An archaeological site is any place with physical evidence of past human activity. Such sites might be from pre-history as well as history; even remnants from modern times can count as archaeological sites.
The leave-no-trace principle is mandatory for these places. Legal consequences for trespassing in closed areas, damaging remnants, or removing artifacts, might be harsh. Respect local authorities.
Some archaeological sites give opportunities for tourists to take part in excavations. Other sites have developed into tourist traps, where commerce is dominant above the genuine experience.
For places that are both archaeological sites and still inhabited, we have a separate list at Old towns.
- See also: Art and antiques shopping
There are several kinds of archaeological souvenirs. Note that there are export restrictions or total prohibition against the export of archaeological artifacts in many countries and penalties can be anything from seizure of the article to prison sentences. Therefore, permits may be required to export archaelogical and other cultural artifacts, especially the genuine ones:
- Genuine artifacts: Possession of these might be illegal. In every case collecting at archaeological sites destroys valuable historical information. You need a scientific strategy, elaborate methods and the permissions of the relevant government authorities.
- Forged artifacts: Claimed to be genuine, but might cause as much trouble as a genuine artifact.
- Official replicas: Often sold by museums; probably the safest choice for a traveller.
Archaeology involves a great deal of work and helping out on a site might be both fascinating to a participant and valuable to a project. Unfortunately the field is generally not well funded and most projects cannot afford to pay anyone except professionals and perhaps some graduate students or, in some places, cheap local labor.
There are programs in various countries that involve volunteer work on archaeological digs:
- World Heritage Volunteers. A UNESCO program mainly working on preservation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Past Horizons. An index of archaeological projects worldwide that need volunteers]]
Famous archaeological sites
- France: Nîmes, Le Pont du Gard
- Greece: Athens/Acropolis, Delos, Delphi, Kos, Knossos, Mycenae, Olympia, Rhodes, Samos, Samothrace
- Italy: Capri, Cerveteri, Gela, Herculaneum, Ostia, Paestum, Pompeii, Rome/Colosseo, Syracuse
- United Kingdom: Stonehenge
- Egypt: Abydos, Abu Simbel, Amarna, Dendera, Edfu, Karnak, Kom Ombo, Giza, Saqqara, Philae, Valley of the Kings
- Turkey: Aphrodisias, Bergama, Bodrum, Bogazkale, Çatalhöyük, Çavdarhisar, Dalyan, Ephesus, Troy
- Iraq: Babylon
- Israel: Akko, Caesarea, Masada
- Jordan: Petra
- Saudi Arabia: Madain Saleh
- Egypt: Abydos, Abu Simbel, Amarna, Dendera, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Giza, Saqqara, Philae
- Libya: Leptis Magna
- Tunisia: Carthage, Dougga, El Jem, Kerkouane, Sufetula
- Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe
- Cambodia: Angkor Wat
- China: caves outside Dunhuang, Great Wall of China, Xian
- India: Fatehpur Sikri, Hampi, Nalanda
- Indonesia: Borobudur, Prambanan
- Myanmar: Bagan, Mrauk U
- Pakistan: Mohenjo-daro, Taxila
- Thailand: Ayutthaya, Sukhothai
- Vietnam: My Son
See also Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent.
- Bolivia: Isla del Sol, Tiwanaku
- Brazil: Serra da Capivara National Park
- Canada: Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay Whaling Station (Newfoundland)
- Colombia: Ciudad Perdida de Teyuna
- Guatemala: Tikal, Piedras Negras, El Mirador
- Honduras: Copan Ruinas
- Mexico: Chichen Itza, Cacaxtla, Coba, Monte Alban, Palenque, El Tajin, Templo Mayor, Plaza de Tres Culturas (Tlatelolco), Teotihuacan, Tula, Tulum, Uxmal, Xcaret
- Peru: Choquequirao, Machu Picchu, Nazca, Ollantaytambo, Pisac
- United States: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, La Brea Tar Pits at Hancock Park inside Los Angeles, Moundsville, Ohio prehistoric sites, Taos Pueblos.