archaeology

Archaeology is the study of past cultures through material remains. These material remains might be a majestic pyramid, a trashpit, or a broken tool. Everything is a clue, and archaeologists are like detectives, piecing together the clues to figure out what life was like long ago. Over time, most things from the past decay or get buried underground. Archaeologists often have to dig or excavate to find the clues.

Word Origin: from the Greek word arkhaios, meaning ancient
What: the study of past cultures from the things left behind
Where: everywhere, including under water
How: excavation and analysis of material remains
Common finds: pottery, ruins of buildings, tools

Image credits: courtesy of Charles Spencer; Chuck Spencer: courtesy of AMNH.