What is Archeology? Definition, Development History, and Benefits

What is Archeology? Definition, History of Development, and Its Benefits in the Scientific Field – Surely you have studied at school about how the times progressed from prehistoric times to modern times as it is today. In the lesson on history, it must also be closely related to various remains such as for example the discovery of ancient human fossils, inscriptions from royal relics in the past, or even various artifacts that can be found from various eras which are part of history.

In every discovery of these historical objects we can also know based on research conducted by people who are experts in that field. The studies that succeeded in finding historical objects were carried out by a professional in his field or commonly called an archaeologist.

An archaeologist is a job performed by someone who is interested in and directly involved with world history and discoveries that are usually buried in the ground. These findings are not always located in places that have potential historical value but can also be found in the yards of local residents’ houses in certain areas.

An archaeologist is an expert in the field of archeology, namely the field of science that studies history and its development and takes part in the process of finding these historical objects. Archeology plays an important role as the main source of knowledge about ancient prehistoric cultures and may have been considered extinct. Archeology studies human life and culture in the past.

Research on archeology is carried out by exploration and excavation or excavation. As a branch of science, archeology conducts research by searching, profiling, analyzing and interpreting data, whether in the form of artifacts, inscriptions and other objects of historical value.

Definition of Archeology

What is archeology? Archeology is the study of human culture from different eras by combining historical and geological sciences. Someone who studies this scientific study is referred to as a student majoring in archeology who in their studies will study material on the cultural history of various artifacts from time to time, such as inscriptions and paintings found in various locations.

Apart from that, someone who studies in this field of knowledge will also learn how to dig up ancient artifacts, study historical facts behind artifacts, estimate the age of artifacts, the initial movements of the evolution of objects, humans and of course will also learn about museum organization.

Archeology or a scientific field that studies ancient history is a science that studies past (human) cultures through a systematic study of documentary data. Systematic studies include discovery, documentation, analysis, cultural values, norms, customs, customary laws, and interpretation of data in the form of artifacts (material culture, such as axes, stones and temples) and ecofac (environmental objects, such as rocks, earth features, and the like). ). Fossils and their characteristics (artifacts cannot be separated from their location (archaeological site).

A special research technique is archaeological excavation (excavation), even though investigative techniques are still archaeological in nature. . The goals of archeology are varied and subject to long debate, including what are known as archaeological models, constructing cultural history, understanding changes in the attitudes of living things, and understanding the processes of cultural change. Because it aims to understand the culture of living things including humans, this science belongs to the humanities group.

However, various supporting sciences are used, including history, anthropology, geology (with the knowledge of the layers of the earth’s formation as a reference for the relative age of a discovery), archeology), geography, architecture, paleontology and biological anthropology, physics (including carbon c-14 for absolute dating), metallurgy (for obtaining elements of metal objects), and philology (study of ancient manuscripts).

Archeology today covers a wide range of related fields. For example, the discovery of a buried corpse will arouse the interest of experts from various fields to study the clothing and the type of material used, the shape of the pottery and how it is used, the pattern of distribution, beliefs about what was buried with the body. corpses, chemists can determine the age of excavations through methods such as carbon-14 measurements. Meanwhile, geneticists who wanted to know the movements of the first human migrations, they examined their DNA.

In particular, archeology studies past, ancient cultures, both in prehistoric (before writing was known) and historical periods (when written evidence is available). In its development, archeology can also study contemporary culture, as is usual in the study of modern material culture (modern material culture). Because it is based on objects from the past, archeology really needs to preserve these objects as a source of reference data. From there, another discipline developed, namely management of archaeological resources (Archaeological Resources Management), or more broadly, management of cultural resources (CRM, Culture Resources Management).

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), archeology is defined as the study of life and ancient culture through their remains, such as household utensils and statues. Archeology in English is called archeology or archeology. From the Encyclopedia Britannica (2015), archeology is the scientific study of the remains of material life and past human activities.

Archeology plays an important role as a major source of knowledge of ancient and possibly extinct cultures. According to A. Nurkidam and Hasmiah Herawaty in their book Archeology as an Introduction (2019), etymologically the word archeology comes from the Greek archeo and logo. Archeo means ancient and logo means knowledge. Meanwhile, from a terminological point of view, archeology is defined as a science that studies the socio-cultural aspects of the past through the remains of found materials, with the aim of compiling and describing these ‘events’.

