Archeological Societies
A website for the society of archeological societies.


Archaeological Institute of America
Boston, Massachusetts

Society for American Archaeology
Washington, DC

Louisiana Archeological Society
New Orleans

Central States Archaeological Society

Biblical Archaeological Society
Washington, DC

American Antiquarian Society
Worcester, Massachusetts

Archaeological Conservancy
Alburquerque, New Mexico

British Archeological Association
London, England

Historic Preservation Forum, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Washington, DC

Paleoanthropology Association
Washington, DC

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Succinctly put, archaeology is the study of past human societies. While its goal typically ranges from the understanding of human evolution to the study of cultural evolution and history – its means typically involve the excavation and analysis of material artifacts. Of course, defining it thus simplifies things considerably, as archaeology not only derives its knowledge from the biofacts and environmental data found at an archaeological dig, but also from the architecture and other elements of the cultural landscape unearthed there.

Leaving aside such arcane terms as “biofacts” and “cultural landscape” for the moment, there is the question of what archaeology means when it refers to the past. Here, the answer is self-evident, as the past might refer to anything back in time from a dig made to uncover the petrified feces left behind by a clan of cranially-challenged Cro-Magnons, to rummaging in scientifically valid fashion through the bowels of an old Chicago warehouse for Al Capone’s lost booty one step ahead of pseudo-archaeologists like Geraldo Rivera.

As anyone sensitive to such things can tell you, such terms as “biofacts” and “cultural landscape” readily identify archaeology as an academic discipline that would never be so judgmental as to refer to Cro-Magnons as “cranially challenged.” But here again definition comes into play, as this discipline draws heavily upon such scientific and non-scientific areas of study as anthropology (of which it is considered a branch in the United States), history, geology, geography, art history, classics, ethnology, geography, geology, linguistics, physics, chemistry, statistics, and paleontology among yet others. This makes archaeology itself something of an art, and whether it means finding ancient pot shards on the Potomac or prewar paint chips in the inner city, archaeology is also an adventure that holds out the promise of coming across something monumental in the understanding of human experience.

As it's only natural for those who make a study of past societies to form societies of their own, such archaeological societies as those of the Archaeological Institute of America exist to sponsor national lectures as well as "locally-planned field trips ... tours, symposia, film festivals and study groups."

They can also tell you what a biofact is.

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