Ask the Experts

Our Experts, who have volunteered to share their time and information, include researchers, university professors, AIA Board members, ancient art historians, field archaeologists, museum specialists, architectural historians, and more – all with specialized knowledge of specific ancient cultures and subjects.

We have created a catalogue of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). In the FAQ section are answers to some of the questions archaeologists are most often asked, arranged by topic. If you want to know the meaning of a particular archaeological term, please check our online Glossary.

If you cannot find an answer in the FAQ, please leave a comment! Please be patient, since our volunteer archaeologists are sometimes excavating, teaching, or otherwise occupied, and may not be able to respond immediately.


Good morning, I have been finding stones for years and it seems that I'm the only one I'm on my friends and family that see animals in them faces I was beginning to think I was crazy until now... I'm not the only one I'm so glad I found this site. I found a 1 inch by half inch Stone yesterday it's got black dots on it letters on it imprints of stick people and on the other side and image of a Basset Hound sitting up along with a long tan ear.. and when you do find these stones look for more details because its sort of tells a story.. and what blows my mind is that how small these stones are and how they can call these little animals in people's faces on them even deer!! So I'm very happy to know I'm not alone thank you.

In my family we've passed down a ring for generations. Only story ever told about the darn thing was the my paternal grandfather's uncle brought it home along with a couple other souvenirs from the war (might have been in our family longer). Could tell it was bronze from the tarnish and certainly handmade, however, the craftsmanship put into the ring didn't match any industrial era jewelry I'd ever seen. Just for historical curiosity, I hope to hear from someone soon.

I found a stone with weird markings or something just wondering if it's anything

My longtime friend who lives near Aguas Caliente gave me some stones he discovered near his mine  engraved with many signs , figures and pictograph writings.  How can I confirm authenticity and value to history.

I found an unusual object on the beach at Stone Harbor New Jersey in the ocean.  It appears to be wood, old and look like an alligator head. It is about 2 inches.  I have pictures. I don't how to attach them. I am just curious if maybe it is American Indian jewelry. 

I am woundering what to do with a few pieces of poetry that I found in Abrahams ruins in Iraq. I was stationed there about 10 years ago and went through the ruins. Now I'm looking to do something with them. Any ideas?

Regarding writing from ruins in Iraq. Contact state of Israel antiquities department.

Hello I found an interesting artifact recently. A couple months ago I found would appear to be a stick with a nipple sticking out at the end of it assuming another piece was supposed to be there. It has what appears to be a totem pole with a Thunderbird a pelican and a mid Western gentleman in his rain gear. Just last week in the same exact spot I found the other piece! It was the handle to the cane that connects perfectly. The cane is weathered has some splits in the wood. Fortunately the cane is still in one piece. Could you please tell me what I have here? Thank you and have a nice day!!

My Dad found this tooth in Lafayette County Mo. 40 years ago. We have it in a box, would like someone to tell us about it.

My husband has a rock with bone in it. Looks like vertebrae. Very unusual. 

I found a rock that looks like it used to be mud a long long time ago and there is an about 2 inch like half a banana and in the broken part is an outer ring that is a darker than then the next ring is lighter then there is a dark gray ring then the middle is a cream colored tan. And on another side is like a bone fragment that's the same color. Any idea what it could be?

Hello, I was given a sword recently. I understand that American Indians weren't fond of swords as choice weaponry. This sword is not a 'flea-market' item though. It was found in an estate cleanout in Pennsylvania yrs ago and has sat in a closet since. The sheath/scabbard is hand made leather with rough stamping(compared to today's standards) and has no signs of mildew or dry rot. The handle is hand wrapped leather as well.  Obviously never left out in elements. The metal has an even coat of rust which, to me, would be a sign of "rough" metallurgy, on account of how intact the leather is. There's an engraved mark on the blade that I can't think would be anything other than Native American style. I took a pencil rubbing of the engraving and have some basic iPhone pictures of the sword and sheath. Is there an expert that I could be put in contact with to find out anything about this sword? At this point, it's an heirloom and am not interested in any dollar value of it. I'm a big time American history lover and this piece isn't even close to anything I've ever seen in any museum.


Sam Cooper

When digging a garden on a job, I came across a large pebble like stone which seems to have some ancient drawing on. The stone looks in to good condition to be true, but can never be too sure.

I have a stone with a face. Seems like it could be Mayan or in a I'm not sure. I can provide pictures if interested, any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! 

Today i think i found an dinosaur egg i need help to identity if it is and what it is heres my email i can send pics

When I was a teenager I found an old ring in the dirt made out of cooper with pyramids on it 

I found something in the ocean water . I think is a Dinosaur or sculpture of a Griffin.


My partner and I bought a nephratiti bust at a car boot sale not too long ago and were wondering about the history of it. It is made completely of granite and we cannot find anything remotely similar online or for sale anywhere else. 

There is a small emblem imprinted on the bottom side of the bust which we only recently noticed and cannot be felt by touch.

It is extremely well made.

Happy to send over a picture if requested. 


Charlotte Thornton. 

Years ago my family and I lived in England.  We were given to sculptures made out of animal bone of a man and woman.  We have had them for years and never have figured out what they are.   Email me if youd like to see pictures.

I have found a rock that appears to have a face carved in it. It looks very old and would love an expert opinion on it and possible orgine or tribe. Will send photos 

Recently in the idaho desert in a badger hole 2 sets of bones carbon dated back to around 5 centuries ago. I was wondering who they go to, currently it is Shoshone Indian tribe land, and does that site become a historical site to be later used for more research or does it just go back to public land? 

i found a rock at Ramapo Reservation with a red drawing on it. 

Hello, thank you for this service. I need some help attributing and dating a beaded necklace I have. I am certain it is of Native American origin, but am not sure which tribe and from when. If someone reaches out to me, I can share a few images that may help. Thank you.

Anyone interested in buying it I have photos 

Thanks Paula :)

Just curious as to how old a vertibre fossil my mother in law found with an obvious flint arrowhead lodged inside. Is there a way to send a couple pictures?

Hello, I'm am an exorcist in Alabama. I exorcised a family last weekend who moved here from Maryland about 10 years ago. While cleansing the property, the lady I exorcised showed me an old weapon ( mace) she found on the land of an old plantation up in Maryland. It had a very dark entity attached to it and I am currently cleansing the item. If I am successful in getting rid of the demonic attachment to the item, I'd like to send it to a museum in Maryland for their collection, since the item is native to that area. I was wondering if there is a way to judge the age of an item by possibly the construction of the chain links? I'm not looking to make money off anything, I'd just like an idea of the age of the item out of curiosity, and if I can nutrualize the item, give it to the original area where it came from. I don't think it ever should have left the state. Just my opinion. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Hello, my grandpa found some "rocks" by the Missouri River a long time ago and these rocks lookmmore like tools from Indian times. I'm trying my best to explain this without sounding stupid but we are just trying to figure out what they are one is possitle a tool used for grinding and one is something questionable. We also have some old fossil shells that would be cool to be looked at and one rock that we think might be a meteorite since it is small and heavier than a normal rock and has some slight magneticness to it. Thanks and I hope you can get back to me soon!

Hello all, 

I have an assignment that requires me to conduct a brief interview with an archeologist that has worked in or around the state of New Hampshire. If someone could point me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful.


Thank you,

Sian L. 


Hello wanted to have a rock looked at believe it has a fossil in it

Bought at auction,old lead indian sculpture, was told it was dug up by a farmer near trail of tears Illinois ,need info on it.   Have pics of it if interested q

I have something my grandma gave to me. It appears to be an old hammer made out of stone and maybe bone. Would be interested in someone to look at some photos for me to see if it is anything of historical significance. Thanks! 

Carved stone or meteorite art work found in Columbia   

Seeking an expert to whom we may send photos in hopes 

that they may be identified. 

We are most grateful for any leads. 

40 years ago, my father found two small figurines outside of Riggins Idaho

One 8s of the 3 monkeys (Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil and See no Evil)

The other is a person hoping a small musical instrument  (Chinese Figure)

I know once upon a time Chinese people were forced to dig mines in Idaho and other area's, I'm just wondering if someone can take a look at these figurines and tell me some history

Any help would be appreciated 

Dug up a wooden native american indian paddle and canoe out of pea river near  samson al. Wanting to know how to get it authenticated  and its value.

I found 3 object in my yard while gardening and I need to know what they are!

The Maine Historic Archeological Sites.And on page 7 of B-2 it says in the list.Excalibur # 3 Sword Find.Number ME003-008 .Is this real and if so .Is there any information on it? Was it a piece of rusted Sword and wear is it ? What museum ? I woud appreciate any information on it. Thank you very much. Sincerly Wayne MacLean

Thank you for taking the time to read this request.

I saw a site I liked but didn't write it down at that time. Now I cannot find it.  It was for virtual volunteering to use my jigsaw-puzzle abilities to virtually match up shards for archaeological sites, both biblical and non-biblical.  Then the archaeologists can virtually piece together the objects without having to spend a lot of time on it, thanks to crowd-sourcing.  

On what websites may I sign up to do the at-home virtual volunteering of matching up shards for the various sources?

Thank you.


Last week, I bought a few leather purses as gift for my friends while visited Spain. The store is in a basement, about 20 Meters away from a famous Plaza.

After we came out of the store, the local guide told us “The nearby Plaza used to be an old church between 1200 and 1811 before it was razed. In 1999, the bones of some 50 people was excavated from the underground crypts”

The history of plaza really kept me worry – Since the basement-store is so close to the crypts, could it be possible that the grave soils contaminated the basement-store through the walls?  Some articles said grave soils from ancient tombs could contain fatal pathogens such as Plaque. What do you think?

Your kind reply will help me to decide if I shall give friends those leather purses.

I recently bought what looks like an Egyptian dagger. Have been looking online and haven't had any luck finding any information about it. The knife is brass and has what looks like a crest on it . Rosewood handle with white round pegs in the shape of two letters x. It all looks hand made and old . I will be more than happy to send a pic. Thank you 

My name is Kenny Smith. I was digging a ditch for my grandmother and I came across some really unique things .for instance lots of rock carvings of people and of animals and lots of hearts .im posarive by what I have found it's special.i myself believe it's a lost city thank u god bless .i think the statues are griffins

Was just discussing isotopic (strontium) analysis of tooth enamel as a way to trace origin for skeletal remains (eg. with K'inich Yax K'uk Mo). What effect will our modern consumption of bottled water have on the ability to use such analysis in the future, let's say, with a person who consumes only bottled water?

