Archaeology is the study of our human past – that is almost 4 million years’ worth of history. Archaeology helps to fill in the huge gap in human history before writing – which has only been around for about 5,000 years, and it can add more detail to the historical record even after writing was invented. It isn’t just digging and finding things underground either, it uses a huge range of evidence to help us tell stories about our ancestors and find out about their everyday lives.
Archaeology is all about questions. Where did people live in the past? What did they wear? What did they eat? How did they die? What were their beliefs? What tools did they use, and how? It uses physical remnants of the past, scientific analysis and reconstruction and re-enactment to help answer these questions. As such it is a very varied subject and the Festival of Archaeology gives us a chance to showcase the many and varied aspects of archaeology.