The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Simon Fraser University
 The archaeological evidence available to us depends on a number of things.
We look at what people who lived in the past and those
who live in the present, have done to the evidence
(clues like artifacts, ecofacts and features).
We call these cultural formation processes.  For instance, if someone
in the past threw something in the garbage that would be a cultural
formation process. Or, if a farmer who today tilled his field and
mixed up the soil where a house once stood, this would also be a
cultural formation process.
Archaeologists also look at what natural conditions such as soil and climate
have preserved or destroyed the evidence.  We call these natural formation processes.
The main 'trick' for archaeologists is to find, recognize,
recover and conserve evidence.  We can do little about cultural and natural
formation process, because they are at the mercy of previous
human behavior and nature. But our 'tricks' are constantly
improving, as we learn more about how to understand the processes of decay
and destruction so we can design research strategies and technical aids
to make the most of what archaeological evidence actually survives.
Phew!!! Did you get all of that?? Basically, archaeologists use
tricks like research strategies and technical aids to help them out.
An archaeologists' bag of tricks is HUGE !!
So, usually they just use a few at a time.
 Some tricks include mapping, excavation, bone analysis,
archaeobotany (examining plant remains) and faunal analysis (examining
animal remains).  There are lots more methods that archaeologists you travel through DhRl 16, you can see some more in action!!
Take me back to the Hint Intro Page!