Hello there from the UK. I have a question that's been bugging me for sometime now. Have any of you considered your ancestors? Perhaps just going back a few generations? Well I'm going to go back 40 generations. That in a time scale is 1000 years, allowing 25 years per generation. So let's take a look at the numbers. I need 2 parents, my parents need 2 parents, and so on. So going back just 40 generations how many ancestors would I have? These numbers are based on all of my ancestors being single children. 100, 500, 1000? Not even close. It's over 1 trillion, the exact number is 1,099,511,627,776. Down the street where I live the is a lady with Chinese ancestors, a man with African ancestors, a man with Indian ancestors, and finally a lady with Pakistani ancestors. Including myself that is 5 people from different parts of the world. In total that makes 5,497,558,138,880 ancestors from 40 generations. Now, let's go to 42 generations, which takes us back 1050 years. Between the five of us from different parts of the world that makes a total of 21,990,232,555,520 ancestors. This is from 5 totally unrelated people, covering a time period of 1050 years. This calculation also applies to animals alive today, and the extinct one like the dinosaurs. So my question is where are all the bones? In truth the planet should be covered in bones kilometres deep, but it isn't. WHY?

Recently while running on a wooded trial I found what looks to me could be some type of stone tool. I found it close to a small pond. It has a flat end, fits perfectly into my hand, and even looks like it has slight indentations where fingers would have rubbed. Is there somewhere I can send pictures or show someone to see if it's actually something?

Is this bone ancient like a mammoth , or as recent as cattle? It was definitely "filleted" by a "human"

I am looking for someone to buy a beautiful neo-lithic lot of stone idols and hand hammers.  Do you know who I could speak with to see about selling them.  Thank You. 

While fishing on Lake George on 5-20-17, the anchor on the boat drug up a bone. I work at a hospital so our radiology dept and a dr. verified it was a knee bone, but don't think it is human. There are shells imbedded in it and appears to be pretty old. How can I find out what it is?

I have a celtic gold bracelet, passed down in the family that was found in Wiedersee, Ost Preussen (now Poland) A celtic grave was found on the von Weitzel's estate in 1886. Through the generations, we've been told that Baron Hans George von Weitzel was allowed to keep one thing from the find before it was all taken by an archeologist. I'd love to know more about the bracelet, but can't find any online information. Any tips to help? Thank you!

Hi, I have found a sculpture, according to the research I've done, it's apparently a sculpture from the ancient city of Moenjodaro called the "Dancing Girl". One of many that have been discovered.

I just wanted to ask if there is a way to check if it's genuine or just another replica.



My name is larry Davidson I have come across it looks like a rock used for grinding Stones Indians or caveman I would like for somebody to give me some feedback I can send photos thank you

I need help identifying a medallion/necklace founding my father's safe deposit box after he past away.I tried to send you a picture but I did not find a place for attachments Thank you, Andrew

I found a thin copper stamped cuff bracelet in a river in northern Italy, I would like some info on it.

      I have a question. ......I have found a fossiled leaf in lava rock which is still this common? I don't think I've ever seen one. If you have any info about this I would appreciate very much....

     Thank you very much for your time,                                  

     Michael Wheat  e- mail, 

AncientCattle bones are they significant, relateing to the past? Are they worth anything?

I metal detect for a hobby, I love finding history buried in the groud . The other day I had found a brass or copper pendant , around 6-8 inches deep,which I cannot identify. It measures about 2 1/2" long, it looks like a beech leaf with a crest and a sunburst on the surface.I would like to send a photo if I could. I live in Vermont if that helps.

I would suggest that you find a local museum or university to help with the identification.

Hello my name is John and I live in Harrisonville Missouri. Recently I was out searching for mushrooms with a friend and came across what appeared to be after a little unearthing skull of some sort. At first I thought I was possibly delusional but then after a closer look and my mind and or my best guess is that it could possibly be an extremely young and or hatchling skull portion from a hadrosaur. I was curious if somebody might be available to examine it for me because I will not be relinquishing it to anyone before I know what it is. If there's any way you could assist me in this feel free to contact me my phone. The number is 816-738-5214 feel free to text if I don't answer I'm generally don't pick up to numbers I don't know


I would suggest contacting a local natural history museum. They may be able to identify your discovery. You could also contact local universities for help. If it really is a dinosaur skull, it would be way too early for us archaeologists.


sir, Actually i am a electronics engineer, i have very much intrest archaeology&olden history,so i want to know one thing can i do any masters in this department,i amnot a richman,if i get job ican study my favourate ,isit possible ,kindly reply ,this is my humble request


We are not a teaching institute and do not offer classes or degree programs. You need to look up universities that offer archaeology degrees to find out what you need to do to enroll.


CAME ACROSS A ROCK THAT IVE BEEN TOLD I SHOULD GET SOME PROFFESIONAL FEEDBACK ON. so here I am. I'd like to email photos so please contact me back by email so I can forward them to you. Thank you, look forward to your opinion.


You need to contact a local natural history museum or university for help with identification. Dinosaurs are way too old for archaeologists.


My name is Waleed
I found a scorpion carved in a steady rock, showing all the details. I think this engraving belongs to the Jewish or Roman civilization. I want to know the meaning of this sign and what is its significance? I can provide you with pictures of the inscription and the place where it is located.
Thank you all.

Inherited what appears to be very old mabey first century ad need help on getting it authenticated 

The AIA does not authenticate or appraise objects.

Hello, My name is Randi; I'm a Producer with Stick Figure Productions, an Oscar and Emmy nominated production company that's developed and produced films, documentaries and series for over 40 television networks and digital platforms since it's formation in 1999.

I'm reaching out because we're currently developing documentary series in the archeology space and we're looking to attach a few more experts to the project.  I'm hoping we can connect to see if any experts with might be interested in partaking. We're also always on the look out for amazing talent to bring to their air, especially anyone that has a great rapport and a look that would translate well for television (and film).

If anyone their is interested in pursuing this oppertunity, I'd love to chat with you further about your work, as well as ours. Please let me know!



You should contact Past Preservers ( They will be able to help you connect with media-savvy experts.


Last week my husband dug up a stone, 18" tall and 6" on each side. On the top is a face, on one side is a female figure,one side is a skull a a hand, another side is the other hand, the last side is not as distinquishable. I have pictures of it that I could send if possible. I'm not sure who I could get to look at it we live in a very small town. I would appreciate any and all help thanks.

Have we discovered any facilities the Romans used for experimentation? For instance, I am sure their formulation for concrete didn't just appear overnight. Where are these facilities? How were they used? What was their personnel selection process like to staff them? The same for water wheels, medicine, surgery, metalworks.

I found a strange looking stone in my yard.It looks like a something a caveman would use to hunt with. It's 9" long, very smooth and rounded at one end, and pointed at the other, and fits my hand grip perfectly. Would you like to see a picture of it? Send me an address to send it. Thanks Rich

I am currently planning on attending a university that offers a history major but no archaeology/anthropology major. Would I be able to pursue a career as an archeologist with an undergraduate degree in history?

Yes, you will be able to pursue an archaeology degree with a history background but it does mean that you may have to take general anthropology and archaeology courses in grad school.

I found a stone in a field close to near my house when I was out walking my dog. I picked it up because I thought it looked unusual or was some kind of fossil When I showed my father he said that the markings on it and the outer area of the stone had been carved. The markings look like a strange flower/ starfish. Who can I show to get more information on it? 

I would suggest that you try finding someone at a local university that would look at it or look up local historical societies. Some of their members may be able to help you. Local natural history or science museums may also be able to help.

We were out hiking and found several bones that look as if they're vertebrae.  I wonder if there might be someone whom I could send a photo,  that might be able to tell me what animal they belong to?  

I suggest contacting a local natural history museum or university.

Who do i contact about an archaeological discovery i found in Antarctica

Hi, my name is Samantha and I am currently a senior in high school. As part of our physics class, we are asked to write a career paper about a profession we find interesting. Mine being Archaeology. That being said, I would like to ask just a few questions. 

1. Can you describe your daily duties?

2. How did you pick this career?

3. What is your favorite part of the job?

4. What is your least favorite part of the job?

5. Would you choose this career field if you had to do it again?

Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions and I look forward to hearing back from you!

What is this? I cannot find anything remotely close to it. Not on the internet or library. I would like to send a picture but this site wont let me attach. My email is I also have a Q that needs an A on a rock that has mathmatical equations on it.

What is done to keep often ancient old micro organisms from returning into the modern world and is there literature on this topic? Thank you. 

Has there ever been any follow-up investigation of the allegedly pre-Harappan cities discovered about 18 years ago in the Gulf of Cambay? I can't find any articles more recent than 2006. What is the current opinion on the authenticity and age of the site?

<p>What are some of the things archaeologists look for when determining whether a site is a good dig site or not and what key factors play a role in researching certain sites? &nbsp;How often does information from laymen&nbsp;resources assist an archaeologist in finding sites to examine, (any info from non-archaeologists such as someone out walking comes across an artifact spurs a major archaeological dig)? &nbsp;If a site is on public land vs private land what can be done to preserve the site?</p>

Hi I am Amr from Egypt . Some one I know just found an ancient book made of gold and every page contains a face of a person and some ancient words . The book consists of number of gold plates attached together by three gold circles . The book seems Christian . 

Thank you and I hope you reply soon 

This sounds something similar to the Mormon books...?

I have bought two what looks like african art and just wanted to know what they are and their history they are two female head and they are a bronze in color looks like mabey sisters or twins 

Discovered in creekbed in northern calif.

Hi, I'm a student studying symbols for research purposes. Archeology was the closest and most accessible field of experts I could find for expert opinions. In expert archeologist knowledge what are thought to be the most "powerful" symbols around the world. The list doesn't have to be long or anything just informative. I wish to set up an experiment to test if perhaps the symbols scientifically help objects endure trials to see if perhaps there is change between objects bearing different symbols. 

I've exhausted avenues known to me researching symbol/figural interpretation, specifically animal figures.  A left facing beaver w/extremities pronounced in same area recurs in relief on stone and individual cobbles. The left rear foot is always raised to just below the left eye.  This is the only one of several occurrences on land in my family unresolved. Can you suggest some reference material. Mostly AmerIndian, many have been duplicates of Neolithic anthromorphic figures.


