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Duration:04:37
Uploaded:2015-12-02
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Learn all about archaeologists: the scientists who solve the great mysteries of human history!

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SOURCES:

http://www.nps.gov/Archeology/public/kids/index.htm

http://archaeology.mrdonn.org/

https://kids.usa.gov/watch-videos/jobs/archeologist/index.shtml

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/careers/archaeologist.html

https://kidskonnect.com/science/archaeology/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150929-king-tut-tomb-nefertiti-egypt-archaeology/

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:DJI_Phantom_2_Vision%2B_V3_hovering_over_Weissfluhjoch_(cropped).jpg photo by Capricorn4049
[intro plays]

Jessi: We talk a lot around here about different kinds of living things; ones that are alive today and ones that lived in the past, but do you know one living thing that scientists are always interested in learning more about? People! People have been around for hundreds of thousands of years and human life has changed a lot in that time.

How do we know? Well, a lot of what we know about how people lived in the past comes from what they've left behind. These things that were made or used by people in the past are called artifacts. Artifacts can be really old, like the stone tools that early humans used, or they can be not very old at all like some cans that people tossed away just 50 years ago. No matter how old they are, there are scientists whose job it is to find and study these artifacts. They're called archaeologists and they help us learn more about human history.

So how do they do what they do? Well, mostly they dig. Archaeologists are different from paleontologists who also do a lot of digging. Paleontologists study natural history and dig up fossils, but archaeologists study human history and dig up artifacts. Archaeologists spend a lot of time digging where they think they might find important historical objects or artifacts, but how do they know where to dig? If they have an idea of where they might find artifacts, they'll visit the spot and perform something called a survey.

A survey is when archaeologists look for clues on the ground like old or broken pieces of artifacts that suggest more artifacts might be underground waiting to be discovered. the archaeologist marks this spot with little flags. These are spots where they'll excavate, or dig looking for clues.

But sometimes archaeologists need to see the bigger picture when they're learning about a place, so they also survey places by looking at them from the sky. Hundreds of miles up in space, satellites are used by archaeologists to take pictures of places that might have buried buildings or the ruins of other structures that you can't see from the ground. Closer to Earth, some archaeologists use remote controlled flying machines with cameras on them. By flying up just a few meters or so, these machines can give scientists a bird's eye view of where there used to be something like a house, or maybe a whole village. Once archaeologists have found the place they'd like to explore, it's time to get digging.

But archaeologists don't just dig in these spots however they want, they carefully map out the whole area they want to explore so they don't damage artifacts in the ground and so they know exactly where they found them. And they do that by using grids. A grid is a design that breaks a section of the ground into small squares. These squares are usually marked with rope and string. Grids help archaeologists keep track of the different artifacts that they uncover. Each artifact that they find is labeled with a grid number and then its location is mapped so archaeologists can remember exactly where each artifact came from. And when they're digging, archaeologists use all sorts of different tools, from spoons and brushes to shovels and even digging machines like bulldozers. So once an archaeologist is done surveying and digging for the day, what's next?

It's time to go to the lab! The lab is where archaeologists get a close up look at the things they've uncovered. There, they start to make guesses about who made the artifact, what they were used for, and when in history they might be from. These are the steps that archaeologists use to study how people lived all over the world. Some archaeologists for example study ancient Egypt, discovering tombs where people were buried and learning about how the pyramids and other buildings were built thousands of years ago.

Other archaeologists want to learn more about the people who built amazing old structures in places from England to the American Southwest. But lots of archaeologists study ordinary everyday people in the past to see what their lives were like. Whether it was a family of farmers in Europe thousands of years ago or workers who built railroads in the United States just 150 years ago. In a way, archaeologists are sort of like detectives, digging into the Earth to see what questions they can answer about our history, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Thanks for learning about archaeologists with us and remember if you have a question about anything you'd like to learn more about, just let us know by getting help from a parent and leaving a comment below or emailing us at kids@thescishow.com. And we'll see you next time.

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