds in the 15th century. Italy might have been such place of interest at that time people wanting to know more about ancient Greece and the philosophers and culture of the Greeks and Romans. Later the comprehensive science that studies the language, writing, history, culture, and archaeological remains of ancient Egypt, Egyptology found its place in the historical research.
Archaeology and the Bible researcher 1/4 Knowing what happened in previous times