Archaeology in the Lab (video)

Archaeology in the Lab (video)

For every hour of field work, archaeologists spend at least four hours in the laboratory. Each item found must be carefully cleaned and then catalogued to record where it was discovered. Pottery fragments are fitted together to determine the size and shape of the original pots. Measuring artifacts helps to identify the patterns followed by the people who made these objects.

Archaeologists work closely with other scientists to determine the sources of raw materials from which artifacts are made, and to identify the animal bones and plant remains. This information reveals much about trade, the types of foods preferred by a particular culture, the season of the year when a site was occupied, and whether the inhabitants cultivated crops. Human bones are very important because they show the biological relationships between groups of people, and provide details on diet, disease, general health, and even social organization that are not available from any other source.

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