Biological anthropology known as physical anthropology, is a scientific discipline concerned with the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings, their extinct hominin ancestors, related non-human primates from an evolutionary perspective. It is a subfield of anthropology that provides a biological perspective to the systematic study of human beings; as a subfield of anthropology, biological anthropology itself is further divided into several branches. All branches are united in their common orientation and/or application of evolutionary theory to understanding human biology and behavior. Paleoanthropology is the study of fossil evidence for human evolution using remains from extinct hominin and other primate species to determine the morphological and behavioral changes in the human lineage, as well as the environment in which human evolution occurred. Human biology is an interdisciplinary field of biology, biological anthropology and medicine, which concerns international, population-level perspectives on health, anatomy, molecular biology and genetics.
Primatology is the study of non-human primate behavior and genetics. Primatologists use phylogenetic methods to infer which traits humans share with other primates and which are human-specific adaptations. Human behavioral ecology is the study of behavioral adaptations from the evolutionary and ecologic perspectives, it focuses on human adaptive responses to environmental stresses. Bioarchaeology is the study of past human cultures through examination of human remains recovered in an archaeological context; the examined human remains are limited to bones but may include preserved soft tissue. Researchers in bioarchaeology combine the skill sets of human osteology and archaeology, consider the cultural and mortuary context of the remains. Paleopathology is the study of disease in antiquity; this study focuses not only on pathogenic conditions observable in bones or mummified soft tissue, but on nutritional disorders, variation in stature or morphology of bones over time, evidence of physical trauma, or evidence of occupationally derived biomechanic stress.
Evolutionary psychology is the study of psychological structures from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations – that is, the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection in human evolution. Evolutionary biology is the study of the evolutionary processes that produced the diversity of life on Earth, starting from a single common ancestor; these processes include natural selection, common descent, speciation. Biological Anthropology looks different today than it did twenty years ago; the name is relatively new, having been'physical anthropology' for over a century, with some practitioners still applying that term. Biological anthropologists look back to the work of Charles Darwin as a major foundation for what they do today. However, if one traces the intellectual genealogy and the culture back to physical anthropology's beginnings--going further back than the existence of much of what we know now as the hominin fossil record--then history focuses in on the field's interest in human biological variation.
Some editors, see below, have rooted the field deeper than formal science. Attempts to study and classify human beings as living organisms date back to ancient Greece; the Greek philosopher Plato placed humans on the scala naturae, which included all things, from inanimate objects at the bottom to deities at the top. This became the main system through which scholars thought about nature for the next 2,000 years. Plato's student Aristotle observed in his History of Animals that human beings are the only animals to walk upright and argued, in line with his teleological view of nature, that humans have buttocks and no tails in order to give them a cushy place to sit when they are tired of standing, he explained regional variations in human features as the result of different climates. He wrote about physiognomy, an idea derived from writings in the Hippocratic Corpus. Scientific physical anthropology began in the 17th to 18th centuries with the study of racial classification; the first prominent physical anthropologist, the German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach of Göttingen, amassed a large collection of human skulls, from which he argued for the division of humankind into five major races.
In the 19th century, French physical anthropologists, led by Paul Broca, focused on craniometry while the German tradition, led by Rudolf Virchow, emphasized the influence of environment and disease upon the human body. In the 1830s and 1840s, physical anthropology was prominent in the debate about slavery, with the scientific, monogenist works of the British abolitionist James Cowles Prichard opposing those of the American polygenist Samuel George Morton. In the late 19th century, German-American anthropologist Franz Boas impacted biological anthropology by emphasizing the influence of culture and experience on the human form, his research showed that head shape was malleable to environmental and nutritional factors rather than a stable "racial" trait. However, scientific racism still persisted in biological anthropology, with prominent figures such as Earnest Hooton and Aleš Hrdlička promoting theories of racial superiority and a European o
Zooarchaeology is the branch of archaeology that studies faunal remains related to ancient people. Faunal remains are the items left behind, it includes: bones, hair, scales, proteins and DNA. Of these items and shells are the ones that occur most at archaeological sites where faunal remains can be found. Most of the time, most of the faunal remains do not survive, they decompose or break because of various circumstances. This can cause difficulties in interpreting their significance; the development of zooarchaeology in Eastern North America can be broken up into three different periods. The first being the Formative period starting around the 1860s, the second being the Systematization period beginning in the early 1950s, the Integration period which began about 1969. Full-time zooarchaeologists didn’t come about until the Systematization period. Before that it was just a technique, applied but not studied. Zooarchaeological specialists started to come about because of a new approach to archaeology known as processual archaeology.
