Why do human societies change? This is one of the central problems that archaeologists study. To answer the question, archaeologists often, but not always, excavate sites. Sites are places where people lived, worked, or buried their dead. As the American archaeologist David Hurst Thomas once said –
“Archaeology is not what you find, it’s what you find out.”
These insightful words suggest that the answers to many of the interesting questions about the human past are not necessarily to be found by excavating an archaeological site, but may be in a museum where artifacts are stored, a laboratory where we can analyze objects, a library where we can read about other people’s research, a satellite photograph that shows us the location of sites in relationship to each other and geographic features, or even in the knowledge and experiences of people living today.