Archaeological excavations are necessary for the study of monuments of material culture of past centuries. The primary means of the archaeological study of a monument that covers a wide area is an excavation site, i.e. a rectangular piece of ground excavated in layers to the natural ground (soil untouched by human activity). The absolute size of an excavation site depends on the objectives of the study and the thickness of the cultural layer. Typically, an area covers anywhere from 100 to 400 m².
Before work on the strata of a cultural layer, it is cleaned, and the excavation area is evened out and split into squares (usually 2x2 metres). Penetration is done by strata (usually 20 centimetres each) and squares, with the help of shovels. Upon detection of objects, burials or their traces, knives, tweezers, and brushes are used instead of shovels.
Excavations are carried out with mandatory soil sifting and cleaning after each "spit". Finds of each layer are selected, described, sketched, and stored by layers and squares (or pits, areas, buildings, etc.). Each find is accurately fixed in its place vertically and horizontally, and counting of the depths is taken from one point (benchmark).
Archaeologists collect all finds, including large-scale ceramic and building material, not just the "most interesting" ones – individual and architectural. They also investigate the structure of the layer, as well as the colour, consistency, amount of sand, clay and humus, remains of construction (woodchips, wood, stone, brick, lime, and mortar), combustion traces (coal, ash, calcined soil), and other factors.