Archaeology Quotations

 

 Archaeology Quote of the Day (About.com) 
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General References

 Quotations from Archaeologists and About Archaeology (About.com) 
K. Kris Hirst's collection of more than 200 pithy quotes from archaeologists or others about the science of archaeology or the mysteries of history and the past.

 Quotations from the work of professional archaeologists (About.com)
K. Kris Hirst compiled these archaeological quotes of the week from scientists and researchers in the field of archaeology and from associated scientists and thinkers from around the world.

 Archaeologist Quotes* (ThinkExist.com)



Quotes


List of Archaeological Quotations
This list of archaeology-related quotations was contributed by Aleithea Williams, Intern, Public Education and Outreach, Society for American Archaeology (April 2008).

Archaeology is the search for fact. Not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Doctor Tyree's Philosophy class is right down the hall. So forget any ideas you've got about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. We do not follow maps to buried treasure, and 'X' never, ever marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading .

Indiana Jones

The best prophet of the future is the past.
Lord George Gordon Byron

History is a vast early warning system.
Norman Cousins

To archeologists, the human past is owned by no one. It represents the cultural heritage of everyone who has ever lived on Earth or will live on it in the future. Archaeology puts all human societies on an equal footing.
Brian Fagan 1996
Reference: Introduction to the Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Oxford University Press, New York .

Culture is the jam in the sandwich of anthropology.
Robert Foley

 Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.
A.L. Kroeber

Archaeology is fascinating to people when it is communicated to them in plain language.
William H. Marquardt

The past is still, for us, a place that is not safely settled.
Michael Ondaatje

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.
George Orwell

 Nothing changes more constantly than the past; for the past that influences our lives does not consist of what actually happened, but of what men believe happened.
Gerald White Johnson, American Heroes and Hero-Worships

 In a manner of speaking, the fact that humankind itself is unpredictable is the quintessential stumbling-block for archaeologists. We have to assume that the people whose dwelling places, artefacts, lives even, we are dealing with were rational, integrated, sane and sensible human beings. Then we look around at our own contemporaries and wonder how this belief can possibly be sustained.
Laurance Flanagan, Ancient Ireland : Life Before the Celts

The past slips from our grasp. It leaves us only scattered things. The bond that united them eludes us. Our imagination usually fills in the void by making use of preconceived theories...Archaeology, then, does not supply us with certitudes, but rather with vague hypotheses. And in the shade of these hypotheses some artists are content to dream, considering them less as scientific facts than as sources of inspiration.
Igor Stravinsky, Poetics of Music in the Form - Six Lessons

There are many things about the prehistoric Plains that we do not yet know or understand, but this is as it should be. For, in the last analysis, it is the unknown that leads the archaeologist on. 
Waldo Wedel

It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out.
David Hurst Thoma
Reference: Archaeology. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 2nd edition, page 31.

Conducting archaeological research is a privilege, not a right.
Al Tonetti
ASC Group, Inc.

Archeology is More Than A Rear View Mirror: The Lessons of the Past Are Critical To Inform Wise Choices for the Future.
D. Peebles , VT
Entry Hall, Archaeo Heritage Center

 
History may be accurate, but archaeology is precise.
Doug Scott
Reference: “Unearthed War Relics See Battle Again: Archaeologists Decry History Buffs' Digs”, by Brigid Schulte, The Washington Post, Sunday, April 16, 2006 .

If we knew what was there, we wouldn’t have to dig.
Richard Boisvert
NH State Archaeologist

In a simple direct sense, archaeology is a science that must be lived, must be “seasoned with humanity.” Dead archaeology is the driest dust that blows.
Sir Mortimer Wheeler  

Archaeology is a great hook for engaging students in order to teach them social studies content and skills.
George Brauer, Social Studies Educator
Baltimore County Public Schools
Reference: Archaeology Exhibit Booth flier at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference.

Archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing.
Willey and Phillips 1956
1958. American archaeology and general anthropological theory. Southwestern Journal of Archaeology 11:246.

Archaeology is the peeping Tom of the sciences. It is the sandbox of men who care not where they are going; they merely want to know where everyone else has been.
Jim Bishop

Archaeology is the study of humanity itself, and unless that attitude towards the subject is kept in mind archaeology will be overwhelmed by impossible theories or a welter of flint chips.
Margaret Murray 1961
Reference: First steps in archaeology. Antiquity 35:13.

For me archaeology is not a source of illustrations for written texts, but an independent source of historical information, with no less value and importance, sometimes more importance, that the written sources.
Michael I. Rostovtzeff

We must learn, and we are gradually learning, how to write history with the help of archaeology.
Michael I. Rostovtzeff

Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech/discourse) 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
Wikipedia

Archaeological sites are a non-renewable resource; that is, once they are destroyed, the information they contained is lost forever.
http://www.usd.edu/anth/midarch/arch.htm

Archaeology is the study of ancient societies by scientists.
Anonymous

Don't lean on the transit!
A chorus of irritated archaeologists at the fourth (or fifth) viewing of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The greatest contribution archaeology has ever provided to society is the simple fact that everybody is destined to become a feature.
Anonymous Archaeologist

It takes very special qualities to devote one's life to problems with no attainable solutions and to poking around in dead people's garbage: Words like 'masochistic', 'nosy,' and 'completely batty' spring to mind.
Paul Bahn
Reference (Not confirmed): The Bluffer’s Guide to Archaeology. Oval Books; Rev Ed edition ( April 20, 2007 )

 
Updated 06/30/2008