What is a site? Illustration

Archaeology for Kids
What is a site?

A archaeological site is any place where there are physical remains of past human activities. To find these important clues to human life and activity in ancient times, archaeologists quite often have to actually dig up the earth. That's why a site is nicknamed a "dig".

There are two kinds of sites - historic and prehistoric. Do you know the difference? It's easy. It all has to do with written records.

  • An historical archaeological site is a place WITH written records. These written records help archaeologists in their research. Historical sites include places in populated modern cities, or places under a lake, a river, or a sea. Historical archaeological sites include shipwrecks, battlefields, and cemeteries, and other places with partial or complete records of existence. An archaeologist might find a written record and then hunt for the site. Or, they might find a site and use written records to help them better understand past human activities at that site.

  • A prehistoric archaeological site is a place WITHOUT written records. These sites includes villages and cities in ancient times. It can include rock art, ancient cemeteries, stone monuments from ancient times. A site could be as small as small pile of tools left behind. Or it could be as large as the digs going on right now all over the world in places archaeologists hope to find remains of human life in ancient times. For example, a helpful clue to a prehistoric site might be a huge mound of earth in the Amazon jungle. Sometimes prehistoric sites are discovered accidentally, often when farmers are planting or builders are building, and they turn up something exciting to archaeologists.

List of Archaeological Sites by Continent and Country