This approach puts more emphasis on explaining. Archaeologists began to specialize in zooarchaeology, their numbers increased from there on. Zooarchaeology is used to answer several questions; these include: What was the diet like, in what ways were the animals used for food? Which were the animals that were eaten, in what amounts, with what other foods? Who were the ones to obtain the food, did the availability of that food depend on age or gender? How was culture, such as technologies and behavior, influenced by and associated with diet? What purposes, other than food, were animals used for? Zooarchaeology can tell us what the environment might have been like in order for the different animals to have survived. In addition to helping us understand the past, zooarchaeology can help us to improve the present and the future. Studying how people dealt with animals, its effects can help us avoid many potential ecological problems; this includes problems involving wildlife management. For example, one of the questions that wildlife preservationists ask is whether they should keep animals facing extinction in several smaller areas, or in one larger area.
Based on zooarchaeological evidence, they found that animals that are split up into several smaller areas are more to go extinct. One of the techniques that zooarchaeologists use is close attention to taphonomy; this includes studying how items are buried and deposited at the site in question, what the conditions are that aid in the preservation of these items, how these items get destroyed. They interpret that information. Another technique that zooarchaeologists use is lab analysis; this analysis can include comparing the skeletons found on site with identified animal skeletons. This not only helps to identify what the animal is, but whether the animal was domesticated or not, yet another technique that zooarchaeologists use is quantification. They make interpretations based on the size of the bones; these interpretations include. As can be seen from the discussion about the name that should be given to this discipline, zooarchaeology overlaps with other areas of study; these include: Anthropology Anthrozoology Archaeology Biology Ecology Ethnography Paleopathology Palaeontology Paleozoology Zoology Such analyses provide the basis by which further interpretations can be made.
Topics that have been addressed by zooarchaeologists include: Human-Animal relationships and interactions were diverse during Prehistory from being a food source to playing a more intimate role in society. Animals have been used in non-economical ways such as being part of a human burial. However, the major zooarchaeology has focused on, eating what by looking at various remains such as bones and fish scales. In the twenty-first century researchers have begun to interpret animals in prehistory in wider cultural and social patterns, focusing on how the animals have affected humans and possible animal agency. There is evidence of animals such as the Mountain Lion or the Jaguar being used for ritualistic purposes, but not being eaten as a food source. Animal burials date back to prehistory with examples emerging from the Mesolithic period. In Sweden at the burial site Skateholm I dogs were found buried with children under eight years old or were found buried by themselves; some of the dogs who were buried alone have grave goods similar to their human contemporaries such as flint weapons and deer antlers.
Meanwhile, during the same time period Skateholm II emerged and was different than Skateholm I, as dogs were buried along on the North and West boundaries of the grave area. Another burial site in Siberia near Lake Biakal known as the "Lokomotiv" cemetery had a wolf burial among human graves. Buried together with, but beneath the wolf was a male human skull; the wolf breed was not native to this area as it was warm and other research for the area shows no other wolf habitation. Bazaliiskiy & Savelyev suggests that the presence and significance of the wolf could reflect human interaction. Another example occurred in 300 B. C. in Pazyryk known as the Pazyryk burials where ten horses were buried alongside a human male, the horses were adorned with saddles, among other valuables. The oldest horse as the horse with the grandest attachments. Erica Hill, a professor in archaeology, suggests that the burials of prehistory animals can shed light on human-animal relationships. Zooarchaeology allows researchers to h
Primatology is the scientific study of primates. It is a diverse discipline at the boundary between mammalogy and anthropology, researchers can be found in academic departments of anatomy, biology, psychology, veterinary sciences and zoology, as well as in animal sanctuaries, biomedical research facilities and zoos. Primatologists study both living and extinct primates in their natural habitats and in laboratories by conducting field studies and experiments in order to understand aspects of their evolution and behaviour; as a science, primatology has many different sub-disciplines which vary in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches to the subject used in researching extant primates and their extinct ancestors. There are two main centers of Western primatology and Japanese primatology; these two divergent disciplines stem from their unique cultural backgrounds and philosophies that went into their founding. Although, both Western and Japanese primatology share many of the same principles, the areas of their focus in primate research and their methods of obtaining data differ widely.