Hi I have a stone I came across and the previous owner passed away prior to passing he had the stone appraised at Yale university they claimed it was worth about 30,000 but didn't have any dates etc. I called the university by they no longer do appraisals or dating so I am really in need of help to determine what this stone is and what era or date and of course the value of it?? Could you please help me?

The AIA does not appraise artifacts and discourages the purchase and sale of ancient objects.

Can you tell what term or phrase is used to describe the phenomenom of building over ruins or old cities/civilztions. 

Would like to know what the stone I found is

I would suggest that you contact local archaeologists either at your State's Historical Preservation Office or at a university near you. 

The church I go to owns a large plot of land that has an area on top of a large hill with what looks like an old family graveyard. There are a couple of old rocks that resemble headstones marking about three spots. I would like to get some historical information about this area. Who could I contact for more information or to do some on-site research for me?

Check your local library and talk to the librarians. They will be able to point you in the direction of books or reports that discuss local history and the development of your area. Contact local Historical Societies. They will most likely have records that could help you. You could also try to find local historians at a university near you. An online search may give you access to digital records. Good luck. 

I am looking for some info on a giant oyster fossil it weighs 18 lbs. 13.5 inches long. It was found in Cental C.A.  I have pictures and more details per request.

Thank you, Selene

Your fossil sounds amazing but the AIA is not the appropriate organization for you. I would suggest contacting an organization like American Geosciences Institute or the National Park Service. They work together on programs like National Fossil Day and will be able to help. 

Hello, I have just recently made a discovery that I thought someone on this site may be able to help me understand. If you could guide me to someone I could send pictures to I'm sure it would help, but I believe I have found some extremely old batteries in the historical grounds of my woods, though I can not seem to find any such thing online. If you could help me clear this up I would be extremely thankful as this has gotten my curiosity going.

Hello, I am a senior at a Chicago highschool and I am curious about the field of archaelogy, more precisely environmental archaeolgy. I want to obtain information about the job straight from the source. I am interested in finding out what a typical work week is like. What kind of qualifications does one need, and what kind of job options are there for someone interested in archaelogy. I want to know as much as possible about the life an archaelogist. Thank you! 

Hi Karolina,

This is a rather large topic. I would suggest that you check out the information that we have at You can also look at for more information. For specific information on Environmental Archaeology, I would suggest that you contact universities that offer this as an option, like University of North Texas (

Good Luck!


Hello and thank you for your time!

Years ago, I saw on the news in North Carolina that a huge pile of swords was found to have been buried in the north east. Maybe on native peoples land, I can't recall. But I cannot find  ANYTHING about it anywhere on the internet. Does any of this sound familiar to you?


Thank you so very much foryour time =)


Sincerely, Kathy Mace

Frazier Mountain California


I have been assigned a project on use wear. I figure I can create a stone tool myself or analyze a lithic collection.. I am just stuck on what I should do? Do you have any good ideas for me? I am completely drawing a blank.


Thank you,


James C.

What do you consider to be the most important new points developed in post-processual archaeology, and in what ways are they still relevant to archaeology today?

I live in Trinity county in the town Weaverville CA a place that holds so much history the gold rush. Chinese indentured servants, Native americans, massacres, and battles as well as lost treasures and artifacts. and the county has every type of mineral and gem stone that is found on earth. I found what looks like an arrowhead or maybe a tooth of some sort and if anyone can help me i would really like to know what it is please. Thank youI live in Trinity county in the town Weaverville CA a place that holds so much history the gold rush. Chinese indentured servants, Native americans, massacres, and battles as well as lost treasures and artifacts. and the county has every type of mineral and gem stone that is found on earth. I found what looks like an arrowhead or maybe a tooth of some sort and if anyone can help me i would really like to know what it is please. Thank you i cant figure out a picture on this but can send pic via email if anyone is interested in seeing what it is

Dear Dustyn,

I would suggest that you contact your local Historic Preservation Office ( They should be able to offer you further guidance.


Hello. My husband and I have a sculpture about 12 inches in height. It is maybe Mayan, depicting a man sitting criss cross with hands on his knees. Two other hands look to be opening the sleeves of his shirt and letting two snakes out, one for each arm. He looks to have something horizontal attached to his chin, has his ears stretched out with gauges and has a headdress with rope looping on either side. We have scoured the Internet trying to figure out what this sculpture could be. Any suggestions on what I can do to learn what it is?

Dear Veronica,

I would suggest contacting a local university that has faculty who work in the Maya area. They will be listed under anthropology or archaeology depending on the school.

Good luck!


Hi. Found you online and wanted to know if you could help me figure out what & roughly how old this is. It's a lead sculpture that weighs over 2 pounds about 5 half inches long & 3 inches wide. It was dug up in Illinois by a farmer plowing his Fields " Mennonite farm near the town of Anna by the Trail of Tears ... looks Indian but the sculpture headpiece looks different .. Any input would be totally greatly appreciated. Thanks ... got pics of you want to see them

Dear David,

I would suggest that you contact your local Historic Preservation Office or a local university. They will be able to offer further guidance in this matter.


Hello, I was just wondering if there have been any findings of a lost Greek god of essentially kama or balance. The name should be at least pronounced I des ill iss, possibly even spelt that way in English. I'd really appreciate any sort of intell on the subject and if there is none sorry to be a waste of your time and please accept my gratitude for your consideration.

Experience archaeologist would you direct me .      To get this hammer I found embedded inside of rock. Trying to get the knowledge of the hammer Thru the right steps and hands.


Dear Abraham,

I would recommend that you contact your local Historic Preservation Office. They will be able to offer guidance in this matter.



Hello. I live in Murrells Inlet,SC and found what appears to be an old coin on the beach just after the recent hurricane. It was covered in corrosion and rust and I have been holding onto it since and decided to soak it in white vinegar. I only soaked it for a short time before it began revealing blue fiberous material on both sides. I am afraid to go any further with it before asking an expert what to do next. It's clearly a coin or medallion of some sort that has obviously been under the ground or sea for a very long time. I have heard tales of pirate ships using that area long long ago and am very curious as to whether I have found something valuable or not. 

Dear Julie,

I would suggest that you contact your local Historic Preservation Office about the coin/medallion. The AIA does not work with objects that are not part of an offical archaeological project. Also, we would never assess a monetary value for any artifacts. That would go against our Code of Ethics.


I found something that looks like a rock but after cleaning it and I had it tumbling for a few days it looks like a petrified piece  of the insides of a body part with red meat and blood vessels  and a bone going through it.  I would gladly end a picture.

Thanks Chris    

Hi Chris,

It would be better to contact a local university that has a geology department. They would be able to provide more information and maybe even id the object. Sending us a picture will not be as useful.

Good luck!


Where there giant skeletons found?

No, archaeologists have not found the skeletons of giants.

I found what I think is a old tomahawk head but ant sure I would like for some to tell me about it..I've been told that it's a very rare find if you could email me and I can't send you pictures of it...

Hi Perry,

It would be better to contact local archaeologists or your state's historic preservation office. They will be in a better position to discuss local finds.

Am a student at Makerere university in Uganda and am interested in scholarscholarships enabling students yo study archeology abroad because archeology is my life personally..thank you so much.


The AIA does not offer scholarships for studying archaeology. I would recommend that you contact universities that you are interested in directly.

Good luck.

I am a B.E. Computer Science engineer, but I love archeology. Is there anyway I can enter archaeological field?

Yes, Yogesh, you can absolutely enter the archaeological field. I would suggest that you explore the possibility of attending a field school or volunteering on a project to get a feel for the discipline. You can also look into MA programs in archaeology.


Today i found what appears to be an old mortar and pestle if you could email me i can send pics

Hi Dustin,


It would probably be better to contact a local archaeologist at your State Historical Preservation Office or through a locl college or university.

I'm doing research for an article on the importance of names in ancient Egypt, focusing on the naming of children. I am having trouble finding reliable sources concerning naming rituals and the signifcance of names for children who are not of royal birth. Do you have a list of experts I might I contact or resources I could use? Thank you.


We could not find anything specific about children's names in Egypt but this book would be a good resource for names and a starting point for your research--Ronald J. Leprohon The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary.

So I am a senior in highschool and I am very interested in becomeing an archaeologist. Where can I go to look up good colleges and ways to eventually recieve my docs? And what can I do in the mean time to study the subject and possibly do some hand on expirence?

Hi Montana Rose,

I would suggest that you look into attending a field school. We have a list of opportunities at Or you could try to find a volunteer position with a local dig. This will give hands on experience. As for colleges, there are a lot of good programs out there. Where you go will depend on what you want to study. In the meantime, check out some of the information we have at

Dear Sir/Madam

This is regarding the sbmerged city in Gujrat,India,has been named as Dwarka.Kindly inform me following:

1.What is the archeological history of the submerged city?

2.How old is the city?

3.Some history about it.Like the people there and the rulers

4.Was Lord Krishna was a ruler?Or it is purely a mythology?


Dr Prashant Mukherjee

Hello- My son has been looking for a book entittled Attis: King, Priest and God.  He has been looking for years. It pops up on Amazon and EBay at 175.00 a pop.  He has paid the money only to not have the book sent to him which results with him getting a refund and no book.  Not sure if this is a scam.  The book is written in Italian, but a few copies were in English. i have never seen a book so hard to get.  I understand it is out of print, but you'd think someone, anywhere, would want to sell their copy at such a high price.  Have you heard of this book? Can you tell me anything about it? are there other books that delve into this cult?  My son has had no luck in this matter.  Thank you.

Hello- What is the best way to determine the age of steel?  



     My husband found a bunch of old arrowheads,  tools, etc  out where he's working. He's a fencer and was building a fence for some man who bought some Native American land and was gives permission to keep the things he found. Im just wondering if they are real ancient artifacts or if they are frauds. I don't see a way to post pictures here but if you could email me, I'd love to send you some. 


Thank You,

Abby Perez



Hi Abby,

It is very likely that they are suthentic. You should contact a local archaeologist about the discovery. One resource would be the State Historic Preservation Office for your state.


