The First Hunters and Farmers
The past lives underground. To learn about the way the world used
to be, the past must be uncovered. A number of scientists and
academics borrow into the ground and past to better understand the
present and influence the future.
Of all the people who spend time digging and exploring,
archaeologist immerse themselves deeper into the dirt and history
than most other professionals. Historians dive into libraries and
museums looking for the forgotten letter or abandoned diary.
Anthropologists chip away at fossils, human and non-human, in search
of answers to why people are people. Archaeologists are like
historians in that they read; and anthropologist in that they must
dig in the earth for answers. Archaeologists devote much of their
time looking through trash.
One of the best places to learn more about a past culture is a dump.
In dumps, archaeologists can find artifacts, like eating utensils,
which give them an idea how a particular culture lived. In addition
to trash piles, ancient people used food caches to hold what they
ate. In a sense, a cache was the prehistoric version of a
Whether excavating ancient caches in cities like Pompeii and
Hierakonpolis, or picking through garbage in sites across South
Dakota, researchers combine their extensive knowledge with the
instincts of a crime investigator to pull from the ground
information about people who lived hundreds, maybe even thousands,
of years ago.