'Evidence’ means very much the same in archaeology as it does in any other detective-style investigation. It can be anything which we can help us to understand a series of events in the area we are studying, in our case connected to the past human presence. Usually this means structures, deposits and artefacts, together with their chronology. The material used to form these - whether it is wood, stone or brick used in walls; flint or pottery used in artefacts, or domestic refuse from rubbish (‘midden’) deposits - can tell us about peoples’ lives there in the past.
We can use this information to build an interpretation of the function or functions of the site. Settlement, warfare, agricultural, ritual or industrial activity (in some cases all of these) can be suggested on the basis of the evidence. It is one of the exciting aspects of archaeology that the evidence is rarely one hundred per cent conclusive, allowing conflicting interpretations to be ventured.
Archaeologists and scientists are discovering new types of evidence all the time. For example, microscopic DNA molecules - allowing genetic studies of humans, animals and plants - are now able to give us information which was beyond our reach only a few years ago. Site sampling and recording techniques are being refined constantly to cope with these new demands.