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World Atlas of Archaeology


Archaeology is practiced in all of the seven continents and most of the countries in the world. Archaeologists come from many of these countries as well. On the World Atlas of Archaeology you'll find resources on the archaeological sites of the world, the cultural histories of the different countries, the ongoing archaeological excavations conducted there, and advice for travelers to those countries.
  1. Africa
  2. Arctic and Scandinavia
  3. Asia
  4. Australia and Oceania
  5. Eastern Europe
  1. Mesoamerica
  2. Middle East
  3. North America
  4. South America
  5. Western Europe


Rift Valley, Tanzania, Africa

Africa is our human home--the place where the first humans, called Australopithecenes, evolved some two million years ago; and it is also where the first modern humans evolved. Africa is the site of some of the most heart-heartbreakingly ephemeral architecture--the Butabu adobes of West Africa--and some of the most permanent--the pyramids of Egypt and Sudan.

Arctic and Scandinavia

White out conditions, Nunavut, Canada

The harsh arctic and subarctic regions of the world are among the most fascinating areas to do archaeological investigation. To live in these cold climates, people had to adapt their living situations, with specialized needs for housing, diet and subsistence, and growing and raising plants and animals. At the same time, the conditions led to some of the best preserved archaeological remains on the planet.


Close up of terracotta warrior, Qin Dynasty, China

The archaeology of the near and far eastern parts of the world include the inventors of pottery--the Jomon; the long-lived and powerful Chinese civilization, creator of the world-famous terracotta soldiers; the roots of the Indian subcontinent cultures, the Indus Civilization of Pakistan and India; and evidence of the earliest human migration patterns along the coastlines.

Australia and Oceania

Lake Mungo, Australia

Australia and the islands near it represent the adventurous human past. Arriving in the region perhaps some 40,000 years ago, the human explorers found an area populated by plants and animals not seen anywhere else in their journeys across Asia. Australia is also the last place colonized by the British empire. Thus, Australia's prehistoric past is at once deep, unique, and recent.

Eastern Europe

The Reconstructed Fort at Biskupin, Poland

Central Europe, with its dark forests and deeply incised rivers, has a special attraction to archaeologists. Gravettian sites like Dolní Vĕstonice in the Czech Republic and Mezhirich in the Ukraine have taught us about living at the end of the last Ice Age. The reconstructed town of Biskupin in Poland lets visitors see what living in an Iron Age settlement might have been like.


Altun Ha - Maya Archaeological Ruin, Belize

Mesoamerica includes part of North America from central Mexico southward and includes the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Belize. These were the homelands of the sophisticated Olmec, Zapotec, Maya and Aztec civilizations. At once famously gruesome and less-famously civilized, the ancient kings of Mesoamerica commissioned beautiful architectural wonders in varied places, in jungles, on coastlines, in swamps and on upland plateaus.

Middle East

Column Capital, Homa Birds at Persepolis (Iran)

The middle east is often considered the cradle of civilization, with the rise of Mesopotamia at the juncture of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq. It is also the original land of most of our earliest domesticated plants and animals, in the Zagros Mountains of modern-day Iran; and the place where the Persian Empire got its start.

North America

Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

The North American continent was discovered by humans sometime around 15,000 years ago, and the secrets to that migration into the Americas are being researched at this very moment in the Russian east and the Bering Strait. North America also is where big game hunting became a way of life for a brief period of time; and where the remnants of the Mississippian and Pueblo cultures can be found.

South America

Machu Picchu from a distance, the ruins with mountain Wina Picchu behind it.

South America is the last continental body discovered by human beings, and it is also home to the oldest civilization in the Americas, the Caral-Supe civilization of Peru of some 5,000 years ago. Other advanced civilizations in South America include the Inca, Wari, Tiwanaku and Moche societies, as well as the mysterious geoglyphs of Nasca and the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Western Europe

Stonehenge, Summer Solstice 2006

Western Europe contains the heart of the Greek civilization, what many people consider the epitome of classical art and politics. It was also the home of the Roman empire, and of course, Stonehenge and the remarkable monumental art of the Morbihan coast of France.

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