Once artifacts and other material are brought into the field, they must be cleaned, stabilized, and analyzed. The final report must be prepared, the documentation and paperwork stored properly. For every hour spent in the field excavating, archaeologists may spend 3 - 5 hours in the laboratory.
Analysis involves examining each type of artifact to learn as much as possible about the past. There are specialists in ceramics, lithics (stone tools and flakes), fauna (the animal remains), and flora (the plant remains), as well as many more specialized topics.