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Archeology is the study of the human past through its material remains. By studying material remains as small as a pot sherd or as large as a village, we can learn how people lived, what they ate, how they made their clothes and tools, clues about their social structures, and much more.
Both spellings are correct, but NTAS uses archeology. You can read more about the history of the word here.
Most folks who practice archeology in NTAS are either trained through field and lab projects with NTAS or other archeological societies. Or they go to college and obtain a Bachelor's Degree or higher in Archeology or Anthropology. NTAS is comprised of "avocational" archeologists, or folks who have learned archeology through NTAS and many other societies and trainings. And NTAS has many "professional" archeologists or folks who attend college and also train through NTAS and many other societies and trainings. Avocational archeologists and professional archeologists work together on projects which typically generates the best results and most fun!
There are many reasons to record archeological sites and/or excavate sites. NTAS records archeological sites, participates in excavations, lab work, and publishes archeological publications. Per the NTAS mission statement: NTAS produces these archeological field, lab, and publication efforts to promote the scientific discipline of archeology; to preserve and conserve archeological materials and sites; to interpret and publish archeological data; and to educate the public about archeology.
Additionally, it is estimated that more than 90% of professional archeological investigations are related to local, state, or national regulations for the management of cultural resources. These regulations require agencies to oversee archeological investigations associated with public funds, the management of public lands, and permit compliance.
Archeology may also be conducted under other circumstances because of the research value. Universities and other organizations often conduct archeological investigations that are more similar to the NTAS mission statement.
Archeology is valuable to different people for different reasons. It can answer questions about our ancestors, those who lived here before us, lost information about our region/state/and even nation, about lost civilizations, colonization, human evolution, and human migration across small regions or the planet.
There are many people who don't know much of their history or heritage. Genealogy websites and DNA tests are helpful, but archeology often provides deeper insights into the past. A great example of the personal impacts archeology can have on a family or community is evident in our participation in the Bolivar project, where residents of Denton county received first hand experience excavating the blacksmith shop owned by their great, great grandfather.
Archeology can also provide answers after a disaster. It is used to investigate viral epidemics, mass graves in war torn areas, and help in natural disasters such as the preservation and recording of sites after Hurricane Katrina and the reconstruction of New Orleans.
For many, archeology is simply the means to answer burning questions. "Who lived here in the past?" "How long ago did people live here?" "What happened?" "How did it happen?" The contexts of these questions vary, but they are fundamental to our discipline.
Each field school is a little different, so it is always recommended to ask someone on your project what to bring and to research the area and conditions where you're working. It is always good to dress appropriately for the work you are doing. Hiking or gardening clothes rated for certain weather conditions are recommended. Specialty items might be provided by your project leads, depending on the circumstances.
Items to Bring for Field School:
Depending on your project, you may need the following:
Archeology can be very physically demanding. You will get dirty, hot, wet, cold, and it may be uncomfortable. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for the work.
Lastly, archeology is fun! It is most important to have a good time. Getting to know new people and places is one of the greatest perks of being an archeologist.
In the state of Texas, archeological items found on a property belong to the land owner. NTAS can assist landowners with recording sites and with excavations. NTAS highly recommends you seek the advice of archeologists in your area prior to excavation. Archeology is a destructive science, so you can only excavate a site once and record properly.
NTAS has top notch professional and avocational archeologists in our membership, and we are always eager to help you record sites. And work with you to determine how you wish to proceed with your sites. Please email email@example.com or call 817-381-8117 if you think you have a site, and we'll reach out to help you.
If you are having trouble with setting up or cancelling payments, you may need to change your account settings in PayPal. If you still have trouble, email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
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North Texas Archeological Society
P.O. Box 24679, Ft. Worth, Texas 76124
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