ar·​chae·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌär-kē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce archaeology (audio) \
variants: or archeology

Definition of archaeology

1 : the scientific study of material remains (such as tools, pottery, jewelry, stone walls, and monuments) of past human life and activities
2 : remains of the culture of a people : antiquities the archaeology of the Incas

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from archaeology

archaeological \ ˌär-​kē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce archaeological (audio) \ adjective
archaeologically \ ˌär-​kē-​ə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce archaeologically (audio) \ adverb
archaeologist \ ˌär-​kē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce archaeologist (audio) \ noun

Examples of archaeology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To be sure, many builders see archaeology as a compulsory, time-consuming, and expensive hurdle. Megan Gannon, Popular Science, "Archaeologists and construction workers are teaming up to unearth historic relics," 13 Apr. 2020 The Dead Sea Scrolls are among archaeology's most significant scriptural finds, containing the oldest versions of the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish texts that date to the time of Jesus. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for March 16: Coronavirus, Dem debate, Syria, Iraq, Dead Sea Scrolls," 16 Mar. 2020 An artifact found in 2011 led to the lost path’s rediscovery, and research published on Wednesday in Antiquity details its unique archaeology. Tom Metcalfe, Scientific American, "Melting Ice Reveals a “Lost” Viking-Era Pass in Norway’s Mountains," 16 Apr. 2020 Construction and archaeology weren’t always so close-knit. Megan Gannon, Popular Science, "Archaeologists and construction workers are teaming up to unearth historic relics," 13 Apr. 2020 By combining archaeology with DNA data on family ties, the new study sharpened the picture. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Why are adult daughters missing from ancient German cemeteries?," 10 Oct. 2019 The cave was a pivotal site for mid-20th century archaeology. NBC News, "Did Neanderthals bury their dead with flowers? Iraq cave yields new clues.," 19 Feb. 2020 The paper also represents a change for archaeology. James Gorman, New York Times, "Humans Dominated Earth Earlier Than Previously Thought," 29 Aug. 2019 In other uses of A.I. in archaeology, researchers have used computer vision systems to try to detect likely excavation sites from aerial imagery and to help classify pottery shards found on digs. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "This is not a drill: The coronavirus pandemic is testing A.I.’s ability to handle extreme events," 24 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'archaeology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of archaeology

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for archaeology

French archéologie, from Late Latin archaeologia antiquarian lore, from Greek archaiologia, from archaio- + -logia -logy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about archaeology

Time Traveler for archaeology

Time Traveler

The first known use of archaeology was in 1837

See more words from the same year

Statistics for archaeology

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Archaeology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for archaeology


How to pronounce archaeology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of archaeology

: a science that deals with past human life and activities by studying the bones, tools, etc., of ancient people


variants: or archeology \ ˌär-​kē-​ˈä-​lə-​jē \

Kids Definition of archaeology

: a science that deals with past human life and activities as shown by objects (as pottery, tools, and statues) left by ancient peoples

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on archaeology

Spanish Central: Translation of archaeology

Nglish: Translation of archaeology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of archaeology for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about archaeology

Comments on archaeology

What made you want to look up archaeology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!