At the University of Nevada, Reno, professors have strengths in prehistoric and historical archaeology. Faculty prehistoric archaeologists focus on periods without written records, with regional interests in North and South Americas, East Asia, and northwest Africa. Historical archaeology focuses on periods with written records. University historical archaeologists have active projects in North America and the Mediterranean. As a department, a particular focus is on the history and prehistory of the Great Basin.
Archaeologists study the human past through the physical remains of past human activities. The archaeological record includes portable artifacts, the remains of buildings and structures, and animal and plant remains. The practice of archaeology involves the observation, analysis, and interpretation of the archaeological record. Archaeological methods include pedestrian survey, excavation, remote sensing, laboratory analysis, and the use of written documents and oral traditions.
Archaeologists research the human past by modeling past patterns of environmental change, looking for patterns in technology, reconstructing settlement patterns and site structures, looking at evidence of past diets, using historical documents, and through a variety of other sources of data.