Ethnoarchaeology is the study of past societies, focusing on material remains, rather than culture. Sometimes known as anthropological archaeology, it can provide insight into how people in the past may have lived, especially with regard to their social structures and religious beliefs. By looking at the way in which different social groups live and behave today, archaeologists can better interpret the significance of materials left behind by previous societies and infer how they were
used, and why.


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  1. Close, but not quite right. Ethnoarchaeology is not also known as anthropological archaeology. Anthropological archaeology is a huge field of archaeological inquiry of which ethnoarchaeology can be a sub-topic, but not an analog . Ethnoarchaeology combines the qualitative social scientific research method of ethnography (which focuses on the in-depth study of a particular living culture) with archaeological methods and theory to create inferences about past cultural behaviors based on current cultural behaviors. Ethnoarchaeology also does not necessarily focus more explicitly on social structures or religious beliefs, but can be used to better understand all sorts of past behaviors. Ethnoarchaeology can be used in studies of both pre-historic and historic cultures.

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