I need to know if what I possess is a piece of jewelry and if so when was it made and what is it worth if you email me I will be glad to send a pic

Hi Armando,

The AIA does not authenticate or evaluate objects. I would suggest that you contact a local jeweler.


Although it's very interesting when we learn things from history, I just think we have something in the present that all that money can be spent on. I promise I'm not trying to argue or minimaize the work done, but don't you think the money would be better spent on hungry children today? I'm not a liberal but I am a mom. Thanx so much.

Dear Mary Beth,

This is a tough question. If the only choices were archaeology or hungry children, hungry children would win out every time (and rightfully so). The reality is that we spend money on a whole variety of things that we consider important in addition to feeding hungry children. Research (including archaeology and history) is critical to advancing human knowledge. Disciplines like archaeology and history help us to better understand human behavior over the years and  this knowledge allows us to address many of the current issues that we face. Also, the amount of money spent on archaeological and historical research is actually quite small. 

Can archaeologist kept what they found for themselves? 

No, archaeologists do not keep what they find. Generally, artifacts and any other archaeological materials belong to the country in which they are found.

Hello! I'm a student of the Cicerone Program (think beer sommelier). I am currently studying history and was curious about ancient symbols for this old school beverage. What is the oldest known symbol for beer? How did it evolve over time? (Sumerians, Egyptians, etc)  Thank you!!

Hi Sean,

Take a look at this article and check out some of the other essays that Patrick McGovern has written. He is an expert on ancient beverages. Here is the link:


I think I may have found something on google earth that I am curious to find out if the archeology community is aware of its existence or not ,It is in the middle of nowhere in the centre of the dessert near Egypt it is umarked and there are no roads or paths that go to it ,nor is there any civilization around it for miles ,It look as if it is a man made structure covered in a layer of sand ,I googled the coordinates and searched what I could nothing comes up as a marked destination but there is Definatley something there.I have saved the coordinates as well as screen shots .My question is who or how do I contact a university of archeology to find out ask some questions and see if we can figure out what this thing is ? Thanks for your time hope to hear back soon&nbsp;</p>

I would suggest that you contact the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. The director of the lab has extensive experience with locating sites using satellite imagery and specific knowledge of Egyptian sites.

Hello, I am Amit and I am doing my project on cultural relics repairing. I have on equestion, Is there any software available which help us to obtain the original 3D model of the object from broken fragments? If yes then can you please tell me some software?

Thank you

Amit, different projects use different techniques and software. Here are links to a few articles that you may find useful:;;

I am reading a journal written my an archaeologist in the 1930's. In it, he decribes finding burials. Sometimes he says that the skeleton/burial is a reburial. How can he tell when it is a reburial as oppossed to a (first time) burial?

Usually, an archaeologist can tell if a body has been reburied or moved after it was initially interred because of the disturbance to the setting in which the body is found. The skeletal material itself may show signs of having been moved (pieces may be lost, bones may be damaged). The burial cut or pit may show that it was dug and filled several times. The bits of soil attached to the body may be difefrent from the soil that it was found in leading one to conclude that it may have been moved there from a different location. There are many little clues that could indicate that the burial was not a first time burial.

Does the 2.3 million stone blocks in the Great Pyramid include the 144,000 cashing stones?  

It does appear that the 2.3 million estimate includes the casing stones.

tumb found with clay pot with skull inside and a jade ax with a lion or wolf engraved into one side of the jade ax. and rock pyramid 8meters long 4meters wide stacked 12meters tall skull painting on a huge rock animals people and some type of wrighting engraved into rock. I would like to know what type of people these are? 

Where was this tomb found? Was this found during an official and permitted excavation? If so, there will probably be a report on the discovery. If it was not found in the course of a legitimate exacavation, it may be illegal.

I'm giving a demonstration on hoes at a home and gardens show in April and I was hoping to find someone specializing in their history.  Please contact me if you do or know someone that does. 

We're having a little debate at work about which came first stairs or ladders? This is some arguements for both sides. Is there an answer?

Tough question. There is not a definite answer to this question but general opinion seems to favor stairs as having come before a ladder. The first stairs may have been footholds cut into rocks or trunks of trees (but would that make them ladders?).

we kept a big tooth owned by a giant as claimed by my great great grandfather can we test it what type of animal or species owned it?

We suggest that you contact your local natural history museum or university. They may have experts on staff who can answer your question. You can also look online at images of teeth for comaprison but it would be easier to take it to an expert. Your local vet may be able to tell you whether it is an animal tooth.

If I have found an artifact on my land, how do I go about verifying/identifying what it is?  I am not near any sort of museum, but I am near Texas A&M University.

The University or Texas' State Historic Preservation Office would be your best bet to get an answer to your identification question.

Hello, my name is Stephanie Perez and I attend frankford high school in Philadelphia, Pa. I&#39;m a senior and I would like to ask a few questions for my senior project on archaeologist. I will be very grateful if an experienced archaeologist can answer only 6 for me. The questions are:

1) what is your job title?

2) how many years have you worked as an archaeologist? We&#39;re they all within the same company?

3) would you describe the duties you perform at work?

4) what do you like about your job?

5) what is the most difficult aspect of your job?

6) based on your experience, what would you say to a person considering a carter in archaeology?

It will be very helpful if Someome can take the time out of their day and answer these few questions I have. Thank you, Stephanie Perez

We get too many of these requests to be able to respond to each of them. To get a general idea of how archaeology works, please go to

So I've been watching a lot of documentaries lately on early ancestry, and the various other kinds of human to exist along side us in prehistory. What I'm wondering is this... when a new speceis is found, sey... Homofloresiensis for example (which I think was only just discovered in 2005)... On what grounds do they decide it's an entirely new species? How can someone be sure it's not just a strange looking member of one of the other species of hominid known to already exist at the time dated? Are they finding whole villages of these guys? I hope this question isn't completely ridiculous. I'm genuinely curious. I've wondered that since I first heard about the discovery of Lucy, the Australopithecus afarensis. I remember as a kid seeing that and going...wait, so they know the general timeperiod, they know she's small, they know she's an adult...but this is the only skelliton we do we know she's not a dwarf? how do we know it's a species and not just...Lucy? haha. I feel like my questions are probably easilly explained, but I'd apreceate any respose I can get. Hope this isn't a waist of anyones time.

Generally, scientists who discover fossils have to compare the new finds to existing fossils. They look for unique characteristics that cannot be explained by abnormalities or variation within a known species. But this is a very simplistic explanation for a complex issue. For more on identifying species and how it works, look at these articles:

There are so many hidden mysteries in this world, and in the short exsistance of humans, we've only cracked the surface. My uncle was a huge fan of one Joan of Arc. I followed in his footsteps and went back even further in history. I want to discover the truth on King Arthur. Was excalibur real? Is camelot real? Does Charels Martel and Jeaan d'arc connect to either one? I think yes. I belive that history is filled with as many lies as truth. I believe we are looking in the wrong places. How would I begin this trip to discovering either, if any?

I would suggest looking at scholarle articles on both topics. The wikipedia pages for King Arthur and Joan of Arc list a large number of source articles and books.


I'm currently working on a research project about archaeaology and I was wondering on average how long an archaeaologist will spend in a lab or office versus actually in the field. Thank you! 

Depends entirely on what the archaeologist is trying to do. Generally, an achaeologist spends a lot more time in the office and lab doing analysis and writing than in the field. In most cases field seasons only last a few weeks each year (6 to 8 on average) and some of that time even is spent in labs.


If I would like a job that involves lots of exploring and travel, would archaeology be a wise career to pursue?  I would really like to see places out of the USA and get my hands dirty, but have heard that a lot of jobs in the archaeology field do not involve such things.

Thanks so much,

Rebecca Bodine 

While field archaeology would generally involve travel and exploration, I would definitley not recommend archaeology as a career for that purpose. Archaeology is a serious scientific endeavor and most of your time will be spent in labs, offices, and libraries.

Hi, where can I get an object tested by carbon 14? I tried the Beta Analytic Associate but they only do it for professionals. Like Universities, archaeologist etc. It's not for any credit just for my curiosity. Thanks!


I was wondering if you could help me with these questions:

How are archaeological materials and methods used in the interpretation of the past?

Best regards, 


Think of archaeological objects as clues to a mystery that the archaeologists have to solve. Ancient people did things that left material signatures (artifacts and features). The collections of materials that archaeologists find were formed as a result of the actions of people in the past. Archaeologists have to collect and analyse the materials to recreate those actions.

Hello, My name is Mallory

I am a student in South East Alaska and have a question regarding an artifact I've discovered. I was hiking an island along the very coast of Alaska a couple years back when I rested on a rock. The rock was unusually uncomfortable, and running my hands along it's face I found it oddly textured. At first I thought the lines to be from animals, or strange water movement, till I looked at two more rocks nearbye with greater images. There are tear drops, several swirls, an almost infinty looking symbol, and several other primarily swirl based designs, and sqaured almost face designs on some. I had taken pictures, but do to loss of the pieces of technologies they were saved on, I no longer have them. I handful of people know about the rocks, and have seen the pictures. They are deffinetely old, and deffinetely man made. I'd like to make a trip out to them to either gather one (I know I shouldn't, and it's most likely illegal) or take some more photo's.  I am looking for guidance though on what I should do with the discovery. I would like to take them honestly, but I'd also like to make them veiwable to other people. At the moment they are sitting being erroded away by the ocean where no one can see or enjoy them.

We would recommend that you contact your State Histroical Preservation Office and discuss this discovery with them.

When you start the actual digging process, how do you know when you have reached a different layer of soil? Do you rely on the color alone? Or does the soil actually feel different? I've seen pictures of excavation sites with trenches and supposed outlines of inhabited areas, but the soil all looks the same to a layperson like myself. I feel like relying on the color of the soil alone would take forever, since that means you can only dig a tiny bit of soil at a time. This is most likely an idiotic quesiton, but if someone could please kindly answer that'd be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Derek the layperson

We rely on changes in color, texture, compactness, nature of inclusions, and various other clues that let us know whether one layer of soil is different from an other layer. In most cases, as you get more field experience, it get easier to distinguish between the different layers of soil.


In the past year or so I've become fascinated and extremely interested in archaeology, especially the local archaeology here in the Salt River Valley, Arizona (Phoenix area). I've been reading everything I can find online regarding our local history & archaeology, and I've found quite a bit of information.