Western primatology stems from research by North American and European scientists. Early primate study focused in medical research, but some scientists conducted "civilizing" experiments on chimpanzees in order to gauge both primate intelligence and the limits of their brainpower; the study of primatology looks at the psychological aspects of non-human primates. The focus is on studying the common links between primates, it is believed that by understanding our closest animal relatives, we might better understand the nature shared with our ancestors. Primatology is a science; the general belief is that the scientific observation of nature must be either limited, or controlled. Either way, the observers must be neutral to their subjects; this allows for the subjects to be uninfluenced by human interference. There are three methodological approaches in primatology: field study, the more realistic approach, laboratory study, the more controlled approach, semi-free ranging, where primate habitat and wild social structure is replicated in a captive setting.
Field is done in natural environments, in which scientific observers watch primates in their natural habitat. Laboratory study is done in controlled lab settings. In lab settings, scientists are able to perform controlled experimentation on the learning capabilities and behavioral patterns of the animals. In semi-free ranging studies, scientists are able to watch how primates might act in the wild but have easier access to them, the ability to control their environments; such facilities include the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Georgia and the Elgin Center at Lion Country Safari in Florida. All types of primate study in the Western methodology are meant to be neutral. Although there are certain Western primatologists who do more subjective research, the emphasis in this discipline is on the objective. Early field primatology tended to focus on individual researchers. Researchers such as Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall and Birute Galdikas are examples of this.
In 1960, Jane Goodall traveled to the forest at Gombe Stream in Tanzania where her determination and skill allowed for her to observe behaviors of the chimpanzees that no researcher had seen prior. Chimpanzees used. Additionally, Dian Fossey’s work conducted at the Karisoke Research station in Rwanda proved the possibility of habituation among the mountain gorillas. Fossey learned that female gorillas are transferred between groups and gorillas eat their own dung to recycle nutrients; the third “trimate”, Birute Galdikas spent over 12 years becoming habituated to the orangutans in Borneo, Indonesia. Galdikas utilized statistics and modern data collection to conclude her 1978 doctoral thesis regarding orangutan behavior and interactions. Long-term sites of research tend to be best associated with their founders, this led to some tension between younger primatologists and the veterans in the field; the discipline of Japanese primatology was developed out of animal ecology. It is credited to Kinji Imanishi and Junichiro Itani.
Imanishi was an animal ecologist who began studying wild horses before focusing more on primate ecology. He helped found the Primate Research Group in 1950. Junichiro was a professor at Kyoto University, he is the Centre for African Area Studies. The Japanese discipline of primatology tends to be more interested in the social aspects of primates. Social evolution and anthropology are of primary interest to them; the Japanese theory believes that studying primates will give us insight into the duality of human nature: individual self vs. social self. The traditional and cultural aspects of Japanese science lend themselves to an “older sibling” mentality, it is believed that animals should be treated with respect, but a firm authority. This is not to say that the Japanese study of primatology is cruel – far from it – just that it does not feel that their subjects should be given reverential treatment. One particular Japanese primatologist, Kawai Masao, introduced the concept of kyokan; this was the theory that the only way to attain reliable scientific knowledge was to attain a mutual relation, personal attachment and shared life with the animal subjects.
