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History Of Archaeology

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The history of
archaeology has been
one of increasing
professionalism, and
the use of an increasing
range of techniques, to
obtain as much data on
the site being examined
as possible.
Origins (antiquities
collection era)
See also: Antiquarian
and History of Chinese
The exact origins of
archaeology as a
discipline are uncertain.
Excavations of ancient
monuments and the
collection of antiquities
have been taking place
for thousands of years.
Tentative steps
towards archaeology as
a science took place
during the of
Enlightenment, also
known as the Age of
Reason, in Europe in the
17th and 18th centuries.
Archaeology in the
Middle East began with
the study of the
ancient Near East by
Muslim historians in the
medieval Islamic world
who developed an
interest in learning
about pre-Islamic
cultures. In particular,
they most often
concentrated on the
archaeology and history
of pre-Islamic Arabia,
Mesopotamia and
ancient Egypt. In
Egyptology, the first
known attempts at
deciphering Egyptian
hieroglyphs were made
in Islamic Egypt by Dhul-
Nun al-Misri and Ibn
Wahshiyya in the 9th
century. It has recently
been argued by Okasha
El Daly that these
Arab scholars at least
partly understand what
was written in the
ancient Egyptian
hieroglyphs, by relating
them to the
contemporary Coptic
language used by Coptic
priests in their time.
However, El Daly's
claims are considered
over-reaching by other
Abdul Latif al-Baghdadi,
a teacher at Cairo's Al-
Azhar University in the
13th century, wrote
detailed descriptions on
ancient Egyptian
. Al-Baghdadi and
other Muslim historians
such as Abu al-Hassan
al-Hamadani of Yemen
(died 945) and Al-Idrisi
of Egypt (died 1251)
developed elaborate
archaeological methods
which they employed in
their excavations and
research of ancient
archaeological sites.
The 15th-century
Egyptian historian Al-
Maqrizi also wrote
detailed accounts of
Egyptian antiquities.
During the Song
Dynasty (960–1279) of
China, educated gentry
were interested in
antiquarian pursuits of
art collecting while Neo-
Confucian scholar-
officials were concerned
with archaeological
pursuits in order to
revive the use of
ancient relics in state
rituals. This was
criticized by the
polymath official Shen
Kuo (1031–1095), who
endorsed the idea that
materials, technologies,
and objects of antiquity
should be studied for
their functionality and
for the discovery of
ancient manufacturing
techniques. In his
Dream Pool Essays of
1088, Shen Kuo took an
approach to
archaeology, fusing that
subject with his work in
optics, metallurgy,
music, and geometry.
Yet there were others
who took the discipline
as seriously as Shen did;
the official, historian,
poet, and essayist
Ouyang Xiu (1007–1072)
compiled an analytical
catalogue of ancient
rubbings on stone and
bronze which pioneered
ideas in early epigraphy
and archaeology.


What is Archeology?

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