Archaeologists can look at old newspapers, books, journals, and official documents to learn more about what happened in the past. But many times there are no written records. The early people in North America did not have a writing system and lived here long before others made written records to document their existence. This time period is sometimes called "prehistoric" which means a time before written records. The term prehistoric does not mean that there was no history; it means that the history was not documented in written form.
Some archaeologists specialize in the study of people who lived here after European settlement began, when there are written records. These archaeologists are known as "Historic Archaeologists."