Though Kawai is the only Japanese primatologist associated with the use of this term, the underlying principle is part of the foundation of Japanese primate research. Japanese primatology is a disciplined subjective science, it is believed that the be
Ethnomusicology is the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It encompasses distinct theoretical and methodical approaches that emphasize cultural, material, cognitive and other dimensions or contexts of musical behavior, instead of only its isolated sound component. Folklorists, who began preserving and studying folklore music in Europe and the US in the 19th century, are considered the precursors of the field prior to the Second World War; the term ethnomusicology is said to have been first coined by Jaap Kunst from the Greek words ἔθνος and μουσική, It is defined as the anthropology or ethnography of music, or as musical anthropology. During its early development from comparative musicology in the 1950s, ethnomusicology was oriented toward non-Western music, but for several decades it has included the study of all and any musics of the world from anthropological and intercultural perspectives. Bruno Nettl once characterized ethnomusicology as a product of Western thinking, proclaiming that "ethnomusicology as western culture knows it is a western phenomenon".
Stated broadly, ethnomusicology may be described as a holistic investigation of music in its cultural contexts. Combining aspects of folklore, cultural anthropology, comparative musicology, music theory, history, ethnomusicology has adopted perspectives from a multitude of disciplines; this disciplinary variety has given rise to many definitions of the field, attitudes and foci of ethnomusicologists have evolved since initial studies in the area of comparative musicology in the early 1900s. When the field first came into existence, it was limited to the study of non-Western music—in contrast to the study of Western art music, the focus of conventional musicology. In fact, the field was referred to early in its existence as “comparative musicology,” defining Western musical traditions as the standard to which all other musics were compared, though this term fell out of use in the 1950s as critics for the practices associated with it became more vocal about ethnomusicology's distinction from musicology.
Over time, the definition broadened to include study of all the musics of the world according to certain approaches. While there is not a single, authoritative definition for ethnomusicology, a number of constants appear in the definitions employed by leading scholars in the field, it is agreed upon that ethnomusicologists look at music from beyond a purely sonic and historical perspective, look instead at music within culture, music as culture, music as a reflection of culture. In addition, many ethnomusicological studies share common methodological approaches encapsulated in ethnographic fieldwork conducting primary fieldwork among those who make the music, learning languages and the music itself, taking on the role of a participant observer in learning to perform in a musical tradition, a practice Hood termed "bi-musicality". Musical fieldworkers also collect recordings and contextual information about the music of interest. Thus, ethnomusicological studies do not rely on printed or manuscript sources as the primary source of epistemic authority.
While the traditional subject of musicology has been the history and literature of Western art music, ethnomusicology was developed as the study of all music as a human social and cultural phenomenon. Oskar Kolberg is regarded as one of the earliest European ethnomusicologists as he first began collecting Polish folk songs in 1839. Comparative musicology, the primary precursor to ethnomusicology, emerged in the late 19th century and early 20th century; the International Musical Society in Berlin in 1899 acted as one of the first centers for ethnomusicology. Comparative musicology and early ethnomusicology tended to focus on non-Western music, but in more recent years, the field has expanded to embrace the study of Western music from an ethnographic standpoint; the International Council for Traditional Music and the Society for Ethnomusicology are the primary international academic organizations for advancing the discipline of ethnomusicology. Ethnomusicologists have offered varying definitions of the field.
More scholars debate what constitutes ethnomusicology. Bruno Nettl distinguishes between discipline and field, believing ethnomusicology is the latter. There are multiple approaches to and challenges of the field; some approaches reference "musical areas" like "musical synthesis in Ghana" while others emphasize "a study of culture through the avenue of music, to study music as social behavior." The multifaceted and dynamic approaches to ethnomusicology allude to. The primary element that distinguishes ethnomusicology from musicology is the expectation that ethnomusicologists engage in sustained, diachronic fieldwork as their primary source of data. There are many groups who can be connected to ethnomusicology. According to Merriam, some of these groups are "players of ethnic music," "music educators," "those who see ethnic music in the context of a global view of music, vis a vis the study of Western "classical" music," "made up of persons with a variety of interests, all of which are in some sense "applied" like "professional ethnomusicologists," music therapists, the "musicologists" and the "anthropologist."
