excavation

Archaeologists learn about how people lived in the past from the remains they left behind. Over time, architectural ruins and artifacts are often buried, so archaeologists must dig to find them. This dig is called an "excavation," and it's one of the most important steps in archaeology. An excavation is a slow, carefully planned, and well-organized process. When archaeologists uncover new artifacts, they’re uncovering pieces of history.

Definition: the process of digging up remains and artifacts from a past time
Common tools: trowels, brushes, tape measures, buckets
Where: everywhere around the world, even underwater
Name for the location of an excavation: “site”
Most common find: pottery shards (fragments) and stone objects, which preserve well over long periods of time
Purpose: to understand how people lived in the past

Image credits: courtesy of Charles Spencer; Chuck Spencer: courtesy of AMNH.