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The 2,000-year-old remains of Ancient Rome in Italy are being excavated and mapped by these archaeologists.

Archaeology is the science that studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis and presentation of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, features, biofacts, and landscapes.

The goals of archaeology vary, and there is debate as to what its aims and responsibilities are. Some goals include the documentation and explanation of the origins and development of human cultures, understanding culture history, chronicling cultural evolution, and studying human behavior and ecology, for both prehistoric and historical societies. Also, Archaeologists are concerned with the study of methods used in the discipline, and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings underlying the questions archaeologists ask of the past. The tasks of surveying areas to find new sites, excavating sites to recover cultural remains, classification, analysis, and preservation are all important phases of the archaeological process. These are all important sources of information. Given the broad nature of the discipline, there is a great deal of cross-disciplinary research in archaeology. It draws upon anthropology, history, art history, classics, ethnology, geography, physics, information sciences, chemistry, statistics, paleoecology, paleontology, paleozoology, paleoethnobotany, paleobotany.

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Vasa's port side bow
Vasa was a warship that was built for King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden from 1626 to 1628. The ship sank after sailing less than 1-nautical-mile (1.9 km) into her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628. Vasa fell into obscurity after initial attempts at recovering her valuable cannons in the 17th century but was located again in the late 1950s, in a busy shipping lane just outside the Stockholm harbour. She was salvaged with a largely intact hull on April 24, 1961. She was housed in a temporary museum called Wasavarvet ("The Wasa Shipyard") until 1987, and was then moved to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The ship is one of Sweden's most popular tourist attractions and, as of 2007, has attracted more than 25 million visitors. Vasa was built top-heavy with insufficient ballast. Despite an obvious lack of stability in port, she was allowed to set sail and foundered a few minutes later when she first encountered a wind stronger than a breeze. The impulsive move to set sail resulted from a combination of factors. King Gustavus Adolphus, who was abroad on the date of her maiden voyage, was impatient to see Vasa join the Baltic fleet in the Thirty Years' War. At the same time, the king's subordinates lacked the political courage to discuss the ship's structural problems frankly or to have the maiden voyage postponed. An inquiry was organized by the privy council to find someone responsible for the disaster, but no sentences were handed out. During the 1961 recovery, thousands of artifacts and the remains of at least 15 people were found in and around the hull of the Vasa by marine archaeologists.


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Cliff Palace
Credit: Gustaf Nordenskiöld

An 1891 photograph of Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling—a structure built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs—in North America, located in what is now Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA. There are about 150 rooms in the 288 ft (88 m) long structure, although only 25 to 30 of those were used as living space by Ancient Pueblo Peoples. it is estimated that the population of Cliff Palace was roughly 100–150 people.

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