I guess that archaeology uses scientific method for much of its investigation but there is also a great deal of imagination applied to deduce the purpose of many archaeological artifacts.
I began thinking about this while on my Greek holiday back in June/July of this year. I visited the Acropolis Museum which is quite amazing as a museum. It is well set up so that it is easy to walk through it and they even provide archaeologists on the premises for questions regarding the exhibits. I've never been to a museum with direct access to archaeologists - I've always thought of them as being in the back room lovingly preserving exhibits that we will probably never get to see or out in the field uncovering some new discoveries. But at the Acropolis Museum they are there for us to ask questions of them... so I did.
As I traveled through the museum reading the informative descriptions of the exhibits and their place in Greek history, it struck me that the dating system used was the christian religious BC/AD. AD - Anno Domini - In the Year of Our Lord!!!! He's not my lord, he's not the lord of many of the tourists and he most certainly was not the lord of the Greeks of the time the exhibits were built/made! So, I queried one of the archaeologists as to why the xtian religious terminology was used for dates instead of the more neutral terminology of BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era). His response needless to say was less than satisfactory and the best he could do was to say that this is the religion of Greece and that many tourists come to Greece for that reason!
Not satisfied with this answer, I decided to write an email to the President of the Acropolis Museum, Prof. Dimitrios Pandermalis. I sent the email to email@example.com but received no response from Prof. Dimitrios Pandermalis. What I did get is added to the museum's email list so I get emails from them from time to time which I don't mind as I like to keep up with what is happening. I have attached the letter for anyone interested in reading it: Letter to President Acropolis Museum.
So what do others think? Am I expecting too much of archaeology? If it is a science then religious designations have no place but if it is not a science then I don't have a leg to stand on - I shouldn't complain.
If you agree that archaeology is a science and should not include religious designations in its dating or any other aspects then I would appreciate any ideas on how to progress this objection. I can't even seem to get a hearing with those that are best placed to enact change. Any ideas?
V, take the Museum to court or find something else to do.
Thanks for your recommendation, Tom. I'll keep it in mind for when I'm a billionaire.
The dating method doesn't bother me too much. They can say AD without me getting riled up and that's OK. (Even the JW's use the terms CE and BCE apparently to keep Jebus out of it.)
Is Archaeology a science? Yes, but different today than ever before. They used to have a shovel in one hand and a bible in the other. Back in the late 1960's they abandoned the bible idea and only went for the shovel. That was when they learned that the bible is not accurate, does not stand alone as history, and should not be used to prove anything. Since then they have learned that the Old Pesterment is not true at all, or the reported happenings within it are recorded for the wrong century. No evidence of Egyptian slavery, 40 years of wandering in the desert, etc.
Modern archaeology has vindicated itself and has come a long way, baby.
Well said, Michael. I sometimes use too few words.
Plate tectonics rattled the minds of xian archeologists in the 1960s. Carbon dating has rattled the minds of more.
Good point, Michael.
Archaeology is evolving as our understanding evolves and more museums are starting to use the more neutral terminology. Possibly the answer here is that I should be more patient and wait for the Acropolis Museum to catch up with the rest of the world. It would just be nice for them to take the lead for once that's all.
Patience is a virtue...
Patience is a virtue...
Vangelis, I like to mention the ancient Chinese saying
Relax in the face of the inevitable
and add the new American saying (I made up)
I don't know it's inevitable until I poke it a couple of times.
The neutral BCE/CE terminology still uses the xtian calendar but it frames it in more neutral terms rather than the religiously incendiary AD - In the Year of Our Lord.
We usually notice when some aspect of religion is used where religion doesn't belong, but to Christians the word Christian means good. Or right. They really don't notice how much the Old Testament has found its way into common lore. Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Job, Jonah, Noah are, of course, all from that source. But many religionists just see them as suggesting a time. Not much of an excuse, really, but I think it's part of the reason.
That's right.Value judgements such as good/bad, right/wrong are not applicable to science. Science is about describing phenomena as they are/operate and that's it.I don't have a problem with the calendar starting at the mythical jesus date for a number of reasons but I do have a problem calling it "in the year of our lord" as this term has nothing to do with scientific method and in fact alludes to a religion which directly contradicts it.
I have no problem with BC, AD or CE.
According to Wikipedia, our dating system has been with us for about 1200 years. Originally invented in 525 AD, but not used widely until 800 AD.
One argument Christians have used with me as proof of God's existence, is our dating system. I usually reply, by telling them the days of the week are named after Mona the moon God, Oden the King of the Gods, Thor and Fria. Does that mean these Gods are also true. And in Japan they use NenGo (年号). Does this mean Mr Akihito is a God? And that his Dad, Mr Hirohito was also a God?
According to Wikipedia again, year 1 on Mars started on the 11th of April 1955, if your interested. :)
I also think archaeology is a science. For all the same reasons stated above.
The folks who devised BCE and CE knew a change would get an argument.
People can read the C as either Common or that other word.