In the 21st century archaeology is a standardized science of excavating and interpreting the past through the cultural materials that are left behind. The only way to understand and interpret the archaeological record is to gather the artifacts while they are in their original place and position. This is a science of measurement, mapping, analysis, and just plain hard work. It is not quite as glamorous as the Indiana Jones movies make it out to be, but exciting nonetheless.
Archaeology is an ongoing science and the work is never completely finished. What we gain on each excavation only adds to a much larger piece of the puzzle. The figurine found in the Gehring Site Feature 203 is an example of that. Right now, this figurine is undergoing additional research at SIUE to determine its significance and its relation to the people who created it. Every other field season there is a dig right here in Edwardsville, Madison County, Illinois, where students who are interested in archaeology get their first try at excavating, screening dirt and mapping a feature. It is a continuous process that everyone is welcome to join. You can help reveal the deeply buried secrets; because — it’s your history too!