There are three broad categories of data that needs to be analysed at the end of the excavation stage:
These serve as a foundation for reconstructing the occupation history of the site and/or region. It is important than all these elements are satisfactorily integrated within an explicitly defined research strategy.
The major focus of investigation of these categories is to determine their form, date, composition and possibly their origin and to understand how they were deposited or manufactured.
Analysis of archaeological materials, both artefacts and ecofacts, covers a range of scientific techniques and is referred to as archaeometry. Most of these techniques were not designed specifically for archaeology but have been borrowed and adapted by archaeological scientists. These comprise, for example, different isotopic analyses, in particular radiocarbon dating, spectroscopy analysis, Neutron Activation Analysis, or organic chemistry.