Archaeologists study the material remains (the buildings, tools, pottery, and other artifacts) of societies in order to understand cultures and to infer the processes of cultural change. Anthropological archaeologists are usually, but not exclusively, concerned with the prehistoric cultures (those without written records) of our ancestors.

dr. blakeslee

From fragmentary material remains, archaeologists determine:

  • The social organization of past cultures.
  • What type of contact they had with other groups in the area.
  • The conditions of the physical environment; the animal and plant resources;
    and whether the culture had domesticated plants and animals.
  • The technology, the religion, population size, and the general health of the people.
  • The causes for cultural change and/or collapse.