Archaeology is the study of the material traces of past human activity; a set of methods and techniques used for writing history based on the material remains that humans leave behind. It covers the span of time from our earliest ancestors, and in principle extends to within moments of the present. It is most commonly applied to periods for which there is little record except the material one. Archaeology is often said to be the study of stones, old bones, and ancient monuments: but it is, of course, ultimately, a study of and for people.
Research is based on fieldwork (surveys and excavations) and analysis of existing collections. Upgraded archiving of the collections enhances their value as research collections. Current projects reflect research initiated by the museum as well as a range of collaborative ventures with or by visiting researchers. Research feeds directly into the museum's display and education programmes and is vital to keeping these programmes current and dynamic.