This diversified and partly man-shaped landscape in northern Mozambique has some visual appeal (being beautiful
). Credit: Paulo Oliveira
Archaeology "studies human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains and environmental data, including architecture, artifacts, ecofacts, human remains, and landscapes."
It is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes (the archaeological record).
Because archaeology employs a wide range of different procedures, it can be considered to be both a science and a humanity.
Archaeology studies human history from the development of the first stone tools in eastern Africa 3.4 million years ago up until recent decades. (Archaeology does not include the discipline of paleontology.) It is of most importance for learning about prehistoric societies, when there are no written records for historians to study, making up over 99% of total human history, from the Palaeolithic until the advent of literacy in any given society.