Archaeology for Kids
What is the job
of an archaeologist?
Archaeology is the scientific study of human life by looking at artifacts, at the man-made objects that people who lived long ago have left behind. Paleontologists are not archaeologists; they study fossils. Historians are not archaeologists; the mostly study written records. Archaeologists are the scientists who study artifacts, man-made objects that people have left behind.
Archaeologists are like detectives. By looking at artifacts, they try to figure out how long ago people lived, how they governed themselves, what art they created, their religious beliefs, their technology, science, and invention, and their daily life. Clues archaeologists use to answer these and other questions about past civilizations can sometimes be found in the artifacts they dig up.
While looking for artifacts to study, archaeologists can find themselves in some very dangerous situations. Archaeologists have explored ruins deep in jungles; dug up remains of villages in dangerous deserts; and have even searched underwater - but archaeologists are so curious about the past, that they are willing to brave the dangers of poisonous animals and plants, of unclean conditions, or an unfriendly political climate, to discover more about human life through the study of artifacts.