Ask An Archaeologist

You can e-mail your questions to the address below and an actual team of archaeologists will review your questions and e-mail you the answer back!

Click on the address below and then type in your questions. You should expect an answer within a few days!

Archaeologists Dave Crass, Dr. Dig, Rita Folse Elliot, and Christine Van Voorhies

Answers To the Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions About Archaeology

1. No, we rarely find any gold. We find objects that tell us a great deal more about how people lived than gold would and, therefore, are much more valuable.


2. No, we do not dig for dinosaur bones. We study how people lived in the past by looking at the things they left behind.


3. There are many ways to tell the age of the artifacts we find. The way bottles were made in the past, or the decoration on dishes, or the shape of an "arrowhead" all give clues to age.


4. We pick the area to dig based on where construction will take place, where the intact soils and artifact areas, and/or places mentioned in older, historical records.


5. How deep we dig depends on the soil build up (or erosion) through time, and whether features are present that go deeper into the ground, such as trash pits, wells, or cellars.


6. No, we do not keep anything that we find. Artifacts are first studied in the lab. Then some are displayed in museums while many are stored where future researchers can learn from them.


7. We find items such as dishes, toys, food bones, and tools that tell us what peoples' lives were like in the past.


8. No, we are not "from the university" and we are not students. We are professionsal archaeologists with bachelor and master degrees and years of specialized training.


9. Yes, we get paid for this. Archaeologists love their work but we have bills too!


10. "The neatest thing we ever found" is a hard question! Some artifacts are impressive; however, many times we find things that turn out to be very neat because of where they were found or because of they provide an important link to a particular person or event, not because they are worth a lot of money.



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