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ARCHAEOLOGY A BRIEF INTRODUCTION. JUST IMAGINE… … what if you woke up this morning and realised YOU HAD NO MEMORIES AT ALL … even your own name and age?

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Presentation on theme: "ARCHAEOLOGY A BRIEF INTRODUCTION. JUST IMAGINE… … what if you woke up this morning and realised YOU HAD NO MEMORIES AT ALL … even your own name and age?"— Presentation transcript:

1 ARCHAEOLOGY A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

2 JUST IMAGINE… … what if you woke up this morning and realised YOU HAD NO MEMORIES AT ALL … even your own name and age? Discuss with your neighbour: How would you feel? What questions would you ask? How would you find answers to your questions?

3 NO MEMORIES?? As you have all pointed out, having no memories is SCARY! MEMORIES are the key to our IDENTITY If we do not know what happened in our past, we will not know who we are

4 HOW WOULD YOU FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE? Objects can provide clues If you lost your memory, finding a family photo and school report book would answer many of your questions

5 WHY DO WE NEED ARCHAEOLOGY? In the same way, mankind often “forgets” what happened in the past There are still many, many mysteries hidden in the distant past Ancient objects are often our only clues about how people lived long ago

6 WHAT DOES IT MEAN? ARCHAEOLOGY is derived from these Greek words: ARKHAIOS (ancient) + LOGIA (the study of) So it literally means “the study of ancient things”

7 WHAT IS CONSIDERED “ANCIENT”? Generally speaking, “Ancient” simply refers to the very distant past Some historians roughly divide human history into Ancient, Middle and Modern ages. The “Ancient” segment stretches from the earliest human records to about 500 AD

8 WHAT IS CONSIDERED “ANCIENT”? Human history is approximately divided into these segments: 1 AD 1 BC Ancient Age Earliest human records – c.500 AD Middle Ages c.500 AD – c.15 th Century Modern Times c.15 th Century - Present Timeline is NOT drawn to scale

9 WHAT DOES AN ARCHAEOLOGIST DO? Refer to Textbook 5A (pg ) Summary: Archaeologists are SCIENTISTS who study ARTEFACTS and human remains Artefacts are objects from the past They must first be carefully dug up from the ground These objects give us vital clues about the time period they are from

10 WHAT AN “ARCHAEOLOGIST” SHOULD NOT DO… In the 1870s, a German named Heinrich Schliemann dreamt of proving that the legendary city of Troy really existed Unfortunately he had no proper archaeological training

11 WHAT AN “ARCHAEOLOGIST” SHOULD NOT DO… The GOOD NEWS: He found the site in modern-day Turkey where 10 layers of ancient cities were built, each on top of the older city. This included Troy. Treasures from a city 1,000 years older than Troy were found The BAD NEWS: In his haste for fame, he used dynamite to blast through the layers Ironically, he destroyed forever many artefacts from the ACTUAL city of Troy!

12 WHAT CAN OBJECTS FROM THE PAST TELL US? Surprisingly, a lot! The AGE of the object (how old it is) Many methods can be used, such as Carbon- 14 or Fluorine testing The CLIMATE at that time The rings formed inside ancient trees record this A dead person’s AGE, HEALTH and DIET Teeth can give clues about these Even how a dead person LOOKED like!

13 FACIAL RECONSTRUCTION This male skeleton was found near the ancient monument called Stonehenge in England Displayed next to it is a model of the man’s face as he may have looked when alive

14 HIGH-TECH TOOLS New and powerful methods are now providing incredible discoveries For example a medical CAT scanner was used to create 3-D X-Ray models of ancient Egyptian mummies, without having to open their coffins Even blood vessels could be seen, allowing medical diagnosis of the person’s cause of death

15 MUMMY IN CAT SCAN secrets-of-the-mummies.html

16 LIDAR (LIGHT DETECTION AND RANGING) Using a laser mounted on an aircraft, vast areas can be mapped in 3-D This technology can “see” through thick jungles It used to take centuries to uncover lost cities in jungles – now it takes minutes

17 LIDAR FINDS A LOST CITY In June 2013, the results of a secret expedition were announced Using LIDAR, a city entirely unknown to archaeologists was found in Cambodia (not too far from Singapore!) Even local people did not know of its existence Hence it has been untouched in the misty jungle for 1200 years!

18 TEST YOUR DEDUCTIVE SKILLS! A longstanding question of history has always been: WHO BUILT THE MASSIVE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT? In 450 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt, 2,000 years after the Pyramids were built. (Even to him, it was ‘ancient’!) He was told that slaves were forced to build them – and this became an accepted fact. It became easy to ASSUME that such a gigantic structure could only have been built using cruel slave labour

19 TEST YOUR DEDUCTIVE SKILLS! Recent excavations near the Great Pyramid in Egypt have revealed that: There was a vast campsite for workers Workers were divided into groups with names like “Endurance” and “Perfection”. They signed their group name on the stone blocks which they moved Huge quantities of cattle and fish bones were found in the camp Skeletons showed signs of surgery and healing of bones WHAT INFERENCES CAN YOU MAKE ABOUT THE WORKERS WHO BUILT THE PYRAMIDS?

20 DID YOU MAKE THE SAME INFERENCES AS THE EXPERTS? Based on their discoveries, archaeologists now believe that: Workers had enough food and received medical care They took pride in their work Archaeologists thus concluded that: The workers were clearly NOT slaves who were cruelly treated It is likely that people wanted to work on the Pyramid out of loyalty to the Pharaoh and love for their nation Sources:

21 Before this excavation, we knew very little about the ordinary people who built the Pyramids The idea that slaves were used was passed down and believed by most experts Now we have new evidence to disprove this WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

22 WHAT WE HAVE LEARNT Archaeology is a study of the ancient past There are still many things we do not know about the past Excavated artefacts give us clues about life in the past Our knowledge of the past is continually growing, as new evidence comes to light

23 THINK! Does your family have an HEIRLOOM? something precious which was passed down the generations? How would you feel if it was STOLEN or accidentally SMASHED?

24 CARING FOR THE PAST There are countless examples around the world of priceless artefacts being destroyed Some ancient sites are destroyed out of carelessness or greed In 2013, a Mayan pyramid 2,300 years old was destroyed in Belize…so that its bricks could be used to make roads Local archaeologist: "It's like being punched in the stomach, it's just so horrendous."

25 CARING FOR THE PAST What are the consequences when such tragedies happen? What can we do to prevent such destructive acts?

26 CARING FOR THE PAST Artefacts are also looted (stolen) for profit and smuggled around the world There are strict international laws to prevent the looting, export and sale of such items, but it remains a serious problem In Dec 2013, it was reported that the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore had bought a sculpture from an art dealer in New York This sculpture was allegedly stolen from India and smuggled into the USA ACM has denied any wrongdoing. This case is currently still under investigation

27 OUR SHARED RESPONSIBILITY The treasures of the past are the shared inheritance of humanity They must be protected for all future generations as well!


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