Archeology is the study of human and pre-human activity through throughout history. 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 the spelling archaeology with and "ae" came first. You can read more about the history of the word here.
In the USA, a Bachelor's Degree in Archeology or Anthropology is often required to begin entry level work. A Masters or Doctorate degree is required to lead your own investigations.
There are many reasons to excavate sites. In the USA, it is estimated that more than 90% of archeological excavations are mandated by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NRHP) to manage cultural resources found on US soil. This document requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and to provide the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) with a reasonable opportunity to comment. In addition, Federal agencies are required to consult on the Section 106 process with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO), Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPO), Indian Tribes (to include Alaska Natives) [Tribes], and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHO).
For example, if someone wants build a new highway, an archeological assessment of the area must be conducted. Federal, state, and tribal authorities review the work completed and make determinations as to whether it is ok to proceed with construction, more archeological work is needed, or an excavation is necessary.
North Texas Archeological Society
P.O. Box 24679, Ft. Worth, Texas 76124
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