Archaeology terms, definitions & comments 2

There are numerous terms that archaeologists use and some of them get overused too much. In today’s article we will look at a couple of those terms and then the definition of the term archaeologist


#1. temple- a building used for the worship of a god or gods in some religions (Cambridge dict.)

This is one of those overused terms. it seems that the way archaeologists use this term and one other that the ancient people had no homes, no businesses, no police or law enforcement offices and so on. It is a miracle that almost every archaeologist is able to find a temple in no matter how big or how small the excavation site.

Just recently a small discovery took place and at least halfway through the article only the buildings of the elites and religious temples were mentioned. it is amazing at how astute almost all archaeologists are as they somehow managed to only find these buildings.

But homes of the elite and temples were not the only buildings in the ancient world. We know that prisons existed  with the first ones mentioned around 1,000 BC and have been known to exist since around 3,000 BC. Yet rarely do we hear of these discoveries.

In doing a little research on this topic of prisons most articles mentioned only a few with those articles mentioning the same ones. The most famous of course was the Roman Mamertine and a different website said this was the only Roman prison. But that is not true as there was at least one other called The Carcer Tullianum (Tullianum Prison in Latin) and it is said to have pre-dated the establishment of Rome.

How and why these prisons were used is not the point although we may disagree with the conclusions given about them. The point is and as Ecc. 1 tells us, there is nothing new under the sun. Which means that every building described by archaeologists to be a temple may not have been one in its era.

With nothing new under the sun, the ancients would have government civil offices, warehouses, schools, businesses, market buildings and more. There were possibly repair shops, furniture building shops and other service structures including clinics and hospitals. If you do some research you will find that some ancient surgeries were on par if not better than modern day surgeries completed by world class surgeons.

They were not limited to temples and elite housing or palaces. The over identification of these ancient buildings by archaeologists distorts the reality of life in the past

#2. palace- a large house that is the official home of a king, queen, or other person of high social rank (Cambridge)

This is another term that is overused by archaeologists and it competes with the term temple in its discoveries and identifications. The same arguments given for the temple applies here and while there may have been palaces and large estates in the ancient world, not every large building was a palace.

Just last year one real palace may have been discovered in Egypt but in our view this building may only have been a museum, a government office housing many government services and ministries and so on. In reading that article some Egyptologists are calling it a temple not a palace.

That is the thing with archaeology and archaeologists- one will say potatoe and another will say patawto using the same evidence. It is stipulated that there were palaces and temples in the ancient world but not as many as archaeologists would have everyone think.

Here is a link to another discovery of a supposed palace. Archaeologist, for both palaces and temples, are not deriving their conclusions from ancient contemporary manuscripts describing the purpose and function of each building they uncover.

Instead they come to their conclusions through muted pieces of evidence and their own thinking. They usually come from a modern perspective and how temples, palaces and other buildings are supposed to look like not from the ancient perspective and how the buildings actually looked like.

The building in Iran may have been a resort, apartment complex, or some other structure. With no ancient corroboration it is impossible to tell what the building was used for. Archaeologists are basically guessing.

#3. goddess- a female deity (Oxford dictionary)

We are sure we have mentioned this term before yet it is overused as often as temple is as archaeologists look at ancient figurines and give those old artifacts status they may not be entitled to. We say this because archaeologists will pick up an old figurine no matter how ugly it is and label it a goddess. Again they do this with no ancient manuscript corroborating their identification.

There may have been a temple of Diana, Horus, Osirus and so on but that does not mean the figurines discovered were representatives of those ancient gods and goddesses. For all we know those figurines could have been the failed attempts by pottery students to complete their assignment or joke figurines we see today or just collectibles.

We know of at least one figurine manufacturer and that one can tell us that there must have been plenty more around the ancient world. While the archaeologists involved with this discovery said they were used for economical and political reasons (with no ancient corroboration), there are far too many discoveries that label the pottery pieces as goddesses. That is just one example.

Again while the ancient people may have had religious figurines, not everyone did and not everyone uncovered is a depiction of a goddess from any age they are taken.

#4. archaeologist- a person who studies human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains (Oxford)

That is a pretty good description of  what an archaeologist does. They do try to study the past but they are handicapped by several hindrances. Those hindrances include totally destroyed information, artifacts and buildings, partial discoveries of same, bad dating and even bad identification.

Again what one archaeologist says is a palace another might say it is a temple. In a similar vein, Eilat Mazar went through this when she announced she discovered walls from the time of Solomon. She wrote a book about it. And other archaeologists take an opposing view not only of her discovery but of others that prove that Kings David & Solomon ruled when the Bible states.

That is another argument for another day. What is the point of this section is what the definition for the term archaeologist does not say. Archaeologists are skilled at digging in the dirt and uncovering some great pieces of ancient history but there are several things they are not and have no idea about.

For one thing, they are not building or construction experts. Their opinions about ancient construction are not based on expert knowledge if any real construction knowledge. Their views of royalty and past governments are not based on government expertise held by the archaeologist as the majority of them do not have any idea on how politics and governments work.

The archaeologist is creating theories, conclusions and make declarations about the past with little knowledge of what actually took place and very little inside information that would qualify them as an expert on those individual aspects of ancient life.

Another example would be ancient medical practices. Archaeologists may discover quotes from ancient people whop called on their gods to heal their ailing relatives or loved ones. Seeing those few quotes the archaeologist extrapolates those ideas to the whole of the different ancient societies.

They do this despite the fact we have more than enough medical discoveries for surgery, dental work, prescriptions and more showing the modern archaeologists that the ancients practiced medicine like skilled modern practitioners. Literacy is another example as archaeologists declare the ancient world illiterate in spite of the fact we have more writings than we can count from the ancient world.

It is also impossible to declare people illiterate when archaeologists  are working with less than 5% of the ancient world contents. Most people today are literate yet you wouldn’t know it as their writings would never survive the test of time.

While archaeologists do a good job in uncovering buildings, artifacts and manuscripts from the past, they are not experts on the aspects of life they pontificate at length. They do not have any more knowledge about the past than what the different discoveries reveal and they cannot speak for long dead people or read their minds.

Sadly, the pubic is left with what the archaeologist tells them and books, articles and research papers contradicting those theories are often suppressed (and we are not talking about the alien theorists who think aliens influenced the ancient world. Those groups seem to have found their voice and avenues of spreading their message to the public).

One example of this is the information in Chapter 11 of Dr. Charles Hapgood’s book Path to the Poles. We tried searching for the information he recorded and the locations he mentioned they were in, but to this day we have had no luck and cannot verify what he said was discovered.

The past is not as many archaeologists declare it to be.