Archaeological tourism

Archaeotourism or Archaeological tourism is a form of cultural tourism, which aims to promote public interest in archaeology and the conservation of historical sites.

Archaeological tourism can include all products associated with public archaeological promotion, including visits to archaeological sites, museums, interpretation centers, reenactments of historical occurrences, and the rediscovery of indigenous products, festivals, or theaters.

Archaeological tourism walks a fine line between promoting archaeological sites and an area’s cultural heritage and causing more damage to them, thus becoming invasive tourism. Archaeologists have expressed concerns that tourism encourages particular ways of seeing and knowing the past. When archaeological sites are run by tourist boards, ticket fees and souvenir revenues can become a priority, and the question remains whether a site is worth opening to the public or remaining closed and keeping the site out of harm’s way. Damage to irreplaceable archaeological materials is not only direct, as when remains are disordered, altered, destroyed, or looted, but often the indirect result of poorly planned development of tourism amenities, such as hotels, restaurants, roads, and shops. These can drastically alter the environment in ways that produce flooding, landslides, or undermine ancient structures.

The archaeological tourism is inserted into the cultural tourism and shows the possibility of visitations to archaeological sites with scores that allow visitation. because in each ruins there is a history of civilizations and peoples to rescue. not all places are allowed to carry out this type of tourism, as the constant presence of people, weights, dust, etc., could affect future excavations and discoveries that could be of value to humanity. In places like Machu Picchu , Coliseum , Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt is often archaeological tourism. This type of tourism is different from the tourism in which people go to visit countries for amusements or places such as Cristo Redentor, Eiffel Tower and Rio de Janeiro .

Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or historic or contemporary), and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record. Sites may range from those with few or no remains visible above ground, to buildings and other structures still in use.

Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a “site” can vary widely, depending on the period studied and the theoretical approach of the archaeologist.

Geographical extent
It is almost invariably difficult to delimit a site. It is sometimes taken to indicate a settlement of some sort although the archaeologist must also define the limits of human activity around the settlement. Any episode of deposition such as a hoard or burial can form a site as well. Development-led archaeology undertaken as cultural resources management has the disadvantage (or the benefit) of having its sites defined by the limits of the intended development. Even in this case however, in describing and interpreting the site, the archaeologist will have to look outside the boundaries of the building site.

According to Jess Beck in “How Do Archaeologists find sites?” the areas with a large number of artifacts are good targets for future excavation, while areas with small number of artifacts are thought to reflect a lack of past human activity.” Many areas have been discovered by accident. The most common person to have found artifacts are farmers who are plowing their fields or just cleaning them up often find archaeological artifacts. Many people who are out hiking and even pilots find artifacts they usually end up reporting them to archaeologist to do further investigation. When they find sites, they have to first record the area and if they have the money and time for the site they can start digging.

Field survey
There are many ways to find sites, one example can be through surveys. Surveys involve walking around analyzing the land looking for artifacts. It can also involve digging, according to the Archaeological Institute of America, “archaeologists actively search areas that were likely to support human populations, or in places where old documents and records indicate people once lived.” This helps archaeologists in the future. In case there was no time, or money during the finding of the site, archaeologists can come back and visit the site for further digging to find out the extent of the site. Archaeologist can also sample randomly within a given area of land as another form of conducting surveys. Surveys are very useful, according to Jess Beck, “it can tell you where people were living at different points in the past.” Geophysics is a branch of survey becoming more and more popular in archaeology, because it uses different types of instruments to investigate features below the ground surface. It is not as reliable, because although they can see what is under the surface of the ground it does not produce the best picture. Archaeologists have to still dig up the area in order to uncover the truth. There are also two most common types of geophysical survey, which is, magnetometer and ground penetrating radar. Magnetometry is the technique of measuring and mapping patterns of magnetism in the soil. It uses an instrument called a magnetometer which is required to measure and map traces of soil magnetism. The ground penetrating radar is a method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. It uses electro magnetic radiation in the microwave band of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures.

There are many other tools that can be used to find artifacts, but along with finding artifacts, archaeologist have to make maps. They do so by taking data from surveys, or archival research and plugging it into a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and that will contain both locational information and a combination of various information. This tool is very helpful to archaeologists who want to explore in a different area and want to see if anyone else has done research. They can use this tool to see what has already been discovered. With this information available, archaeologists can expand their research and add more to what has already been found.

Traditionally, sites are distinguished by the presence of both artifacts and features. Common features include the remains of hearths and houses. Ecofacts, biological materials (such as bones, scales, and even feces) that are the result of human activity but are not deliberately modified, are also common at many archaeological sites. In the cases of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras, a mere scatter of flint flakes will also constitute a site worthy of study. Different archaeologists may see an ancient town, and its nearby cemetery as being two different sites, or as being part of the same wider site. The precepts of landscape archaeology attempt to see each discrete unit of human activity in the context of the wider environment, further distorting the concept of the site as a demarcated area. Furthermore, geoarchaeologists or environmental archaeologists would also consider a sequence of natural geological or organic deposition, in the absence of human activity, to constitute a site worthy of study.

Archaeological sites usually form through human-related processes but can be subject to natural, post-depositional factors. Cultural remnants which have been buried by sediments are in many environments more likely to be preserved than exposed cultural remnants. Natural actions resulting in sediment being deposited include alluvial (water-related) or aeolian (wind-related) natural processes. In jungles and other areas of lush plant growth, decomposed vegetative sediment can result in layers of soil deposited over remains. Colluviation, the burial of a site by sediments moved by gravity (called hillwash) can also happen at sites on slopes. Human activities (both deliberate and incidental) also often bury sites. It is common in many cultures for newer structures to be built atop the remains of older ones. Urban archaeology has developed especially to deal with these sorts of site.

