The phenomenon of human life and our living in the world, now or in the past, is simply impossible to describe and understand in one single way or with one single science. To answer such great challenge, archaeology has to take advantage of many sciences and their research methods, from linguistics to physics, anthropology to computing, art history to geology and so much more. Furthermore, our scales and perspectives of observation were broadly expanded already long ago. We are not simply looking at individual finds and sites but observe the world with everything available, from microscopes to satellite images. Modern archaeology developed into one of the highly interdisciplinary sciences which integrates humanities with social and natural sciences, and modern technology. What makes archaeology special is its way of observing the past - through material remains, and human transformations of past environments, and landscapes.
This year's presentation of archaeology at the European Researchers Night in Ljubljana is centred around food and diet. The food has a paramount role in our biological and cultural evolution. Here we would like to quote famous French anthropologist, Claude Levy-Strauss, who claims that food is a meeting point of nature and culture, mutually transforming each other. The food is much more than just a matter from which our bodies get the necessary energy; on the contrary, it is a domain around which directly or indirectly reflects our culture, symbols, economy, politics and much more. It is also a domain where the power of archaeological knowledge can be shown at its best.
We have attempted to make our presentation of archaeology as engaging as possible. Under 'Archaeology in action' there are more than 60 very short videos presenting various aspects of archaeological research associated with food in the broadest sense, from 'landscapes of food', relationships between food and the human body, strategies of exploitation of animal and plants, how we make the food and think about it.
We have also invited participants to become 'Archaeological Master Chefs', to try to make some dishes as they were made in the past, and share their experiences with us.
That archaeology can be very engaging science, we have presented under the heading 'Experimenting'. All those who attempted archaeological experiments have realized how it is possible to join the fun with knowledge.
And, last but not least, the past was always challenged by the present. Though there is no single interpretation and understanding of the past, there is always a scientific approach to it which may not be so easy and straightforward, but it is always rewarding. For those who would like to test their knowledge in distinguishing scientific archaeology from pseudoarchaeology, there is a quiz 'Archaeology and false archaeology'. Try your self!
And finally, to all is given an opportunity to join us in 'Chat with archaeologists' in real-time. Ask us about anything you would like to know.