Use the smaller-sized text Use the larger-sized text Use the very large text


Archaeology is frequently presented as something that occurs in faraway places and that involves the investigation of people that lived long ago. The “Indian Jones” and “Laura Croft” movies are the most current versions of this popular image of archaeology. Some archaeologists do study the remains of very old cultures located in faraway places, but others study the people who lived at the village, farmstead or logging camp located just down the road. Archaeology occurs figuratively and literally under our feet.

Archaeology has been part of the Wisconsin Historical Society since its organization in 1846. Today archaeologists at the Society work in many different areas. Archaeologists work in the field finding and recording sites. They record where the sites are located and make maps of what they see. This information is entered into a large database so that the site's location and the site's importance can be taken into account when we plan for new roads, schools, businesses, and homes. In some cases, archaeologists excavate the site to “preserve” the information before it is destroyed and at other time they dig to answer specific questions. Who did live at the site and when? Where did they come from and what did they do while living at the site. In other cases, the site location is set aside and preserved for future generations. Once the fieldwork is done, its back to the lab and office! Archaeologists spend 3 to 4 times as much time in the lab and office as they do in the field. That is for every week in the field you can expect to spend 3 to 4 weeks, if not more depending on what is found, analyzing and writing a report and preparing the collections for long-term storage and preservation. Besides the technical report, Archaeologists at the Society take the information they unearth and development educational materials for the classroom, the museum, the Society's Web site, and to use in public presentations.

Join the archaeologists at the Society as they go about the business of archaeology.

Notes from the Field

Vandalism to American Indian Rock Art Panel at Roche-A-Cri State Park



  • Questions about this page? Email us
  • Email this page to a friend
Highlights Related Resouces
select text size Use the smaller-sized textUse the larger-sized textUse the very large text