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There are a number of techniques and fields that deal with reconstructing the past, but paleontology provides hard data on past events.
Paleontology can potentially provide much data on the evolutionary relationships of organisms, which in turn gives a deeper understanding of biodiversity.
Although most of the fossils that paleontologists study are several thousands to several billions of years old, there is no absolute minimum age for a biological structure to be a fossil.
Paleontologists study fossils and attempt to use them to reconstruct the history of the Earth and the life on it.
However, paleontology as a whole encompasses all life, from bacteria to whales.
Paleontology does not usually deal with artifacts made by humans.
Formal education, however, is generally necessary if you want employment.
Visit the Paleontology is actually one of the few fields of science left in which amateurs can and frequently do make important contributions.
Relative dating has been practiced for nearly 200 years, arising from the observation that different layers of sedimentary rock contain different fossils, and that this sequence can be recognized in other rocks at other localities, even those far away.