the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains, especially those that have been excavated.
Rare. ancient history; the study of antiquity.
Contemporary Examples

Hobbes lacked the data of archaeology and anthropology to inform his theories about the dangerous nature of pre-state existence.
War! What Is It Good For? A Lot Nick Romeo August 12, 2014

After almost 100 interrupted years, archaeology returns to Iraq.
Iraqi Archaeology’s Rebirth David Frum November 26, 2012

The first time I ever heard about archaeology was in the fifth grade when we learned about Richard Leakey.
The Real-Life Raiders of the Lost Ark Alex Belth November 13, 2014

Among these challengers is Olga Palagia, professor of archaeology at the University of Athens.
Amphipolis Tomb Yields Amazing Finds But Mysteries Linger James Romm October 16, 2014

Ruth Shady isn’t my anything; she is her own, completely original force in archaeology.
The Real-Life Raiders of the Lost Ark Alex Belth November 13, 2014

Historical Examples

The answers to these two problems should contribute importantly to our understanding of the archaeology of southern California.
The Topanga Culture Final Report on Excavations, 1948 A. E. Treganza

I have, as everybody knows, devoted my whole life to Egyptian archaeology.
Balthasar Anatole France

In Cairo, Huxley found much to interest him in archaeology, geology, and the every-day life of the streets.
Autobiography and Selected Essays Thomas Henry Huxley

This attitude of suspense is not without precedent in archaeology.
The Clyde Mystery Andrew Lang

Here again the theory borders on the domain of archaeology, and philology alone will not help us out of the difficulty.
The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria Morris Jastrow

the study of man’s past by scientific analysis of the material remains of his cultures See also prehistory, protohistory

c.1600, “ancient history,” from French archéologie (16c.) or directly from Greek arkhaiologia “the study of ancient things;” see archaeo- + -ology. Meaning “scientific study of ancient peoples” recorded by 1825. Related: Archaeological; archaeologically.
archaeology or archeology
The scientific study of past human life and culture by the examination of physical remains, such as graves, tools, and pottery.
archaeology [(ahr-kee-ol-uh-jee)]

The recovery and study of material objects, such as graves, buildings, tools, artworks, and human remains, to investigate the structure and behavior of past cultures. Archaeologists rely on physical remains as clues to the emergence and development of human societies and civilizations. Anthropologists, by contrast, to interact with living people to study their cultures.


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  • Archaeologist

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  • Archaeomagnetism

    noun an archaeological technique for dating certain clay objects by measuring the extent to which they have been magnetized by the earth’s magnetic field

  • Archaeomagnetism dating

    the dating of archaeological specimens by determination of the magnetic alignment of objects containing ferromagnetic materials, as baked clay pots, within undisturbed archaeological sites.

  • Archaeometry

    the branch of archaeology that deals with the dating of archaeological specimens through specific techniques, as radiocarbon dating and amino-acid dating.

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