In the video, The Hearth: Out of the Past, they talk about four different sites which are, Ceren, Copan, Teotihuacan, and Rome. They talk about the excavation site, the culture and lifestyle of the people and how they lived. The preservation of Ceren is quite interesting. Mount St. Helens, was an active volcano, which exploded and its ash covered everything in the surrounding area. This, ironically, preserved the site very well.
Looking at the sites of Ceren and Copan, we find some similarities. Copan being a 100 kms north of Ceren. Unlike Ceren, Copan was not well preserved. It went through excessive erosion over a long period of time. In Ceren the people were very self-sufficient, they grew their own food, made their own tools, pottery and clothes. Likewise, people of Copan also very self-sufficient. They both had similar layouts of households. They had several buildings of the same household which served different purposes. In Teotihuacan the number of houses grew to thousands. 30-100 people could live in a single compound. Their whole lineage would live in the same building compound. Also, the burials were very unique. They use to bury people in the same place as they used to live in, sometimes under the floor of their apartment. In Rome there was a site which was preserved in a similar way as Ceren. Like Teotihuacan, the households were also very large. They were very well decorated from the inside. Unlike others however, there were elites which had an extraordinary amount of wealth. There was a vast difference between the rich and the poor. Slaves were also very common. An estimated of 400 slaves could work for a single household. These slaves were basically prisoners of war which the Romans had won.
The archaeologists mainly based their interpretation upon the lifestyles and households of these four households. They see the differences and similarities between them and try to connect the dots. I also saw a steady increase in the size of households going from Ceren to Copan which had separate buildings, to Teotihuacan, which had large apartment compounds with a lot people living together, to finally Rome which reflects a modern day society in a lot of ways.
From the information I gathered from this video, I would say the analysis they did not involve much of the new technological advancements. Now a days archaeologists have all sorts of tools SONAR, X-ray, magnetometry, etc. These tools could be very helpful. Also using chemistry to know the composition of different artifacts could tell us a lot about how they used to build them.