Were There Archaeologists in Ancient Times?

Archaeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. It is a field that has become increasingly popular in recent years, but were there archaeologists in ancient times Let’s explore this question further.

What is archaeology

Before we dive into whether or not there were archaeologists in ancient times, let’s define what exactly archaeology is. Archaeology is the scientific study of human history and prehistory through the excavation and analysis of artifacts, architecture, biofacts (remains of plants and animals), and other physical remains. It aims to reconstruct past human behavior, culture, and societal organization.

Early forms of archaeological excavation

While archaeology as a discipline did not exist in ancient times, there are instances where early humans engaged in what we might consider early forms of archaeological excavation. For example, ancient Egyptians would often reuse old tombs for new burials.

In doing so, they would remove the old burial goods and leave them scattered around the tomb. This inadvertently created an archaeological record that modern-day scholars can study.

The Antiquarian movement

The Antiquarian movement began during the Renaissance period when individuals started to take an interest in collecting ancient artifacts. These individuals were not necessarily interested in studying history or prehistory; rather, they were collectors who appreciated ancient objects for their beauty or rarity. The Antiquarian movement paved the way for modern-day archaeology by preserving many important artifacts that might have otherwise been lost.

The birth of modern-day archaeology

The birth of modern-day archaeology is often attributed to Heinrich Schliemann’s discovery of Troy in 1871. Schliemann was a self-taught archaeologist who used the works of Homer as a guide to locate the ancient city. His discovery inspired other scholars to take an interest in archaeology and sparked the development of modern-day archaeological techniques.

Conclusion

While there were no archaeologists in ancient times, early humans engaged in what we might consider early forms of archaeological excavation. The Antiquarian movement preserved many important artifacts that might have otherwise been lost, and the discovery of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann sparked the development of modern-day archaeological techniques. Today, archaeology is a thriving field that continues to reveal new insights into our past.