Cultural dating archeology
Writing began 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Egypt; its beginnings were somewhat later in India and China, and later still in Europe.
The aspect of archaeology that deals with the past of man before he learned to write has, since the middle of the 19th century, been referred to as prehistoric archaeology, or prehistory.
Popes, cardinals, and noblemen in Italy in the 16th century began to collect antiquities and to sponsor excavations to find more works of ancient art.
Radioactive carbon dating, which has revolutionized much of archaeological chronology, is a by-product of research in atomic physics.
The justification for this work is the justification of all historical scholarship: to enrich the present by knowledge of the experiences and achievements of our predecessors.
Because it concerns things people have made, the most direct findings of archaeology bear on the history of art and technology; but by inference it also yields information about the society, religion, and economy of the people who created the artifacts.
Greeks and Romans and first developed in 18th-century Italy with the excavations of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Classical archaeology was established on a more scientific basis by the work of Alexander Conze at Samothrace in 18.