ar·​chae·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌär-kē-ˈä-lə-jē \
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

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Other Words from archaeology

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

Examples of archaeology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Others are brainstorming ways to raise money for Templar archaeology in Israel. Kristina Krug, Smithsonian, "Meet the Americans Following in the Footsteps of the Knights Templar," 28 June 2018 Ryder pointed to the need for future research to draw on both genetics and archaeology to shape our understanding of modern domestic horses, their relatives, and their ancestors—a relationship that is still proving tricky to pin down. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Ancient DNA rules out archeologists’ best bet for horse domestication," 25 Feb. 2018 The study is also a reminder that the field of archaeology has much to offer modern ecologists. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "Rat Bones Reveal How Humans Transformed Their Island Environments," 7 June 2018 In 2015, researchers uncovered one of the most significant finds in dental archaeology: 47 teeth in a cave in southern China. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Ancient Teeth Reveal The Roots of Humankind," 2 July 2018 Since the 1980s, when experimental archaeology came into fashion, archaeologists started international competitions using prehistoric weaponry. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists armed with spears demonstrate how Neanderthals hunted," 28 June 2018 Yet archaeology alone has left many questions unanswered, such as who exactly lived in those early sites and how they were related to each other. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "The Great Breakup: The First Arrivals to the Americas Split Into Two Groups," 31 May 2018 The committee heard reports on a traffic model, Alamo market study and archaeology in Alamo Plaza. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "Next Alamo hearing to give public more information," 10 July 2018 Stephen Davis, an archaeology professor at University College Dublin, said there had not been a significant excavation since the 1970s, leaving researchers unable to precisely date the henges. Daniel Victor, New York Times, "Drought and Drone Reveal ‘Once-in-a-Lifetime’ Signs of Ancient Henge in Ireland," 13 July 2018

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.

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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

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27 Oct 2018

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The first known use of archaeology was in 1837

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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

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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

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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