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Archeology

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Definition: "Archeology" is an alternate spelling for Archaeology. Both spellings are accepted by most scholars today, although the print version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) insists on 'archæology', with the ligature in the middle. The origins of the word archeology are found in Old English, and derived from the Greek 'arkhaios' meaning ancient. The OED says that the first occurrence of the word 'archæology' was in 1607, in English bishop and satirist Joseph Hall's Holy Observations Lib. I., in which Hall wrote, "God loveth adverbs", whatever the heck that means. At any rate, during Hall's time the vowel sound in the middle of archæology would have been a flat a, as in, well, flat. During the Great Vowel Shift, the flat "a" shifted to an "ee" sound. An attempt was made in the 20th century to simplify the spelling to 'archeology', but archaeologists, being stodgy and fond of old things, still cling to the old spelling.

Now, you probably came here for a definition of archeology, and not a linguistic side track. Archeology is the study of the human past, including everything from yesterday's garbage in the landfill to the impressions of footprints in the mud at Laetoli by our ancestor Australopithecus. Whether studied in a classics department as part of ancient history, or in an anthropology department as part of human cultures, then, archeology is always about people and our immediate ancestors, and never about dinosaurs, "intelligent design", or space aliens.
Alternate Spellings: archaeology
Examples:
In other languages, archeology is spelled: archéologie (French), 考古学 (simplified Chinese), Archäologie (German), археология (Russian), arqueología (Spanish), archeologia (Italian), 고고학 (Korean), and αρχαιολογία (Greek).

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