In most of these documents, they will describe the location of a particular archaeological site as (for example):  AZ T:12:48 (ASM)   or sometimes just  T:12:48

Is this some sort of grid system? And if so, where can I find this map or grid system? I have looked online for any info on this, and I cannot find any.

Any info would be greatly appreciated.



No need for anyone to answer this question, I finally found the answer.

This is a system for site numbering and location devised by the Arizona State Museum.

Go to their website for a full explanation.

Im interested in Identifying some ancient books and writing. I'm unable to find anyone that can understand the writing. Its seem to be a mixture of Arabic and Hebrew I think, and maybe a n outdate language.

I can send a few pictures if anyone has an interest in seeeing them.




We would recommend contacting a local university or college.

Can anyone identify this? I dug it up in the woods in my backyard in Northern NJ about 35 years ago.  

Hello. For some reason I cannot view the photo that you posted. I am a NJ-based forensic geologist and have published on archeological discoveries.  I may be able to assist. My email is if someone has not already helped you.

You know, I had the weirdest dream about easter island and the community being an advance civilization. All I've seen tho about it was the Easter Heads based on the recognition of people's findings that advance their civilize manners. Everything from politics to architect of contraptions. I'm sure if they were alive today they tell us every name of each head before a volcanic incident and rough environmental sea demolish that whole sea island. 

 The people who weren't excepted by their community was vanqished on the other side of the island. I couldn't tell if it was eastern or southern but the funny thing tho is what I was doing that brought the whole imagination to me. I was using my ipad in island hopping the map/gps navigation using the 3d real time option. Me and my father were talking about the calderas in the pacific area and then all of a sudden i jumped onto the easter island. Now the unlucky island I looked at had a funny looking impact crater which was argued by my father as a caldera. I wouldn't doubt a soil geologist in taking a quick glance at it but I also had a weird thought. 

During a time as a tribesman I was standing on the north end of the island  admiring the stars as if it had something to tell me about existence. no Asterology philosophy but a person looking for reason to be recorded bigger then the faces of my own tribe. All of a sudden a big burning star crashes to the southern part of the island which lit up the horizon. As if it was a sign of something that I was asking for in proof of existence.  Then I wake up and realized it was just a dream... Anyways beyond that I dreamt about the future in the discovery of the impact crater where 50 feet of dirt was remove in claming it to be a lava tube, but also a debate on the actuality of it to be a portion of a comet gas tail. Or maybe even something worst undeclared as a hybrid asteroid/comet do to the internal gases not expanding till the rock has entered the atmosphere causing it to fall at greater speeds like a missle. Either way while writing this I had an imagination of a black and white photo or an earlier Polaroid picture of a crew who lifted it on a pully and discovered it already but misclaiming the actual findings. 

Either way I found no evidence or claims on the internet as hot searches for the discovery of what that was on the east island but I also started chuckling about if my imagination was real how ironic it was for the people to fled to the east part of the island during the "pompai" incident which shook the ocean to and how much safer the souther part of the island would be which was considered to have nothing and was deserted as an exile demonic place... Apparently in actuality it would of been safer but like I said I had no direction in my dreams just clues even tho I'm a sagittarius.

Anyways my question is is their any evidence of that crater being volcanic or an impact crater? 


Hello could anyone post a pic of a bison tooth? I think I've found one in a river bank but not 100% sure that's what it is.



I am having an argument with someone as regards hominid adaptation to the cold without furs and it would be really helpful if an archaeologist could provide me with details of any archaeological sites in arctic(or at least cold) climates where Homo Erectus fossils were found. All I could find online was some mention of Denisovans fossils found in the Altai mountains(now  a very cold, arid environment), but I was wondering if earlier hominids, such as homo erectus, had been found in Siberia or similiar cold environment? Thanks!

So I'm considering a story, and in it I need a library to be found after a long time, but the books are still in decent, if not perfect, condition. How old could this hypothetical library be, and be realistic?  Basicly, in a decent, unbreached enviroment, how long could paper or parchment last without care?

Was digging up some dirt, doing construction work and found a mask along with some other items in the ground. It looks like it's made of almost a marble material, very heavy. Almost like a long necklace. It was found in Guanajuato, MX.
I wish I could post a picture to show.

Is there anywhere I could take this to see the value of this item? I'm located in Chicago, IL.

Could you help me. I want to sell this document...

Dear Aslan,

The AIA does not buy or sell artifacts or assist with such commercial activities.

Why would an early inhabitant of New France have their head detached and placed between its knees or leg area when found buried. The skeleton was found in small graveyard dating to around 1705. Might it have something to do with witchcraft? Can you please respond asap

Is there a template or formula against which to evaluate the technology of a civilization? For instance, what is the value of a stick compared with the value of a pointed stick? If we were comparing two civilizations, one with a stick and one that had developed the pointed stick, how can we determine by how much the other civilization progressed?

Is there reason to believe that moch of the evidence of man during the Ice Ages would exist below sea level. After all men tend to settle warmer regions near shores. If man did so during the Ice Ages evidence would be far below current sea levels.

Why couldn't Core 7 have been drilled with a version of a hand brace drilling device with a shoulder mount looking like the top of a walking crutch only updside down, 3 men could drill it switch out positions and using leg power to push up, and the arm power of the other two, and using emerald or sapphire dust, prefferably sapphire with it being harder, with a copper cylinder head? Its not very hard to believe the Ancient Egyptians could have come up with multiman use tools, they had both sapphire and emerald, both harder than the granite, and no wooden pieces of such a tool would survive. Not positive if this has been thought of, ruled out, etc.. I just leanred of this watching Ancient Impossible, Season 1 Ep 6 that said no one had any idea how they could have accomplished it on H2 and I have no degree in engineering, archeology, geology, minerology, or any degree higher than an AA degree in psychology and biology and I thought of this while watching them talk about it. I'm sure the best minds of ancient egypt, whose sole job was the building of complex monuments and coming up with new technologies, could have figured it out. Yes, I understand that I'm predisposed to that technology, even if known as an at least medievil technology, I'm pretty sure a group of people's whose entire job was coming up with ways to do seemingly impossible jobs could have figured it out, or something close to it. Like I said, I'm asking, or at very most suggesting.

Peer-reviewed Journal of Archaeological Science.

'There is no radiocarbon date, but they make a convincing date that the mineralization and taphonomy of the incisions happened along the same time-line as the bone itself; and that the bone is from the Vero beach deposits. That is, it is not an imported specimen, nor is it a recent forgery. By comparison to the known pattern of extinction of megafauna (the bone is either proboscidean or sloth) then none and incision are inferred to be at least 13,000 calendar years old.'

Sir/Ms... I recovered many years ago what a University collections manager described as a 'carbonate encrusted chert nodule'  that has what a prudent person would agree is a trunked  mammal carved/ground/pecked in relief.  It is obvious to the enlightened that it is not recent.

If the carving/egraving from the Vero Beach artifact were discovered on a piece of chert would it have warranted a second look?. It appears to the layperson the medium (bone) taxonomy was requisite to validation . Also could you give me the concensus on Infrared Laser Raman Spectrography as it applies to ageing lithic material?

Thx in Advance


There was an account (maybe read it in NGA mag) of a discovery done by amateur explorers somewhere in Asia, I think near or around Cambodia, but it could be near the Harappans too, because of the tales from children that played in the jungle around one of the edifices. It quickly became obvious to the amateur explorers they needed professionals and that was the beginning of a huge discovery of a civilization that had sewers before the Romans did. I think the Harappans, did too, but I am not sure if this is the story, as I thought the discovery I talk about was in the 80’s and I understand the Harappans were discovered in the 20’s. 


Anyone heard about this?

I work in a very small school district in north east Ohio and have a young man (13 yrs. old) who would love to go into archaeology but is planning on becoming a mechanic instead "because I should focus on what is possible rather than something I know can't come true."   

Are there any volunteer opportunities in north east Ohio that are open to teens, which might show him that this IS a door he might open?


You recently provided a web address for online graduate degree programs--both master's and PhD-- offered in the U.S. and England.  Would you please provide an similar web address for online undergraduate degree programs offered in the U.S., Canada or England?  I have had difficulty in finding an authoritative list through my own searching.  Thank you.

I was stationed at Shemya island in the Aleution chain and was looking at it through google maps satellite view and noticed a carving that looked like a fish on the north east portion of the Island. Was wondering if you could look into this

Hi. I'd like to know what tense should be used to describe the features, say a tomb, when writing an archaeological report. Thanks!

Dear Westwind,

Typically, archaeological reports are written in the past tense as you are generally talking about work that was completed.



My friend looking for a having Master/Phd degree in Archaeology via online. he lives in Iraq,are there any programs in US unversities offering this kind of opportunity?He already has a Master in Archaeology from Baghdad University.

Thank You,

Ghaith Al

Hi Ghaith Al,

There are a few universities in the US and UK that offer online MA degrees in Archaeology. Here is a link that may be helpful:


In the Wescar Papyrus it refers to a the character "Reddedet" as the wife of a "wab-pnest of Re". It seems to suggest a follower or priest. My question is what is a wab-pnest of Re? Is wab-pnest mentioned elsewhere that defines the term or is the definition of the term based itself off the Wescar Papyrus? Second question, could a member of a royal family also be refered to as a wab-pnest of Re?


I was watching a documentary on ancient Eygpt, when I had a thought; Did the Eygyptians study history and archeology from even earlier civilizations?

Kind regards,



Hi Alex,

This is a tough question but here is the response from one of our Egyptian archaeology specialists:

The earlier groups in Egypt were the ones from which  the later civilization developed over the course of thousands of years. There is technically no earlier history because the field of 'history' begins with writing and when writing begins we already have ancient Egypt. I cannot think of any attestations of Egyptians being concerned about prehistoric people living in broader Africa or the Middle East. They would 'collect' elite goods which may have been old that may have traveled to Egypt from elsewhere but that's not really studying another culture.



