How Do Archaeologists And Anthropologists Work Together

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

In many ways, archaeologist and anthropologist are very similar professions in the social sciences. According to the American Anthropological Association, archeology is one of anthropology’s four subfields. In order to be successful in the field of archaeology or anthropology, you must have a thorough knowledge of these disciplines, their research methods, and the theoretical underpinnings they rely on. Archaeology and anthropology can be seen as complementary fields.

Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology or Archeology

Human behavior is the focus of anthropology and its subfields, which include archaeology, by definition. Everything from human evolution to word usage and meanings is covered in this wide-ranging field, which is called linguistic anthropology or linguistic archaeology. Anthropologists frequently seek to learn more about culture from the past as well as the present.

An anthropologist’s goal of learning more about human behavior and society is the same whether they are advising policymakers on how to implement a program or digging up shards of pottery from a long-dead civilization.

Anthropology’s evidence is based on artifacts.

It is the goal of archaeologists to unearth tangible remains that can shed light on previous civilizations’ human populations. In the process of sifting through the buried remnants of the past, archeologists often unearth much more than just physical objects. Anthropologists of all specialties rely on these artifacts to develop and test hypotheses about what it means to be human, as well as how human societies and civilizations function and change over time.

Archaeologists conduct their research by surveying the geographic areas associated with a civilization and then meticulously planning the excavation of these sites. Archeologists are responsible for more than just finding artifacts; they also clean and restore them, authenticate them, and use technology to determine their age. Archaeologists use detailed observations and written descriptions of the artifacts they find to make connections between artifacts and the civilizations that produced them.

An anthropologist’s theory about an ancient culture’s way of life, economy, or technological use can be confirmed by looking at an artifact. Another possibility is that anthropologists will come up with an entirely new theory as a result of an unexpected discovery.

Archeological Findings Have a Context Thanks to Anthropology’s Basic Principles

Even if archeological artifacts were unearthed, they would have no bearing on our understanding of human civilization and behavior if the foundations of anthropology were not established. There are many subfields within the larger field of anthropology that focus on the question of what it means to be human.

Archaeological and historical artifacts have meaning because of the context in which they were found. An ancient piece of pottery that’s been broken into pieces is more valuable than its intrinsic value because it’s a piece of priceless evidence that tells us something important about the past. Is it even possible for these artifacts to be kept in museums and historical sites if there is no recognized ability to learn from them?

It is important for students who want to work in anthropology or archaeology to have a basic understanding of the other discipline. Archeology majors also take courses in cultural anthropology and anthropological research in various parts of the world. Students majoring in anthropology are required to take at least one course on archeological research methods and how to examine and analyze artifacts.

Anthropologists and archeologists may collaborate in various capacities throughout the course of their careers. Anthropologists and archaeologists both conduct fieldwork, but anthropologists are more concerned with interviewing and observing living people, while archaeologists are more interested in the relics of human societies that have been lost to time.

Archaeologists and anthropologists who focus on the past share more in common than modern anthropologists do on how public policy, economic development, and other programs affect modern cultures.

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