Folklore and Folklorists were the precursors to the field of Ethnomusicology prior to WWII. They laid a foundation of interest in the preservation and continuation of the traditional folk musics of nations and an interest in the differences b
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"
Political economy in anthropology
Political Economy in anthropology is the application of the theories and methods of historical materialism to the traditional concerns of anthropology, but not limited to, non-capitalist societies. Political Economy introduced questions of history and colonialism to ahistorical anthropological theories of social structure and culture. Most anthropologists moved away from modes of production analysis typical of structural Marxism, focused instead on the complex historical relations of class and hegemony in regions undergoing complex colonial and capitalist transitions in the emerging world system. Political Economy was introduced in American anthropology through the support of Julian Steward, a student of Kroeber. Steward’s research interests centered on “subsistence” — the dynamic interaction of man, technology, social structure, the organization of work; this emphasis on subsistence and production - as opposed to exchange - is what distinguishes the Political Economy approach. Steward's most theoretically productive years were from 1946-1953, while teaching at Columbia University.
At this time, Columbia saw an influx of World War II veterans who were attending school thanks to the GI Bill. Steward developed a coterie of students who would go on to develop Political Economy as a distinct approach in anthropology, including Sidney Mintz, Eric Wolf, Eleanor Leacock, Roy Rappaport, Stanley Diamond, Robert Manners, Morton Fried, Robert F. Murphy, influenced other scholars such as Elman Service, Marvin Harris and June Nash. Many of these students participated in the Puerto Rico Project, a large-scale group research study that focused on modernization in Puerto Rico. Three main areas of interest developed; the first of these areas was concerned with the "pre-capitalist" societies that were subject to evolutionary "tribal" stereotypes. Sahlins' work on hunter-gatherers as the "original affluent society" did much to dissipate that image; the second area was concerned with the vast majority of the world's population at the time, the peasantry, many of whom were involved in complex revolutionary wars such as in Vietnam.
The third area was on colonialism and the creation of the capitalist world-system. More these political economists have more directly addressed issues of industrial capitalism around the world. Cultural materialism is a research orientation introduced by Marvin Harris in 1968, as a theoretical paradigm and research strategy. Indeed, it is said to be the most enduring achievement of that work. Harris subsequently developed a defense of the paradigm in his 1979 book Cultural Materialism. To Harris, cultural materialism "is based on the simple premise that human social life is a response to the practical problems of earthly existence". Harris' approach distinct from Marx. Harris' method was to demonstrate. Economic behavior has a cultural side which indicates that the works of anthropologists is relevant to economics; the Motivation behind cultural materialism is to show that cultures adapt to the environment they're produced in. Structural Marxism was an approach to Marxist philosophy based on structuralism associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser and his students.
It was influential in France during the 1960s and 1970s, came to influence philosophers, political theorists and anthropologists outside France during the 1970s. French structuralist Marxism melded Marxist political economy with Levi-Strauss's structural methodology, eliminating the human subject, dialectical reason and history in the process. Structural Marxists introduced two major concepts, mode of production and social formation, that allowed for a more prolonged and uneven transition to capitalism than either dependency or World systems theory allowed for. A mode of production consisting of producers, non-producers and means of production, combined in a variety of ways, formed the deep structure of a "social formation." A social formation combined several modes of production, only one of, dominant or determinant. Primary anthropological theorists of this school included Maurice Godelier, Claude Meillassoux, Emmanuel Terray and Pierre-Philippe Rey. Structural Marxism arose in opposition to the humanistic Marxism that dominated many western universities during the 1970s.
In contrast to Humanistic Marxism, Althusser stressed that Marxism was a science that examined objective structures. Critical influences on Structural Marxism from the British Marxist historical tradition, included E. P. Thompson, Eric Hobsbawm and Raymond Williams, they criticized the functionalist emphasis in Structural Marxism, that neglected individuals in favour of the structural elements of their model. The British school was more interested in class and politics, placed human subjects at the centre of analysis. Where mode of production analysis was abstract, they focused on people. Where world-systems theory had little to say about the local, the Cultural Materialists began and ended there. Others connected with this school of thought concentrated on issues such as ethnic formation, labor migration, household formation, food production and the processes of colonialism; as anthropologists embraced "mode of production" analysis in the 1950s, they struggled to adapt its evolutionary model to the groups that they had traditionally worked with.