I have a friend in the Philippines whose grandfather stumbled across what appears to be a collection of burial pots on his land.  They are definitely pottery because one of the tribal people washed off a small section of one of the objects and it was like wet, unfired pottery.  They are rounded, a bit larger than a basketball, and have a pinched closed opening.  This is a very delicate subject in that part of the world because so much of tribal history has been lost to looters and people who have taken advantage of the tribe and bought their artifacts for very little money. My friend has possession of one of these -- they do not wish to contact the government, they have in general been treated very badly by the government.  They do however wish to have an archaeologist look at them.  It is my understanding that an archaeologist in the Philippines must get permission from the government to even take a look at something like this.  The site is fairly near the facepots that were found in 2008 (I think).  Do you know of any legal way to have an archaeologist to just take a look at these things and maybe help them decide what to do, if anything?  I'm not in PH, I'm in California.  I have urged them to not wash any more pots, and to just leave them in place because I think that in order to figure out what they are would require the site to be undisturbed as possible.  We speak through hangouts.  I've been doing some fundraising and education volunteer work with this tribe, I gave them some computers  ( I am a web developer by profession) which they have taken too rather quickly which is why we are able to communicate through hangouts.

She is a member of the tribe.


Could you contact me directly at



What are some of the best sources to use when trying to learn more about the archaeologic field? And what sources would be best to use when trying to find out how to choose the right college and field for a high schooler interested in this?

I have found pebble artifacts in gravel that once was in the North Sulphur River in Tx. Many things are depicted including animals, rituals involving 2 human faces pressed together and mastodon carvings which indicate the spiritual union of humans and mastodons. They really are not photographable or reproducable; I am doing drawings of the depictions. Please advise me.

Hi Carol,

You should contact the Texas State Archaeologist's office and discuss these finds with them.



I was wondering if you might be able to tell me if universities had to be accredited in some way other than regionally or nationally in order to be considered an official school of archaeology, soft of like engineering has ABET.

Hi Dylan,

No, there is not an overseeing body that accredits archaeology programs.


I would appreciate your guidance on these two questions:

1.  Is there a list somewhere of the extant writings remaining from the Old Kingdom (not about the Old Kingdom)?

2.  If Egyptian pyramids were looted during the Old and/or Middle Kingdoms, the loot must have been sold to someone.  It is logical that only the rich would have been able to purchase such purloined items from thieves.  If this is correct, there must be large personal caches of looted items removed from pyramids and other tombs during the two-three thousand years prior to the Greeks and Romans.  Why have these caches not come to light?

Dear Dr. Jennings,

In response to your first question, I would suggest that you look at this link:

As for question two...

I would think that most looted objects would have been melted down or otherwise dismantled and sold. Also while there may have been collectors there is no reason to assume that collections would have stayed intact over thousands of years. “Collectors” probably sold or distributed some objects while other objects may have been lost or damaged. Regardless, even if objects were collected they probably were dispersed over time. 



What evidence is there for migration out of Africa into Australia (40-60kya) as opposed to migration out of Indonesia to Australia?

Certianly the most direct route is through Indonesia but if one does not stay there very long there might not be enough DNA changes to suggest they actually came from that location.

Can you shed some light on this?

I believe Australia was populated by humans who migrated out of Africa and, almost non-stop, ended up in Australia.  Others I am talking to do not and think they came from a group that was resident (for some time) in Indonesia.

Thank you for your response.


Hi Bill,

This article might help with your question, It does appear that people were in Australia around 50,000 years ago.


I'm from Northern Ireland and live in the country and have alot of fields around my house that my family own, if i were to start digging and found ancient artifacts that were maybe a few thousand years old or even dinosaur fossils, what right would the government have to to come on to my land or to claim the artifacts/fossils as government property, would i not get a say in the ownership of anything found on my own land?

Hi Jason,

I would suggest that you get more information on the Treasure Act and antiquities law in Northern Ireland at



I have several fossils/relics I have kept with me over the years, originally found during my adventurous youth.  How would I go about finding someone to examine them and provide information on its time period, history etc?  

- Shark teeth from a creek in Selma, AL

- A stone hatchet head, with what looks like old blood stains, from a mountain in northeast AL

- A rock with hundreds of fossils from the TN river


This is purely for curiousity's sake.  Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Hi Travis,

You should contact your State Archaeologist or Historic Preservation Officer. They or someone at their office will be able to help. Local musuems would also be a good place to look for information.




im writing an archeology essay for university. It is a first year essay and the topic is a bit ambiguous so I was wondering if someone could help me with a few ideas, I'm pretty stuck.



is hunting and gathering a way of life(culture), or a form of economic subsistence(survival)?

i decided to use the  both option, but I don't have much to say.

Hi Andrija,

Hunting and gathering is both a way of life and a form of economic subsistnece so I would agree with your choice of both.


Submitted by Ray

How long did modern Homo sapiens and Neanderthals co-exist? Most of my research says approximately 5000 years. If Y-chromosomal Adam lived approximately 338,000 years ago. If you believe the fossils of omo1 and omo2 are fully anatomically modern Homo sapiens that lived approximately 200,000 years ago. that would give us approximately 160,000 years that we could have co-existed. Surly not all Neanderthal tribes left Africa at the same time. As the Neanderthals left looking for food and better climate doesn't it seem likely some of the Homo sapien tribes would have followed their Neanderthals cousins.

Hi Ray,

The 5000 to 6000 year overlap is for humans and neanderthals in Europe. Several sources seem to indicate that interbreeding may have occured between the two groups especially in the Middle East for a lot longer than that--around 20,000 years. See this article:


Submitted by Katherine

When a new fossil has been found, how do you know if it is part of the same species as current animals, or that it is an abnormality?   I was having a debate with my brother who thinks we didn't evolve, and explained away fossil evidence that it was probably someone with down syndrome, or bone abnormalities.

Submitted by Ben Thomas

Hi Katherine,

This question would be best answered by a paleontologist. Generally, scientists who discover fossils have to compare the new finds to existing fossils. They look for unique characteristics that cannot be explained by abnormalities or variation within a known species. But this is a very simplistic explanation for a complex issue. For more on identifying species and how it works, look at these articles:


I'm about done with a novel involving archaeology. But I need expertise for accuracy. If an archaeologist were doing underground excavation and found an ancient mural in an ancient Roman dig , would the archaeolgist use a flash camera to record the image?

I gather there's some controversy about whether flash cameras really damage art. But even if they would not normally be used in my situation, how would an archaeologist record the image without flash if there's insufficient ambient light? Some other kind of camera? A drawing? Thanks for your help.

Michael Polelle

Professor Emeritus


I was curious as to the condition of a sword that was found in beach sand near the ocean.  If it were a steel sword and was buried 300 years ago, would the sword still be intact, or would it be rusted through and not identifiable?  The reason I am asking is I am writing a children's book about buried treasure and a sword would be found in the same site as the treasure and I want to write it as accurately as possible. 

Thank you for your time,


Submitted by Ben Thomas

How well (or badly) an item is preserved over time depends on its composition and the conditions in which it is buried. In this case, our experts believe that it would be safe to assume that the object would be recognizable as a sword but would be rusty and dull. Also, the hilt, depending on its material, would preserve differently from the rest of the sword.

I've found that some of the most important Mesozoic formations of China (Yixian, Jiufotang), are located in territories, where the cultures with oldest depictions of chinese dragons developed. Is there any link between early dragon represantations and dinosaur fossils, or is this just a coincidence?

Submitted by Ben Thomas

While we cannot be completely certain that the discovery of fossils and the stories of dragons are linked, I would not be surprised if they were. Look at this entry from


I am majoring in AnthropologyArchaeology, with a specific interest in the Ancient Near East. What languages would be most useful to learn for this field of study? What languages are most popular in publishing related texts? 

Thank you.

Submitted by Ben Thomas


The more commonly taught ancient Near Eastern languages are Sumerian, Akkadian, and Ugaritic. You may also be interested in the four main languages in the area: Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian.

Hello there (and sorry for the length),

I have always been interested in fossils (found my first in a ravine in San Diego, CA. at the age of 6).  I know that fossils are dated with a variety of methods, one of them being the measure of the half life or radiactive decay etc.  I also understand the great pressure and time it requires to cause bones to fossilize.  

But when I look at historical cartography and references, "here be dragons" always comes up. Sometimes the term was used to designate dangerous or unexplored seas, but it started being observed in writings/maps more and more as seafarers (and explorers) traveled further and further into the unknown. 

As superstitious as I think men have been in the past, I believe there are enough historical records and accounts to ensure the possibility that there actually was physical living creatures that inspired the use of the term "dragon", rather than just superstitious hearsay.

Now I dont necessarily believe all 'dragons' were flying or fire-breathing (perhaps some, perhaps none, not all though).  Maybe SOME were only large snakes like anacondas, or lizards like komodo dragons.  But It makes sense to me that if a man encountered a larger than average reptilian animal, possibly scaled or furred, such as a dinosaur, the first thing he would call it is a dragon.  Yes, this was in the time before the complex taxonomy of animals, but I think a men (even superstitious men) know the difference between a newt, and a leviathan.

The historical references where dragons are named though, arent old enough for bones to fossilize, so fas as science has led me to believe.  

I say all of this to ask this question:  Is it possible that the timeline of fossilization could be advanced by catalysts, possibly through a combination of influences, such as active elements in the sediment reacting together (my chemistry is horrid), or environmental events (meteors striking would cause the addition of elements, sediments, ores etc, as well as heat and force)?  

I just find incongruities in the historical records citing dragons (which were most likely dino's)  and the fact that fossils take millions of years to form.  

Maybe its more likely that whatever dinosaurs or 'dragons' still existed when man began reciting his history were hunted to extinction.  But if thats the case, then again, where are the bones among the ruins that have been exhumed?  Among all the chalices and bullion that have been found?  Maybe any carcasses were fully utilized, bones ground for supposed restorative properties?

Thank you very much for taking a look at my question, I appreciate your time.  Feel free to chuckle at some of my layman conjectures :)


See this piece from on dragons and dinosaurs:

Hello, my english class is doing a career essay and I am writing about archaeology for my essay. I was wondering if it was possible for you to answer some of the questions I have about archaeology. When looking for information about archaeology, there is not that much in depth answers on what actual archaeologist think about their job, so I was wondering, if possible, if you would be able to answer some of the questions I have about being an archaeologist.

  • What are the most important skills and attributes needed for an archaeologist?
  • What are a couple of misconceptions people have about being an archaeologist?
  • What is a typical working day for you?
  • How much travel is involved in your job?
  • What are the benefits or disadvantages of being an archaeologist?
  • What educational classes do you need to take to become an archaeologist?

