What is Paranormal Archaeology?


Archaeology is the study of humanity through material culture. What is that fancy definition really mean? It means the study of people by looking at their stuff.

Stuff can be a lot of things. It can be an object, something that you can hold in your hands and touch, smell, or taste. It can also be a site, a building, a bridge, a structure, or the remnants thereof. Increasingly archaeology dips its toes into the intangible as well, digital archaeology examines the world of the computer, the Internet, and even coding. Archaeological gaming examines the imagination, looking at virtually built worlds not only within a digital world such as World of Warcraft or Mind Craft but also the tabletop versions such as Dungeons & Dragons and other popular role-playing games.

Archaeology looks at artifacts large and small to try to understand the cultures that created these things. They try to understand the how and the why something would have been made and used. Archaeology tries to understand the story of people through the items they make and leave behind. It can be something as recent as a cigarette butt thrown down by a smoker passing their way down the street, or it can be something as ancient as Stonehenge, Gobekli Tepe, or Teotihuacan.


Often the human mind tends to give greater importance and weight to things that we consider old. The mysteries of ancient sites are far more intriguing to the average person than the story of the grocery store down the road. Arguing from an archaeological standpoint, both are significant, to the average person though one is probably more interesting than the other.

However, if I were to tell you that the grocery store down the street is actually haunted, and I can tell you several stories about strange things that happen inside the grocery store at night, I might get your attention. I might have more of your attention if I can show you objects from the grocery store, things that might be the cause of the hauntings or perhaps touched by the hauntings in some way.

Now I have created a story that can capture the imagination. Are there really ghosts in the grocery store? How did they get there? Why do they stay? Does this now make the grocery store important because it is a site of significance to the paranormal? If it’s important to the paranormal, should it not be important to us?

It is a not-so-recent phenomenon that stories about ghosts and supernatural are popular. Ghost stories can be traced back to before the Victorian era, and if you include in that category superstitions and myths you can say that ghost stories go all the way back to the beginning of human time. But is a story an artifact? Can a ghost be studied? Can we learn about humanity through the supernatural if we study it archaeologically?


I think not only that we can, I think that we should. Human beliefs shape human actions. An understanding of those beliefs requires more than reading scary novels and watching scary movies. It requires doing what any archaeologist would do in any other situation. It requires going to the sites, looking at the assemblages and artifacts, categorizing and studying things presented as evidence, and writing up the conclusions. All of this can be done, and the Paranormal Archaeology blog looks to attempt this.

What can be gained from this kind of archaeology? I say a deeper understanding of humanity. What we think about our ghosts, the haunted objects we create, the things we give value in the afterlife, reflects how we think of the living. All of this happens in living time. And archaeology may be able to give us a deeper understanding of what the modern supernatural world looks like.

I hope you can come with me on my investigations. I hope I can use these projects to give people a better understanding of how archaeology tackles an idea. And I also hope that by learning more about the supernatural through objects and sites, we can maybe learn a little about each other as people.

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Published by ArchyFantasies

An active Archaeologist myself, I've gotten a bit tired of the use of bad science and archaeology to defend and "prove" made up claims. In this vein my videos should help others who are are not familiar with how Archaeology actually works understand the truth and see through the misleading lies of others

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