Archaeology Quotes


Archaeology is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes.

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  • Archaeology is destruction.
    o Mortimer Wheeler Archaeology From the Earth (1954)

  • History is too serious to be left to historians.
    o Ian Macleod, The Observer (July 16, 1961)

  • He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it.
    o King James Bible Proverbs 26:27,

  • Archaeology is the nearest history comes to shopping.
    o Alan Bennett (2004) The History Boys


    Dug from the tomb of taste-refining time,
    Each form is exquisite, each block sublime.
    Or good, or bad,—disfigur’d, or deprav’d,—
    All art, is at its resurrection sav’d;
    All crown’d with glory in the critic’s heav’n,
    Each merit magnified, each fault forgiven.

    Martin Archer Shee (1805) Rhymes on Art, or the Remonstrance of a Painter Part 2


  • My perspective is a broad one. For me, archaeologists do not discover the past; they work on what remains. Archaeology is about our relationships with what is left of the past. And more – archaeology is the discipline of things – the history of design, how people get on with the material world, materiality itself.
    o Michael Shanks

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