If possible, can you answer any of the questions above. Also, if you have any additional information that you think would be helpful it would be wonderful if you could add it.



Submitted by Ben Thomas

Dear Laurel,

We get too many requests like this and cannot answer each one. Please refer to the Education section of our website for answers to these questions. Look under Archaeology 101.

Where can I find the exact longitudes and latitudes (to the nearest arc second) for Egyptian pyramids?  I know that the locations for the major pyramids can be found in the Wikipedia entry for each famous pyramid, but I cannot find the exact longitudes and latitudes for the less famous pyramids, e.g., the Unfinished Pyramid at Zawiyet el-Aryan.

Submitted by Ben Thomas

I would suggest using a program like Google Earth to get these locations.

There are a lot of rumors about piercings in Ancient Rome and Egypt. I've seen some that say centurions pierced their nipples, and even that Julius Caesar had pierced ears. Some sites say that King tut is the oldest known person to have stretched earlobes. Oh, and of course that navel piercings were popular with the Pharoahs.  Any truth to any of that?

and if not, what is the truth about piercings in these cultures?



do dolmen roofs tilt in a certain direction

Submitted by Ben Thomas

No. A dolmen is defined simply as two or more upright stones that support a horizontal one.

I've been looking at images of the Sphinx in Egypt and it seems off? For example the paws are massive in comparison to the tiny head pearched on the top. When everything else is almost perfectly porportioned when it comes to Egypt's ancient ruins, why is one of the largest and most recognized symbol so odd looking and out of character? 



I am teaching secondary students a unit on the discovery of Otzi the Iceman.  We notice that an artefact located with the body is described as 'green leaves' (having been green leaves).  Is anyone able to explain the science that allows us to know that the leaves were green? 


Thank you,  Ian


I can understand how relative chronological sequences of Egyptian kings can be arrived at by archaeological investigations and ancient historical records.  What don’t understand, is by what means contemporary dates (i.e.,  c.1293-1291BCE for Ramses I) are ascribed to specific reigns.

There seems to be some variations between dates, such as those of Dr. P. A. Piccione, Ian Shaw (Oxford), and others.  Is this due to different methods of dating, or interpretations of the data.

Than you for your consideration,

Timothy Stevenson

How did ancient egyptians raise the sails on their ships? I just saw a program on the Science channel indicating they did not have block and tackle, something I question deeply. It is one thing to say we did not find block and tackle and quite another to think they did not have the technology, hence my curiosity about sails. Even a simple pulley is a big step in that direction. Thanks!

According to our expert on Egyptian ships the ancient Egyptians did not use pulleys. They used lines that were passed through rings on the sides of a mast head. This point-like bone artifact is actually completely dull, the edges are nearly sqaured off. Any ideas? Thanks very much!

Thanks for your inquiry. As a rule we don't comment on artifacts (or images of artifacts) that are not from excavated contexts. You should check with a local museum or historical society.

My grandmother told me a story about her sister throwing many family artifacts into a bog on their farm.  Apparently, she went a little mad one day.  From what she described, there were some significant historical items among them, such as a set of two drone bagpipes and a solid silver coat-of-arms.  My uncle purchased the farm and subsequently filled in the bog to protect his livestock and increase the amount of tillable land.

Supposing that artifacts can survive for millennia in a bog, what happens to those artifacts after a bog is filled in?  Are the artifacts still preserved?  Is the length of time they will survive shortened?

Thank you for your assistance,

Daren Loucks


The objects could have survived depending on their robustness, the materials with which they were made, the nature of the fill material, and the manner in which the bog was filled. If the fill material was acidic then a lot of the organic materials will have deteriorated. The process of filling in the bog could have crushed the more delicate artifacts but they would still be preserved. The silver should have survived but some of the delicate objects like the bagpipes may be beyond rescue.

I've been kicking around an idea for a play based around an archaeological dig. The biggest problem keeping me from starting (is overthinking things, but I digress) is that I'm uninformed on a few details that I really want to get accurate first.

1.) What organizations preside over archaeological digs? Universities, I take it, but are there others?

2.) Where do archaeologists live and/or stay during digs? Do they tend to stay in an area where they have expertise? Or, for example, does an American archaeologist live in America but fly out to Africa to dig at a new site there? During a dig, do they stay in a hotel, or is there somewhere else? Are they typically allowed to bring their spouse and/or children if the situation demands it?

3.) Where do artifacts go after they have been dug up? How exactly do they fall into the hands of museums and private collectors? Who else might end up with them?

I think that's all I have for now. I'm sure more questions will plague me down the road.

Please check out the Education section of our website. The answers to most of your questions are on the website under FAQ and Introduction to Archaeology. In many countries archaeology is overseen by government agencies. Universities typically have to get permits from a government agency to carry out an excavation. But rules vary across the globe. Living conditions and rules also vary by site and region. Archaeologists can (and do) travel out of their home countries for excavation. Artifacts that end up with private collectors were often stolen from archaeological sites and sold illegally.

What can you tell me about Mayan bee god Ah-Muzen-Cab?

Hi there. My career exploration class and I have to make a project on the profession of our choice. Interested in archeology, I chose this subject. My teacher has asked us to find someone who is in this field of work and ask them the following questions. I would be very grateful if you'd answer these questions.

-  describe your job in a few sentences.

-how many times have you changed jobs in your life?

-what do you like about your work?

-how long have you been working in this field?

-what are some obstacles you encounter?

-what kind of post-secondary studies did you follow?

-do you have any social benefits?

-if you could change anything about your work, what would it be?

-is it possible to open your own "business" in this field?

-does being a man or a woman have an effect on the reality of your work?


thank you, it's greatly appreciated!



We get too many requests like this and cannot answer each one. Please refer to the Education section of our website for answers to these questions.

               I have an artifact that was my grandfathers'. who had found it when he was digging a canal about 60 years ago.its been lying around the house for ages now. Nobody seems to know what it is? or how old it is? i personally think its a plate.its made of bronze i think.and its from the Pakistan-Afganistan region.It would be a please if you could tell me what it really is and how old it is.. 
                                              thanking you in anticipation.

As a rule we don't comment on artifacts (or images of artifacts) that are not from excavated contexts.


I'm wondering are there any burials in hocker position in Roman empire? Or in AD centuries? Do you know?


Thank you!

I am in need of answers! How does an archaeologist choose his site?

Please refer to the Education section of our website and look up FAQ and the Introduction to Archaeology.

i need help identifying or evaluating a wooden statue that was found buried in Jerusalem 20 years ago

As a rule we don't comment on artifacts (or images of artifacts) that are not from excavated contexts.

I am incredibly torn: I know I want to be an archaeologist. However, I'm not sure if I want to be an Assyriologist or an Egyptologist! Both are such passions of mine; since I was a child, I've been almost equally obsessed with both cuneiform tablets and mummies! Both the walls of Babylon and the pyramids of Egypt! Both require a lot of work, with Egyptology requiring an incredibly amount of determination, willingness to work like crazy and for ridiculous hours, and a competetive spirit, and Assyriology demanding the same things but on a lesser basis (only, like, 1 in every 5 Egyptologist have actual careers). Is it possible to be both? Could I get, like, a Masters in Near Eastern archaeology, and a pHD in Egyptology? Or does an archaeologist have to only one subfield? 


Verily eagerly awaiting your response,


We found a rock at Christmas cove in MI that has a very interesting imprint on it. an oval shape with what looks like letters and a symbol. It just looks to much like something to be a fluke. I have taken a picture of it so if there is a way for me to email it to someone please contact me. Thank you

Resently I have found a fossil tooth in my creek that is very large. It's not a shark tooth but i can only tell that it's from a plant-eating animal and that it's also not from a dinosaur. what kind of animal fossils have been found in Missouri that would probably be my tooth?

I found two , what appear to be musket balls on my property in rural southern Colorado. One appears to be about 40 or 45 caliber and is made with  gold alloy or plated with gold. The other is made of silver and is smaller. It has two rings around the equator of the ball and has numbers and letters inscribed on it. The Inscriptions on the ball are so small that you have to look through a magnifying glass to see them clearly but are very intricately carved I have pictures of both balls and a very old rusted buckle that was found next to them that I could send if someone were interested in taking a look. I can be reached at 719-491-1970

Did the Jordan River ever reach the Red Sea - particularly, during the period Man may have lived nearby?

Dear Norris,

It does not appear that the Jordan River ever reached the Red Sea. The terminus of the Jordan River is the Dead Sea.

Hello, my name is Mike Ludwig. I am a 15 year high school student attending a parochial school in northern New Jersey. I have always had a very strong interest in arachaeology and history, and I would like to take steps to enter this field. I am in honors classes with currently a 4.2 and I am also a starter on the football team. I say this because it means I don't have trouble in academics and I could certainly get into a school of choice. As a freshman, what steps can I take to get my foot in the door, so to speak? Should I read on the subject and take classes on the sciences related to archaeology? Should I visit lectures at local colleges? What should I be doing to get a good foundation of knowledge and experience on top of my historical knowledge? Mind you, despite my interest in adventure and cultural experiences similar to that of Indiana Jones, I understand the reality most archaeologists face. I have heard it is 90% studying and 10% in the field, which I accept. I also understand the amount of pay is not always sufficient, but this is my passion. I  would like some advice from experienced archaeologists who were once in the same position I am in today. Thank you.

Please refer to our section on Archaeology under Education

I hope that I'm directing this question at the right people. If I'm not, please forgive the intrusion. If you do know anyone who can field my queries, please let me know.

