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 Archaeological evidence is limited by the survival of objects from the past.  This survival depends on many factors including:  the material from.

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Presentation on theme: " Archaeological evidence is limited by the survival of objects from the past.  This survival depends on many factors including:  the material from."— Presentation transcript:

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2  Archaeological evidence is limited by the survival of objects from the past.  This survival depends on many factors including:  the material from which it was made  the environmental conditions that it is subjected to  the actions of humans

3  Objects that are made of stone, brick, gold, bronze, clay and other dense material will survive fairly well.  Organic material such as charcoal, human remains and vegetable matter will decay rapidly.  The preservation and destruction of evidence is very important to the study of archaeology and history, because the destruction of evidence leaves large gaps in the evidence, making it difficult to complete a picture of the past.

4 1. Climate  Very dry climates in desert regions, absence of moisture. Example: Wooden ships buried near the pyramids of Egypt  Water logged areas such as Peat Bogs. Acid in the soil helps preserve organic material. Example: Tollund Man & Lindow man in Danish Peat bogs.  Very cold climates. Act like a refrigerator. Example: Iceman, 5000 year old body in Austrian Alps.

5 Naturally mummified body of “Ginger”: Egypt 3200BC

6 Wooden ship buried besides the pyramid of Khufu in Egypt

7 Tomb of Tutankhamun: Egypt 14th Century BC

8 Tollund Man, Denmark approx years old

9 Windeby “girl” first century AD

10 The Iceman, Austria: 5000 years old

11 2. Geological Conditions  Composition of the soil which objects are buried. Chemicals of object may react with chemicals in soil preventing decay. Example: Woolly Rhino in South East Poland. Calcium in soil turned bones into hard soil.  Natural disaster such as volcanic eruption, sand storm or mud slide burying and preserving objects. Example: Pompeii and Herculaneum buried by volcanic ash and mud by eruption Mt Vesuvius 79AD

12 Woolly Rhinoceros, Poland

13 Preserved baby Woolly Mammoth, 20,000 years old, Northern Russia

14 Pompeii, buried by volcanic eruption of Mt Vesuvius 79AD

15 3. Actions of People  Burial customs have preserved bodies and objects. Example: Egyptian mummification  Building up of debris by people – “dumping” Example: A Tell in the city of Ur in the Near-East. Build up of human debris.  Fire – can sometimes preserve objects by carbonising them. Example: Clay tablets at Knossos and Pylos carbonised by fire  Hoarding – in times of trouble such as war, people sometimes bury their belongings to secure them. Example: Roman treasure found in England, hidden at time of Anglo-Saxon invasion

16 Tell at Ur, Mesopotamia approx 3000 BC

17 Clay Tablet of “Linear B”: Knossos, Crete approx 1500 BC

18 ObjectDamp ClimateDry Climate StoneSeveral million years Greek Pot2000 years9000 years GoldSeveral thousand years Glass3000 years3500 years WoodA few hundred yearsSeveral thousand years FabricA few hundred years4000 years Papyrus years4000 years Human fleshA few weeksA few years Human BonesA few monthsA few hundred years

19  The natural process of decay has destroyed a vast amount of evidence from the past.  Other factors that have contributed to the destruction of evidence include:  Natural disasters  Human actions  Plants and Animals

20 1. Human Agents  Warfare Whole cities and towns have been destroyed by war. Eg. Babylon in Mesopotamia damaged from wars in Iraq.  Progress Old buildings torn down for newer ones.  Tomb Robbers Robing / looting of tombs. Lost contents. Eg. Tombs in Valley of the Kings  Pollution Of the 20th Century is destroying archaeological sources. Eg.smog in Athens destroying stonework of Parthenon.  Tourism Crowds of people to see ancient sites. Touching items. Eg. Tutankhamun’s Tomb

21 Athens: The Acropolis – Pollution is destroying the stonework.

22 Baalbek, Lebanon. Damaged in warfare 2007

23 2) Plants and Animals  Overgrown plants can crack and destroy stonework.  Rats and mice eat through durable material  Fungi and bacterial growth destroy ancient objects.

24 Angkor, Cambodia: attacked by vegetation.

25 Cats at the Colosseum are damaging the monument.

26  What strategies can you think of to help solve the problem of evidence being destroyed?  What could you do in to help reduce the destruction of archaeological evidence in the following situations: 1. Millions of tourists each year visit Tutankhamun’s tomb. Touching the walls, breathing out carbon dioxide all slowly deteriorate the wall paintings in his burial chamber. 2. Plants are growing through the temples at Angkor Watt in Cambodia. If not contained they will eventually destroy the buildings. 3. A shopping centre is being built in Thessaloniki in Greece. When digging starts for the footings, ancient Greek ruins are found buried under the ground. If the Shopping centre is built the archaeological evidence will be destroyed.


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