Museum Archeological Research Center now in place


Union Museum of History and Art
Archeological Research Center

The Archeological Research Center that is associated with the Union Museum of History and Art is dedicated to archeological research and the education of residents of North Central Louisiana. In an effort to reach out to those interested, the research center is beginning a local article that addresses the science of Archeology. This will include archeological techniques and archeological discoveries. The Research Center is located at 211 N. Main Street, in Farmerville. This is the home of the Union Museum of History and Art and is dedicated to Coach Hardy, a long-time coach at Bernice and a highly respected advocational archeologist. His archeological colleagues represent some of the most prestigious names in Louisiana archeology.
Many people ask what an archeologist does. Some confuse archeology with history and what is involved to come to a scientific research solution. The internet identifies the differences thusly:
Historians study older documents and artifacts and create an interpretation of the past for the public.
Archaeologists excavate artifacts that both the archaeologists and historians study.
Archaeologists also look at historical documents, but they typically use them for background information on a site.
History is the study of past events and is studied or analyzed through the written records of the past.
Archaeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture.
An archeologist studies past cultures but this study is based on findings in the field. The archeologist attempts to reconstruct societies and cultures and answer questions of how a certain people lived. The study of archeology is multi-discipled and embraces the sciences of geology, biology, and chemistry plus the discipline of history. Work is performed in the field initially and then moves to the laboratory for research and analysis.
While the archeologist is in the field the historian is in the library or museum. The historian utilizes written records, artifacts, physical remains and oral history to piece together a story that defines a certain aspect of a culture. The one problem with historical work is that written history is at the mercy of the person recording it. It is said that “the victor writes the history” and it is up to the research historian to discern fact from fantasy or stretched truth. Just as the archeologist uses pure science to determine a conclusion, the historian will use other disciplines to help determine a solution to historical questions and quests. These could be political history, social history, economic history, cultural history, and intellectual history.
Though we may think that history and archeology are the same, they are in fact quite different. Future articles that we write about will actually be a mix of both. Whether it is how to lay out an archeological site or the use of lidar to find ancient hidden cities or whether it is to explain what the last days of Pompey was like or how they are excavating it today, we will investigate archeology and the history that archeology has uncovered.
We won’t view dinosaurs in the context of archeology. This is another misconception. Dinosaurs are not excavated by archeologist; they are excavated by paleontologist, a branch of geology. If you are interested in extinct animals that vanished after the last ice age, go to the Union Museum of History Arts website or Facebook page and look for the exhibit that will be coming this spring from Florida. Professional consultant is Dr. Gary Stringer, PHD in Geology with a Master’s degree in Archeology. Dr. Stringer is an adjunct professor at ULM.

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