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Understanding Archeology According to Experts

  • Paul Bahn: Archeology is the systematic study of the past based on material culture with the aim of unraveling, interpreting and classifying cultural heritage, describing the forms and behavior of past peoples and studying human history.
  • Grahame Clark: Archeology as the systematic study of ancient documents to reshape history. It also explores how we became humans with souls and spirits before writing systems existed.
  • Brian Fagan: Archeology is the past science of ancient human behavior from time immemorial. It also puts all humans on the same footing.
  • Cottrell Leonard: Archeology as a human story concerns remains such as the tools used, monuments, human skeletons, and whatever is the result of their innovations.
  • Siegfried J. de Laet: Archeology as a discipline and a branch of history.
  • Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abd. Rahman: Originally a form of study of ancient documents through systematic descriptive methods around the 19th century and now as a discipline that aims to reshape cultural history, lifestyles and cultural processes of prehistoric, prehistoric and historical societies by studying artifacts and non-artifacts and looking at it in an environmental context.
  • Walter Taylor: Archeology is not history or anthropology. A distinct scientific discipline with a specific group of methods and techniques for gathering or gathering information about culture.

History of Development

Based on historical records, in the 6th century BC or around 556 BC to 539 BC, King Nabonidus and his daughter excavated the ruins of a communal house in the form of a temple in ancient times. The purpose of this excavation is to see the foundations of ancient buildings from the past. In the 5th century BC, Herodotus, a Greek scholar, collected ethnographic data and observations on the customs of the ancient Egyptians, Scythians, Greeks, and Persians. Herodotus is known as the father of anthropology and history. For centuries, ethnography has been the principal means of gathering research data on the past. Archeology was known during the Renaissance. At that time, many experts studied ancient ruins in Greece and Italy. Until 1800, archeology was not part of science. However, archeology continues to develop as a method of collecting ancient data. Final,

  • Age of antiquity (prehistory – 1820)

Antiquity is a combination of the word “ancient” and the English ending “-ism”. According to the Dewan Language and Literature Dictionary, ancient means someone who studies, collects, and sells antiques while “-ism” means personality and behavior. It can be concluded that, “antiques” refers to the attitudes and behavior of those who research, collect, and trade antiques. The term most commonly used in English is archaic or archaic. The term first appeared in the 15th century as an offshoot of the history of Renaissance Humanism

  • Prehistoric Archeology (1820-1920)

Prehistoric archeology flourished in Europe and the United States. The field of archeology today is more focused on depicting and recreating past life and looking at culture in a normative way. This is also reinforced by the existence of many theories that can be used in the field. In short, the story of today’s archaeological development is the construction and strengthening of research methods which are the results of theories collected from various scientific disciplines. This shows that archeology is a multidisciplinary field.

From geology, the idea of ​​soil layers was derived by James Hutton while Charles Lyell’s theory of homogeneity was used to study the development of human archeology. This also proves that the view of the Bible at that time was not correct because for them human existence had existed since 4002 BC. But according to geological studies, the age of the earth is much older than the time suggested by the Bible. The three-age system proposed by Christian Jurgensen Thomsen facilitates the division of time according to artifacts, namely the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

  • Ancient Archaeological Age (1920-1960)

Ancient archeology, also known as traditional archeology, is a period of great change from a theoretical and methodological point of view. Excavations were also carried out and important discoveries were discovered and recorded, such as the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Ur burial at Chalaea and a prehistoric cave at Lascaux. Surveying techniques such as photographic applications were developed by OGS Crawford whereas in terms of excavation techniques they are deeper and better than ever in excavating, documenting, illustrating and interpreting Mortimer Wheeler, common in excavation sites in southern England and northern France between 193 and 1937 .

  • New Age Archeology (1960–2000)

New Archeology was introduced by Lewis Binford, an American archaeologist, and British David Clarke in the mid-1960s.

  • Developments in Indonesia

Indonesian archaeologists are members of the Association of Indonesian Archaeologists or IAAI. Notable Indonesian archaeological figures include R. Soekmono, who directed the restoration of Borobudur Temple, and RP Soejono, founder and president of the first Indonesian Association of Archaeologists and former director of the National Center for Archaeological Research.

