The advent of archaeology has made ancient sites the object of great scientific and public interest, but it has also attracted unwelcome attention to the works of past peoples.
Through such efforts, it is hoped that archaeology will support increased understanding among the various peoples of the world, and thus aid in the growth of peace and harmony among all humankind.
Archaeology has been described as a craft that enlists the sciences to illuminate the humanities.
Archaeology as it is known today took form in the 1960s, when a number of academics, most notably Lewis Binford, proposed a "new archaeology," which would be more "scientific" and "anthropological."
The American archaeologist Walter Taylor asserted that "Archaeology is neither history nor anthropology.
The other main division of archaeology is into historical archaeology, which examines civilizations that left behind written records, and prehistoric archaeology, which concerns itself with societies that did not have writing systems.
Archaeology (sometimes spelled archeology outside the United States) is one of the four sub-fields of anthropology.
Gordon Willey pioneered the technique of "regional settlement pattern" surveying in 1949, in the Viru Valley of coastal Peru, and surveys of all levels became prominent with the rise of processual archaeology some years later.
Surveying was not widely practiced in the early days of archaeology.
In areas of semi-literacy the term protohistoric archaeology can be adopted to cover the study of societies with very limited written records.
Still, such curiosity and passion for the physical remains of the past were the essential origins of archaeology.
Archaeology studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes.
Over the years, archaeology itself has been broken down into sub-disciplines, typically characterized by a focus on a specific method or type of material, geographical, or chronological focus, or other thematic concern.
Archaeology as a discipline is of fairly recent origin, although people have always been fascinated with their own cultural history.