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Archaeological record (Topic)

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The archaeological record is the body of physical (not written) evidence about the past. It is one of the core concepts in archaeology, the academic discipline concerned with documenting and interpreting the archaeological record. Archaeological theory is used to interpret the archaeological record for a better understanding of human cultures. The archaeological record can consist of the earliest ancient findings as well as contemporary artifacts. Human activity has had a large impact on the archaeological record. Destructive human processes, such as agriculture and land development, may damage or destroy potential archaeological sites. Other threats to the archaeological record include natural phenomena and scavenging. Archaeology can be a destructive science for the finite resources of the archaeological record are lost to excavation. Therefore, archaeologists limit the amount of excavation that they do at each site and keep meticulous records of what is found. The archaeological record is the physical record of human prehistory and history, of why ancient civilizations prospered or failed and why those cultures changed and grew. It is the story of the human world.

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