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Why we have to dig for artifacts.

  1. Nov 9, 2011 #1
    A previous poster asked why we always to have to dig down into the planet to find the past and never did get his question answered.

    If "Whatever it is" stays on the surface it goes away because of erosion. If "whatever it is" got buried it is protected from the elements and thus, preserved, for us to dig up.

    The planet is not expanding, the surface just gets moved around alot by what goes on up top (and underneath for that matter).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2011 #2

    phyzguy

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    The burying is not random. People tend to bring things to the places where they live, and over time the ground is raised because of the accumulation of centuries of discarded garbage, construction material, etc. Remember that garbage trucks are a relatively recent invention. Archaeologists call the area of built up land in places where people have lived a 'tell':

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell
     
  4. Nov 9, 2011 #3
    Thanks Phyzguy!

    Answers the question "Why the heck do we find so many graves". Because we buried it in the first place.
     
  5. Nov 9, 2011 #4
    Actually, quite a few artifacts are found right on the surface. Almost all of these were buried at one time or another, and erosion has exposed them. Many of our finest archeological sites were first brought to the attention of scholars by the chance finding of a surface artifact.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2011 #5
    At a certain excavation site, it was found that the particular region had around 3 civilizations one over the other, but since the difference between each civilization was between 2000 to 5000 years, thus there wasn't a single finding which showed any influence of first on the second or the second on the third. The Great Canyons have the answer to how much of the land mass could be buried. The Great Canyon was once a uniform landmass with rivers rushing around with its tributaries. It is the river which had cut the land into what we have today's Great Canyons. So it could mean that rivers from the top would erode tonnes of soil and sediment all the way down. So we have to excavate to find historical data and artifacts.
     
  7. Nov 21, 2011 #6
    Mostly due to erosion and weathering of mountains; for example, the Appalachins used to be higher than the Rockies. This weathering is still going on and deposited on the earth's surface.

    Also, artifacts found on the surface lack the archeological context as compared to one found in stratified soil.

    Furthermore, in the Arctic the paleoeskimo sites near beaches get older with higher elevations and further from the current beach because of the post-glacial rebounce.

    Therefore, where you artifacts is mostly based on previous geological
     
  8. Nov 21, 2011 #7
    Mostly due to erosion and weathering of mountains; for example, the Appalachins used to be higher than the Rockies. This weathering is still going on and deposited on the earth's surface.

    Also, artifacts found on the surface lack the archeological context as compared to one found in stratified soil.

    Furthermore, in the Arctic the paleoeskimo sites near beaches get older with higher elevations and further from the current beach because of the post-glacial rebounce.

    Therefore, where you artifacts is mostly based on previous geological activities in the area.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2011 #8
    When the glaciers receded after the last ice age the land being held down by their weight often rose. This pattern is also evident in northern europe.
     
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