summary: : concentrated and patterned physical remains of past human activity, especially human settlement.
The term archaeological site refers to concentrated and patterned physical remains of past human activity. The term is used especially in reference to human settlements, but it also encompass other assemblages of artifacts, plant and animal remains (as deposited by humans), structural remains, and soil features indicative of human activity. A site may be as large and complex ancient city that completely or partially buried by surface soils or other sediment, or it may be as small the remains of fire pit and piles of debitage from a temporary nomad camp. Sites may be underwater, including shipwrecks and flooded habitation sites.
Although all archaeological sites, as well as isolated finds, are a record of human activity, the importance of a site may vary widely according to its type and condition. In general, while sites may be identified by surface remains or suggestive topography, the characteristics of a site and its cultural or scientific importance cannot be identified via surface examination alone.
- pre-historic sites
- Prehistoric archaeological sites frequently shed light on use or over-use of natural resources, changing survival strategies and social organization of past human communities. A site may include artefacts, plant and animal remains, structural remains, and soil features. It may be a large ancient city completely or partially buried by surface soils or other sediment or the ephemeral and superficial remains of a temporary nomad camp or other short-term activity. Sites may be underwater, including shipwrecks and flooded habitation sites. In general, sites may be identified by surface remains or suggestive topography, but the characteristics of a site and its cultural or scientific importance cannot be identified based on surface examination alone. Although all sites, including isolated (off site) finds, are records of human activity, the importance of an archaeological site will vary according to type and condition.
- mounds, middens, caves, hilltop fortifications
- monumental painting
- Occasionally, walls of cave-site burial grounds are painted. Conservation of wall painting requires careful planning—especially if the size and/or quality is expected to draw large tourist flows.
- cave or wall painting
- architectural sculpture
- Exterior sculpture is often damaged by polluted air and rising water tables.
- indigenous or vernacular architecture
- Includes architectural compositions using local materials, such as wood, mud brick and stone.
- Asian Development Bank. 2003 “Cultural Heritage,” Environmental Assessment Guidelines. Manila: Asian Development Bank.
- International Finance Corporation. 2006. “Glossary of Terms.” IFC Policy & Performance Standards and Guidance Notes. Washington D.C.: International Finance Corporation.
- World Bank. 1994. “Culture Heritage and Environmental Assessment,” Environmental Sourcebook [Update 8; September 1994]. Washington D.C.: World Bank.