There are two essential questions that help me get through my day as an archaeologist.
1. Why is that like that?
Everything around you is the way it is for a reason. If something doesn’t match the expected natural state, then clearly something has happened to it. This change could be natural or cultural, a single event or multiple, but something has happened. What happened?
Some things are obvious. Some can be explained with some thought. Others can’t be explained. Still others can be easily dismissed, but probably shouldn’t be.
Nothing should be dismissed without a reason. But, I don’t have time to delve into the nuances of every little detail of a site, so the second question gives me a reason to dismiss a detail.
2. Is this relevant to my archaeological interpretation?
Seriously, we’re working on a budget. Don’t waste time figuring out things that have no relevance to your project. Describe it so that it might be useful to others, and then move on.