Archaeologists study ancient cultures by looking at what they have left behind in the archaeological record. Contrary to popular belief, archaeologists are not "treasure hunters". Archaeologists are actually much more interested in the ordinary things of life that can give us valuable information about the daily lives of past people.
On a very basic level, archaeologists study ancient garbage or "midden". In fact, garbage can be quite indicative of cultural values, social status, diet, and social organization of the society that left it behind.
The 'Archaeology Excavation' activity at the Experiment Station in the Discovery Center teaches children about the tools, methods and questions used by archaeologists to understand ancient humans. Discovery Center visitors are invited to "become archaeologists" by excavating unknown objects, mapping the 'artifacts' they find on a grid system, or piecing together the remains of broken plates, cups and other objects. Once completed, visitors are invited to reconstruct history by making connections between the people who used these artifacts and people who live today.