Archaeology is a wide subject and definitions can vary, but broadly, it is the study of the culture and history of past peoples and their societies by uncovering and studying their material remains, i.e. tools, ruins, and pottery. Archaeology and history are different subjects but have things in common and constantly work with each other. While historians study books, tablets, and other written information to learn about the past, archaeologists uncover, date, and trace the source of such items, and in their turn focus on learning through material culture.

More about: Archaeology


  • c. 1780
    First scientific archaeological excavations attributed to US President Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1819
    C. J. Thomsen of the Danish National Museum first uses the Three-Age System of Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age to organise its collection.
  • 1822
    Champollion announces decipherment of hieroglyphic writing.
  • 1828
    First excavations begun at Clava Cairns.
  • 1828 - c. 1990
    Ongoing excavations at Clava Cairns.
  • c. 1850 - 1913
    Excavations are ongoing at the Skara Brae site.
  • c. 1860
    Frank Calvert, then Heinrich Schliemann beginning in 1871 CE, excavate at the site of ancient Troy.
  • 1876
    Heinrich Schliemann begins excavating at Mycenae.
  • 1900 - 1905
    Sir Arthur Evans excavates at Crete, discovering the palace at Knossos and naming the civilization "Minoan".
  • 1902 - 1914
    The Ishtar Gate excavation is underway and lead by Robert Koldewey.
  • 1913
    Skara Brae site is plundered by unknown parties.
  • 1920
    English archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley excavates at Ur (in modern-day Iraq).
  • 1922
    English archaeologist Howard Carter discovers the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
  • 1927
    Professional excavation and preservation efforts begin at Skara Brae under V. G. Childe and J.W. Paterson.
  • 1930
    The reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate is completed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.
  • c. 1960
    Beginnings of processual archaeology, a scientific approach to questions and designing of models to suggest answers and test theories, in the US.
  • c. 1970
    The Sweet Track found during peat excavations, Somerset, Britain.
  • Aug 1984
    Lindow Man discovered at Lindow Moss, a peat bog in Cheshire, England.