Many sites are the subject of ongoing excavation or investigation. Note the difference between archaeological sites and archaeological discoveries.

Archaeological tourism guide

An archaeological site is any place with physical evidence of past human activity. Such sites might be from pre-history as well as history; even remnants from modern times can count as archaeological sites.

Some archaeological sites give opportunities for tourists to take part in excavations. Other sites have developed into tourist traps, where commerce is dominant above the genuine experience.

For places that are both archaeological sites and still inhabited, we have a separate list at Old towns.

“ And on the pedestal these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away. ”
—Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

There is no commonly accepted age limit for when a remnant of human activity becomes an archaeological site. Also, it is very difficult to define its geographic borders.

Most countries have some legal protection of archaeological sites. Legal consequences for trespassing in closed areas, damaging remnants, or removing artifacts, might be harsh.

With or without laws, the leave-no-trace principle is recommended for these places.

There are several kinds of archaeological souvenirs:

Permits required

There are export restrictions or total prohibition against the export of archaeological and other cultural artifacts in many countries. Penalties can be anything from just seizure of the article to long prison sentences, though hefty fines are the most common punishment.
Even in countries that allow export of artifacts, permits are generally required; there will be paperwork and fees. Depending on the country, getting the permits may be anywhere from a minor hassle to very expensive and time-consuming, if it is possible at all.

Genuine artifacts: Possession or export of these is usually illegal. Trying to collect some at an archaeological site is illegal in most countries since it destroys valuable historical information. Trying to buy them from most vendors is far more likely to get you a forgery than a real item.
If you really want a genuine artifact, be prepared to deal with a reputable vendor, to pay a premium price since in effect you are bidding against museums, and to get the necessary permits. One way to recognize good vendors is that they are prepared to help with the permit process and the information they give you on that agrees with what you find from government sources.
Forged artifacts: These are claimed to be genuine, so they might cost as much and cause as much legal trouble as a genuine artifact. They are not worth either the price or the trouble.
Cheap imitations: Often available from vendors near the sites or in tourist shops nearby. These can be a good buy, but you will often have to bargain hard to get a reasonable price. Quality ranges from absolute junk to excellent.
Official replicas: These are generally sold by museums, copies of items in their collection. They are probably the safest choice for a traveller, usually good quality and sold at fixed prices. Not all are sold at the sites themselves; the country’s national museum may offer replicas and major museums like the Smithsonian or the British Museum have fine replicas based on finds from all over the world.
Nearly all travellers should restrict themselves to the last two categories.

Archaeology involves a great deal of work and helping out on a site might be both fascinating to a participant and valuable to a project. Unfortunately the field is generally not well funded and most projects cannot afford to pay anyone except professionals and perhaps some graduate students or, in some places, cheap local labor.

There are programs in various countries that involve volunteer work on archaeological digs:

US National Parks Service
Council for British Archaeology
Parks Canada
Sometimes even local groups have volunteer opportunities. For example in the Ottawa area, the NCC (National Capital Commission) runs an annual archaeology month, usually in August.

Famous archaeological sites

Alpine countries: Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps
France: Nîmes, Le Pont du Gard
Greece: Athens/Acropolis, Delos, Delphi, Kos, Knossos, Mycenae, Olympia, Rhodes, Samos, Samothrace
Italy: Capri, Cerveteri, Gela, Herculaneum, Ostia, Paestum, Pompeii, Rome/Colosseo, Syracuse
United Kingdom: Stonehenge

Middle East
Egypt: Abydos, Abu Simbel, Amarna, Dendera, Edfu, Karnak, Kom Ombo, Giza, Saqqara, Philae, Valley of the Kings
Turkey: Aphrodisias, Bergama, Bodrum, Bogazkale, Çatalhöyük, Çavdarhisar, Dalyan, Ephesus, Troy
Iraq: Babylon
Israel: Akko, Beer Sheva, Caesarea, Gezer, Hazor, Masada, Megiddo
Jordan: Petra
Palestinian Territories: Jericho
Saudi Arabia: Madain Saleh

Egypt: Abydos, Abu Simbel, Amarna, Dendera, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Giza, Saqqara, Philae
Libya: Leptis Magna
Morocco: Volubilis
Tunisia: Carthage, Dougga, El Jem, Kerkouane, Sufetula
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe

Cambodia: Angkor Wat
China: caves outside Dunhuang, Anyang, Great Wall of China, Xian
India: Fatehpur Sikri, Hampi, Nalanda, Pataliputra
Indonesia: Borobudur, Prambanan
Myanmar: Bagan, Mrauk U
Pakistan: Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Taxila
Thailand: Ayutthaya, Sukhothai
Vietnam: My Son

Belize: Xunantunich
Bolivia: Isla del Sol, Tiwanaku
Brazil: Serra da Capivara National Park
Canada: Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay Whaling Station (Newfoundland)
Colombia: Ciudad Perdida de Teyuna
Guatemala: Tikal, Piedras Negras, El Mirador
Honduras: Copan Ruinas
Mexico: Chichen Itza, Cacaxtla, Coba, Monte Alban, Palenque, El Tajin, Templo Mayor, Plaza de Tres Culturas (Tlatelolco), Teotihuacan, Tula, Tulum, Uxmal, Xcaret
Nicaragua: ruins of old León, Huellas de Acahualinca (pre-historic footprints in Managua)
Peru: Choquequirao, Machu Picchu, Nazca, Ollantaytambo, Pisac
United States: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, La Brea Tar Pits at Hancock Park inside Los Angeles, Moundsville, Ohio prehistoric sites, Taos Pueblos.

Source from Wikipedia