Archeology in Indonesia is still characterized by chronological divisions, namely prehistoric, classical period (Hindu-Buddhist period), Islamic period and colonial period. So, in Indonesian archeology there are chronological specialties, namely prehistoric archeology, classical archeology, Islamic archeology, and colonial archeology. One feature of Indonesian archeology is the inclusion of the discipline of symbolism, which focuses on reading ancient inscriptions. Today, developments have given rise to special interests such as ethnographic archeology, underwater archeology and archeology. There are also sub-disciplines that develop as a result of contact with other sciences, such as environmental archeology or ecological archeology, economic archeology, art archeology, archeology and archeology, demography and architectural archeology.

The Benefits of Archeology in the Scientific Field

Archeology is a science that is useful in providing insight to people about life in the past. This knowledge is also useful in providing knowledge about human civilization. Archeology helps humans gain knowledge and understand the origins and events that have occurred. Archaeological research can also get a number of benefits, including;

  • Exploring Historical Objects
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Of course, to study archeology, one would know the remains of historical times. The reason is, in archeology, people are familiar with studying historical artifacts to find out the process of cultural change from the past to the present.

  • Increase historical scientific research

Archaeological research also helps to further elevate a person by increasing the study of history that happened in his past. Because in archeology, new knowledge is obtained and can be used by archaeologists in carrying out their duties.

  • Knowing more about human culture

Archeology also allows people to get to know human culture better, especially in the past. Because in this archeology, an archaeologist or someone who is an expert in their field will see and analyze human culture from the beginning, from the pre-literacy process to the post-literacy process.

  • Increase knowledge base

The next benefit of archeology is that it can add to the knowledge base. Indirectly it can be ascertained that by studying archeology, one can gain new knowledge and know more historical sources. This is because in archeology itself what is most often studied is culture in historical times from the remains of its monuments.

  • Able to categorize every culture that exists in human life.

By studying archeology, one can also classify every culture that exists in human life. This means that one can see how and when people in historical time have experienced cultural changes over time.

  • Tracing the Early History of Human Life From the Past to the Present

Finally, the benefit of studying archeology is that it can reveal the early history of human life in the past to the earliest times. Cultural changes occur in the present. This of course must be adjusted to the historical chronological meaning of what happened.

Goals of Archeology

In the journal Center for Research and Research on Archeology of West Kalimantan (2013) by Benson Manalu, archeology in general aims to collect accurate data about past life. If described, the science of archeology has three main objectives, namely:

  • To present the cultural history of society in the past.
  • Show how people lived in the past.
  • Symbolizes the process of cultural change in the past.

Research Stage in Archeology

Stages of Archaeological Research According to the Archaeological Museum of Ontario, archaeological research is divided into four main stages, namely:

  • Data collection

At this stage, archaeologists will try to get an idea of ​​the potential data in the area of ​​the archaeological site. This step is also done by studying maps and historical documents related to the place. Data collection also includes the process of surveying or observing the area of ​​ancient sites. In addition to surveys, data collection is also often carried out by systematic excavation or excavation methods.

  • Data processing

After the initial stage, the data collected is usually in the form of artifacts (ancient historical objects), ecological artifacts (objects that are part of human life that do not change) and/or features (archaeological objects that cannot be separated) from the site. archeology). In the second step, the data must be classified into predefined groups. Examples are numbered and listed by category. This classification is intended to facilitate the data analysis process in the next step.

  • Data analysis

After the data is processed, the next step is to analyze it. The analysis step is carried out by looking for relationships or relationships between the resulting data. This relationship can be seen from the production technique, size, color, decoration, usage or others. The process of data analysis takes a long time because many data results may be damaged. The process also requires extraordinary patience and precision in observing every detail.

  • Data Disclosure

The final step is to report and publish the data. Reporting is intended as a form of accountability on the part of the clergy. At the same time, the data release is intended to inform the public about the results and analysis. Data publication can be done through the publication of books and/or journals. In addition, this can also be done by organizing photography and video publication exhibitions.




Thus a brief discussion of the definition of archeology. The discussion this time does not only discuss the definition of archeology but also discusses the definition of several experts regarding archeology, the history of archaeological development, the benefits of archeology in everyday life and the stages in archaeological research. Understanding the notion of archeology allows us to add new insights into the world’s historical setting and developments that we as laypeople rarely know.

And make us to take part because we are also part of ongoing history. That’s a review of the notion of archeology. For Sinaumed’s who want to learn all about the notion of archeology and other historical related knowledge, you can visit sinaumedia.com to get related books. As #FriendsWithoutLimits, sinaumedia always provides the best products, so you have the best and latest information for you. To support Sinaumed’s in adding insight, sinaumedia always provides quality and original books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.

Author: Pandu Akram