To an archaeologist examples of relative dating methods include
These tools reveal subsurface soil anomalies which often represent ancient features such as walls and trash middens.
Techniques are now so sophisticated that if the buried structure is well preserved, a team might be able to create a reliable plan of the invisible feature.
Other projects have utilized geophysical prospecting devices to reveal more about the use of the area.
A team may use resistivity meters to discover the soil's resistance to electrical current and magnetometers to detect variation in the magnetic properties of the soil.
Many field archaeologists and students with various backgrounds visit the site every summer to participate in a unified effort to recover and analyze information about the past.
If an excavation phase follows, this will certainly help guide the placement of test trenches and excavation grid.
These advances, along with continual chance discoveries through modern construction, ensure that there is never a shortage of researchable sites and little need to "go looking" for cities, treasures, and pretty things.
Researchers can use the incomplete material record to reconstruct the cultural history of the place at particular points in time.
The visible remains of the ancient past do not normally lie exposed on hilltops or in the open desert.