There are a lot of people that think that anthropology and archaeology are interchangeable terms, but it is a lot like saying square and rectangle are interchangeable. Just as squares are a subset of rectangles, archaeology is a subset of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of humans and human behavior and archaeology takes it one step further to specifically focus on historical artifacts that are used to make inferences about life in the past. Most people immediately associate this with dinosaurs exclusively, but that is an even further subset. You will find that there are many different specializations in archaeology, most of which have absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs or prehistoric life.
For the most part, the reason that prehistoric life becomes the focus instead of other parts of history is that literacy plays a big role. When future students look back in time at human behavior and take a peek at our present time, their branch of science will not likely fall under the branch of archaeology because there are other resources available to study us, such as our social media profiles and other recorded media. One day, our thousands of selfies are going to one day be the research material for someone’s college thesis on narcissism in the computer age.
In the present, private archaeology tutors are a varied mix that covers both illiterate and literate populations. It might seem unnecessary or incomplete to make inferences about people based on artifacts when you have written texts to work from, but part of the problem is that there is a significant amount of bias and some things are incomplete. The same way that Facebook profiles will not provide a full picture of a person’s life neither does any single source. For example, if you were to go into my childhood bedroom and find my locker filled with Beanie Babies, you might make the assumption that I was into collecting or that I was into stuffed animals. If you watched the video of me explaining the names of all of them, you might think that these were my best friends growing up. Both assumptions are false. You would never get the full story, which is that I started collecting once I learned that you could potentially sell them in the future. You would never know about the Beanie Babies bubble that burst long before I had a chance to sell the collection. So they have sat ever since.
Lots of archaeologists love their jobs because there is a highly practical element. Most, if not all, universities that teach archaeology promise time in the field, which is where you learn the most about being an archaeologist. Going out into the field, you are able to find your own objects, study trends, and see if this is really the career path that works for you. You might find that you like the study, but do not like working with artifacts, which might make you turn back and focus on anthropology in more general terms.
Lots of people like archaeology because of the breadth of topics that you can cover. You are making inferences on all different types of life, so there are lots of specific fields. Feminist archaeology or gender archeology study how gender roles play out using the artifacts of the past. Archaeology has typically been a field that transposes classic gender roles, with women in the laboratories and men in the field, fomented by the cool guy image of archaeology put forth by Spielberg and Lucas in Indiana Jones. Female scientists realized that men were overlaying Western gender norms onto past societies that confirmed their biased hypotheses rather than making valid assumptions. Another form of archaeology called historical archeology focuses on literate societies. They try to confirm or debunk written texts based on the artifacts that they find. There are many different subsets of archaeology, which is why we offer a variety of tutors when you search for archaeology tutors near me.