Heritage, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 1988 Page: 13
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TEXAS ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH LAB
food the hunters brought home? Or did
they gather and cultivate foodstuffs? Did
this give them more power and value
within their groups?
Demographics-as populations expanded
and contracted, was there war,
Human conflict-what causes it?
Interaction with groups-how did they
interact? Did individuals maintain kinship
ties when they married outside of the
group? Did nomadic hunting groups harass
the more settled farmers and gatherers?
Religion and ritual-how did these
people define their relationship with God
and nature ? What deities did they worship ?
Did they practice sacrifice? How did they
seek guidance for problems and illnesses?
To find answers to these questions, archaeologists
are at work all over the world,
and all over Texas. Because there is so
much to do, they are often working in
emergency situations, excavating among
the foundations of office buildings and in
advance of bulldozers digging up new
roads. Remember the mammoth bones at
an Austin construction site? And Leanderthal
Lady, who was found in the path of
new road construction?
Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions
in the public mind about the
purposes of archaeology. Many people
think the purpose of all this digging is to
find buried treasure, or at the very least to
find yet more ancient pots and unexciting
stone tools to join other such objects on
dusty museum shelves. But archaeology
involves far more than just finding old
objects in the ground. Archaeologists work
with teams of scientific specialists and a
battery of up-to-date equipment in order to
understand and reconstruct precisely how
people lived in the past.
Unfortunate, too, is that as archaeology
has developed and become widely publicized,
many people wish to own archaeological
pieces simply because they are rare
or beautiful, and their possession brings
pleasure. In Texas today, this desire has
spawned an industry of treasure hunters
and grave robbers.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 3, Fall 1988, periodical, 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45436/m1/13/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.