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Many of the objects left behind by past human societies are not present in the archaeological record because they have disintegrated over time.
The material remains that still exist after hundreds, thousands, or millions of years have survived because of favorable preservation conditions in the soil or atmosphere.
Archeology is the scientific study of past human culture and behavior, from the origins of humans to the present.
Archaeology studies past human behavior through the examination of material remains of previous human societies.
Sites containing signs of the first simple but purposeful burials in graves date to as early as 40,000 years ago in Europe and Southwest Asia.
By the time people lived in civilizations, burials and funeral ceremonies had become extremely important and elaborate rituals.
Archaeology became established as a formal discipline in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
These sites contain evidence of the first appearance of bipedal (upright walking), apelike early humans.For the most part, the only things that survive are durable items such as potsherds (small fragments of pottery), tools or buildings of stone, bones, and teeth (which survive because they are covered with hard enamel).Because many items disintegrate over time, archaeologists get an incomplete view of the past that they must fill in with other kinds of information and educated reasoning.Archaeology is an important field of anthropology, which is the broad study of human culture and biology.Archaeologists concentrate their studies on past societies and changes in those societies over extremely long periods of time.
Archaeologists have also recorded how primitive forms of humans spread out of Africa into Asia about 1.8 million years ago, then into Europe about 900,000 years ago.