EDUCATION: Archaeology Notebook

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Science  30 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5513, pp. 2521
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5513.2521a

In the early 1800s, U.S. archaeology consisted of little more than academic debates over whether Native Americans could have built the large earthen mounds found in Ohio. By the mid-1900s, archaeologists were finally getting their hands dirty and resolving such questions by precisely locating and mapping pottery fragments and other artifacts. Today, archaeologists can sit back in their armchairs as they build digital structures such as a kiva, a kind of worship room, complete with smoke and flickering firelight.

Visitors can explore archaeology's evolution at the EMuseum, hosted by the anthropology department of Minnesota State University, Mankato. The site holds a series of one-page summaries written by staff and students on everything from Native American arrowhead styles to Egyptian chariots. You can read up on laws in the U.S. and the British Isles regulating archaeological finds, or learn about dating techniques, from tree rings to carbon-14. Other useful sections include a list of museum Web sites, a world map with blurbs on major archaeological sites, and pages on rock art.

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