My question actually stems from the recent trend of barefoot running around the United States. Many people laud the benefits of barefoot running, claiming that this more natural approach actually helps to improve things such as posture and muscular imbalances and helps to eliminate pain in the lower extremities, specifically the knee and ankle joints and the lower back. Basically, the argument is that if prehistoric man and even ancient cultures didn't see the need for shoes, why should we? 
I find several issues with this line of thinking, but I'm always interested in finding the truth, or fact, about things. People believe all sorts of wacky things on scant information, only to discover their folly years later. In this case, though, 've done some reading so far and it seems that many cultures, including the ancient Greeks and the not-so-ancient American Indians, saw no need for footwear a majority of the time.
That's an interesting discovery for me, but it still doesn't tell me enough. So I figured I'd appeal to the authority on the subject; that is, people who have analyzed remains of people from many different cultures in which footwear wasn't in vogue.
So, I ask you, while examining the remains of people and cultures, have you discovered evidence to support the idea that older, even ancient or prehistoric peoples were actually healthier because they traipsed around the world without shoes, or does the evidence support otherwise? Things like arthritis in lower joints, shin splints and stress fractures all seem like decent indicators that prehistoric footwear (that is, nonexistent or poor footwear) isn't actually a better alternative to a comfortable pair of New Balances. The frequency in which they are found also seems important. But you're the experts, and I'm all ears.
My second question may be outside the scope of your expertise, but if the evidence seems to support the healthfulness of living sans shoes, would it be a safe application today considering the toughness of modern surfaces such as asphalt, which a majority of people are walking on?
 I appreciate any time you take to answer these questions. Thanks! I hope to hear from you. 

i need help finding information about a historic soapstone bowl that i have. if you have time please help me.

Hello, i am half way through my current degree but i've always had a passion for history, espically Ancient Egypt though i know a few degrees i can do to become a Archaaeologist, but i would just like to know what you did to become one ( degree wise) and what happened after you finshed you're degree. I love history with a passion but i would like to know more about how to find a job when i am done with it. Plus what an expert would like to tell me how to go about doing this.

i have an old piece which written on it an ancient script i need to know what is the language of this script and the ages of this language and what is it's translation

any one can help


To whom it may concern,

Hello, I would like to ask some questions, as a rising freshman, I am taking a course called Pre AP World History, and just finished a magnificent book called "The Source" by James A. Michener. With this book, I was given some assignment questions to answer and hand in to my teacher on the first school day. I had finished up most of the questions, but there were two questions that I am currently confused about. I would really appreciate it if you could help me with these 2 problems.

1. What is an archaeological tel?
2. By what means do historians & archaeologists date, classify and arrive at generalizations about the civilizations?
If you could answer these two questions, I would greatly appreciate it. 
N. Kumar

Hello! I am looking for graduate school programs to pursue my career in archaeology! I am currently a history major with a chemistry minor, going into my senior year of college. I am looking specifically for a PhD program for carbon-14 dating or conservation. However, I do not know where to begin! What types of programs should I be looking for? What exactly is the title of the profession that I would be involved in?

How would you make something to last for thousands of years to be discovered in the future? You dig to find things people in the past left behind...but how would you make something that would last for the future to receive. Like an archive/library...

Hello I have a question about mummies. I have been arguing with people in my university about the reason why mummies, after being mummified could still have skin, hair, etc... after being found thousands of years later. I have read many different arguments about how or why this could have occurred. The answer I found most commonly and that makes most sense to me is that ancient Egyptians would use salt, which would take out the moisture away from the body, therefore maintaining the features of the body for many years to come. nevertheless, I have professors and books that state that humanity is still uncertain of what was used in keeping the mummies preserved. So I guess my question to you would be, do we as humans know for certain what helped preserve the mummies or is it just educated guesses that archaeologists and scientists assume?

Thank you

Nasrri Q.

Dear Nassri, You are right about the ancient Egyptians using salt (in this case natron) in the mummification process. We actually know quite a lot about how the Egyptians mummified the dead. Check out this link:

Despite constant research, endless lists, and email exchanges with current grad students, I've yet to decide which area of study would be best. I've got a BA in Anthropology and an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies; my passion is in preserving the archaeological integrity of material culture and the sites yielding it. I'll travel anywhere to get the training required to perform at the highest level.

I'd love most of all to work in the field as well as the lab, and avoid teaching if possible (taught for several years and didn't care for it). There isn't one specific geographical area that thrills me; I'm very open. Yet after taking into account the length and cost of programs, job prospects, faculty research interests, and type of degree offered, I'm still a bit lost.

Forgive me for not having a more specific question, but I've not had much guidance to this point. Is there any advice you can give that might help refine my focus? Is there anything I haven't considered?

Thank you so much for offering your help on this wonderful site.

My advice would be to participate in an archaeological field school. A field school will give you an opportunity to try both field and lab work. There are also programs that provide opportunities to assist with conservation. For field opportunities look at

I wonder if you can help. If one discovers ancient coins can you keep them or must you give them up to the authorities?


I am a junior at Kalamazoo College and have an interest in the chemistry of archaeology, particularly preservation. I am required to complete a Senior Individualized Project, or SIP, and am interested in working at an active archaeological lab. I would really appreciate talking to any expert who has a project I could be involved in. I am a hard-working and dedicated student who is very excited to explore this field.

NEXT November (2013 – yes I am planning ahead!) I will have 40 days between archaeological projects in Jordan.

These are volunteer projects and I am not 'attached' to any particular university or study program IN Jordan.

So I am investigating learning some basic Arabic over the 40 days. I know it will be very beginner level however it has to be a marked improvement on the 3 basic phrases I know now!.

Any suggestions for a language class conducted in November/December over such a short period – 40 days?

Location is not an issue since I finish in Wadi Musa (mid November 2012) and relocate to Tabaqat Fahl in the north at the beginning of January 2013.

Many thanks for any advice

Barbra Wagner





dear experts

i was wondering if you could tell me and others how archaeology has helped researchers understand the ways early stages of human religion are examined cross-culturally?   that is:  how have archaeological finds changed the way we understand things like shamans, religious experiences, shared beliefs, union of educational and other social functions within a belief system?   thank you.

jonathan sheriff

Dear Jonathan,

This is a great question that cannot be adequately answered in a forum like this. Tracing the origins of religion is a difficult issue. Archaeological investigations can help us identify “religious” objects, ritual spaces, and religious iconography. I qualified “religious” because the designation of an ancient artifact as religious is based on the archaeologist’s interpretation of the object. Furthermore, since we deal with material remains, we cannot say when religious belief first emerged but we can make statements about its manifestation in object form. Once objects have been identified as religious artifacts, we can usually trace how they changed (both in form and function) over time. Creating a chronology for the evolution of religion within different cultures allows us to compare and contrast them. Cross-cultural comparisons, however, have to be undertaken cautiously. Many cultures share superficial similarities. Archaeology shows us in material terms that human cultures have been dealing with ideological and “religious” issues for a very long time.



I have a clay doll found in Northern California that I would like more information on. It was found in what I believe was an area inhabited by indians. Would like to provide a photo.





Dear Richard,

Thank you for contacting the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The AIA follows a strict code of ethics that precludes us from examining undocumented objects like the clay doll that you have in your possession. To view our code of ethics please go to


Ben Thomas
Director of Programs, AIA


My name is Elena and i am 13 years old.  This year i am doing a project for history day on archeology. this year the theme is revolution, reaction, and reform.   I would love to speak with an archeologist and have an archeologist answer this question:  if / how has carbon 14 dating revolutionized archeology? and Has carbon14 dating changed the historical timeline? I may have more questions depending on the answer.

Thank you for your time.

Elena Kervitksy

Hi. I read that the earliest settlement at Merv in Turkeminstan is at a depth of 17 metres and is therefore inaccessible to researchers. I always wondered how exactly such sites became buried to such great depths. I mean, how exactly does a surface become buried in 5 stories of dirt?? The blowing wind? Or what? Thanks in advance!

What is the primary reason why their was development of city states in central and south America, but not North America ?   ie   The Maya, Aztec and Incas had highly developed city cultures...but to my knowledge this did not develop in North America....    Is there any books where this is examined ?



Craig Shores


I'm 20 years old, and I'm currently attending the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Center for a Hospitality course, but thats not what I want. I just did it because I was unable to find any great colleges for archaeology. Any suggestions? I'm looking for one that has Financial Aid. I'm interested in any thing that is available. This is truly what I want. Please email me if you have any suggestions. My email is Put "Archaeology" in the subject line please.

Thank you. 

I am glad to hear you are interested in archaeology!  Becoming an archaeologist takes a lot of hard work, but it is an interesting and fun subject to study. 

While searching for colleges with archaeology programs, it is important to remember that only a few schools have stand alone Archaeology Departments.  In most cases, archaeology is part of the Anthropology, Art History or Classics Departments. Look through the course lists and department descriptions of these majors for schools that peak your interest to see if an archaeology concentration is available through their programs. Although I cannot recommend a specific school for you, here is a list of universities that offer archaeology classes. Keep in mind it is not a complete list and you should keep looking for schools that interest you.

Once you are in college, if you are studying archaeology, most programs will also encourage you to participate in an archaeological excavation (and there are even a few excavations that take on high school students).  You can find out about different excavations and opportunities around the world on our website:

Specific required classes for an archaeology degree differ for each college, usually depending on what department the program falls under. Most will require classes on technique and field experience. The classes you choose are largely dependant on what cultures and areas of archaeology you want to study. For languages: many archaeological texts are written in French and German so they are useful, and again, languages pertaining to cultures of interest to you. Take into account that universities will usually have certain cultures that they focus on more than others dependant on where their faculty does their field work.

Finally, most archaeologists also go on to get graduate degrees and there are many schools that offer MA and PhD programs.

Please let us know if you have any more questions!

Best wishes.

is it true that a fossil was found in the glen rose limestone which is designated as middle cretaceous, supposedly 110 million years old and contemporary with the dinosaurs? also is it true that a unique iron hammer with partially coalified wooden handle was found in lower cretaceous limestone, supposedly 140 million years old

I assume from the title to your question that you are asking about human fossils. Many fossils have been uncovered in the Glen Rose limestone, however , none of them are human.

As for the hammer, it appears to be a lot younger than 140 million years. The style of the hammer would argue for a date of a few hundred years ago.

My general answer to both these questions is essentially the same--there is no evidence of humans from the time of the dinosaurs.

I live in New York and have found rocks that appear very old.  Who can I contact to find out the age of the rocks I have?

The right people to contact to know more about your rocks would be geologists. Archaeologists usually study a bit of geology, but we are no experts.

However I can tell you that rock formations are very old compared to the organic forms present on our planet. The area where you live was for a very long time covered by ice. When the ice retreated, at the end of the last ice-age, it "scratched" the surface of the earth creating several  geological features. Most importantly it exposed layers of rock formations from different ages. If you have the time you should use a geological map of the area where you found the rocks (they are available on line), the different colors in on the map will tell you what kind of rocks you can find in that area, and their relative age.

Best wishes.


Add new comment

Dig Deeper

Email the AIA Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!