While Marxist analysis was developed to account for capitalist society and its class dynamics, it had little to say about "pre-capitalist" so
Maritime archaeology is a discipline within archaeology as a whole that studies human interaction with the sea and rivers through the study of associated physical remains, be they vessels, shore-side facilities, port-related structures, human remains and submerged landscapes. A specialty within maritime archaeology is nautical archaeology, which studies ship construction and use; as with archaeology as a whole, maritime archaeology can be practised within the historical, industrial, or prehistoric periods. An associated discipline, again one that lies within archaeology itself, is underwater archaeology, which studies the past through any submerged remains be they of maritime interest or not. An example from the prehistoric era would be the remains of submerged settlements or deposits now lying under water despite having been dry land when sea levels were lower; the study of submerged aircraft lost in lakes, rivers or in the sea is an example from the historical, industrial or modern era. Many specialist sub-disciplines within the broader maritime and underwater archaeological categories have emerged in recent years.
Maritime archaeological sites result from shipwrecks or sometimes seismic activity, thus represent a moment in time rather than a slow deposition of material accumulated over a period of years, as is the case with port-related structures where objects are lost or thrown off structures over extended periods of time. This fact has led to shipwrecks being described in the media and in popular accounts as'time capsules'. Archaeological material in the sea or in other underwater environments is subject to different factors than artifacts on land. However, as with terrestrial archaeology, what survives to be investigated by modern archaeologists can be a tiny fraction of the material deposited. A feature of maritime archaeology is that despite all the material, lost, there are occasional rare examples of substantial survival, from which a great deal can be learned, due to the difficulties experienced in accessing the sites. There are those in the archaeology community who see maritime archaeology as a separate discipline with its own concerns and requiring the specialized skills of the underwater archaeologist.
Others value an integrated approach, stressing that nautical activity has economic and social links to communities on land and that archaeology is archaeology no matter where the study is conducted. All, required is the mastering of skills specific to the environment in which the work occurs. Before the industrial era, travel by water was easier than over land; as a result, marine channels, navigable rivers and sea crossings formed the trade routes of historic and ancient civilisations. For example, the Mediterranean Sea was known to the Romans as the inner sea because the Roman empire spread around its coasts; the historic record as well as the remains of harbours and cargoes, testify to the volume of trade that crossed it. Nations with a strong maritime culture such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain were able to establish colonies on other continents. Wars were fought at sea over the control of important resources; the material cultural remains that are discovered by maritime archaeologists along former trade routes can be combined with historical documents and material cultural remains found on land to understand the economic and political environment of the past.
Of late maritime archaeologists have been examining the submerged cultural remains of China, India and other Asian nations. There are significant differences in the survival of archaeological material depending on whether a site is wet or dry, on the nature of the chemical environment, on the presence of biological organisms and on the dynamic forces present, thus rocky coastlines in shallow water, are inimical to the survival of artifacts, which can be dispersed, smashed or ground by the effect of currents and surf leaving an artifact pattern but little if any wreck structure. Saltwater is inimical to iron artefacts including metal shipwrecks, sea organisms will consume organic material such as wooden shipwrecks. On the other hand, out of all the thousands of potential archaeological sites destroyed or grossly eroded by such natural processes sites survive with exceptional preservation of a related collection of artifacts. An example of such a collection is Mary Rose. Survival in this instance is due to the remains being buried in sediment Of the many examples where the sea bed provides an hostile environment for submerged evidence of history, one of the most notable, RMS Titanic, though a young wreck and in deep water so calcium-starved that concretion does not occur, appears strong and intact, though indications are that it has incurred irreversible degradation of her steel and iron hull.
As such degradation continues, data will be forever lost, objects' context will be destroyed and the bulk of the wreck will over centuries deteriorate on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. Comparative evidence shows that all iron and steel ships those in a oxygenated environment, continue to degrade and will continue to do so until only their engines and other machinery project much above the sea-floor. Where it remains after the passage of time, the iron or steel hull is fragile with no remaining metal within the layer of concretion and corrosion products. USS Monitor, having been found in the 1970s, was subjected to a program of attempted in situ preservat