Libby radiocarbon dating

The exact origins of archaeology as a disciplined study are uncertain.Excavations of ancient monuments and the collection of antiquities have been taking place for thousands of years.Pitt-Rivers extensive personal collection of artifacts was used by him to develop a typology scheme for dating archaeological remains.The Pitt-Rivers collection forms the nucleus of a museum named after him, in Oxford.Richard Colt-Hoare (1758-1838) turned his attention to recording the past of the countryside surrounding his estate at Stourhead in Wiltshire which he published in a book entitled Ancient Historie of Wiltshire in 1812.In his reporting of his investigations and ecavations of such neolithic barrows as Silbury Hill used terminology that was later adopted by other archaeologists.Napoleon brought some five hundred civilian scientists, specialists in fields such as biology, chemistry and languages, in order to carry out a full study of the ancient civilisations of Egypt.

In America, Thomas Jefferson, as he reported in his "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Jefferson (completed in 1781), supervised the systematic excavation of an Native American burial mound on his land in Virginia in 1781, (or perhaps slightly earlier).

We can contrast this with the endeavours of the Italian Renaissance humanist historian, Flavio Biondo, who created a systematic and documented guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century.

Flavio Biondo, is seen by posterity a candidate for consideration as an early founder of archaeology.

Colt-Hoare made meticulous recordings of his discoveries and preferred to use a trowel for careful excavation.

Archaeology was continued as an amateur pastime pursued, in later years, by persons such as Augustus Pitt-Rivers who collected many artifacts during his early career as a colonial soldier to which he added further finds from a large estate he had inherited complete with numerous prehistoric features.

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