Finding artifacts from the ancient past can be exciting. It offers you a window into the lives of people who lived on the land before you did.

But with each find comes a lesson and stark reminder.

“To find something that was made back 8-10,000 years ago, it’s pretty incredible,” said Wayne Anderson, a farmer at Anderson Farm.

Anderson’s family has been collecting points and arrowheads for generations. He says it makes him think about what the piece went through to end up in his hands.

“If that piece, inanimate object could talk, all the stories it would, you know, how it came about to be,” he said.

Each artifact comes with its own story.

Dr. Matt O’Mansky, associate professor and chair of Youngstown State University’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Gerontology, says there is more to an object that meets the eye.

“It’s not about the stuff, the stuff is cool, it’s great to find, but as an archaeologist our goal is to understand past cultures and past people,” O’Mansky said.

It’s through this understanding that we can learn from the people who lived here before us.

“Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it,” O’Mansky said.

Even though what we find buried here won’t determine our future, it teaches us one simple lesson.

“Every civilization that has ever existed up to modern times has collapsed. For a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s environmental, sometimes through warfare, there’s a whole range of reasons. But are we so vain to think that we are going to be the first civilization to not have that happen? It’s happened every single time to every single civilization. So why are we so different?” O’Mansky asked.

The short answer: we’re not.

It is the hope of archaeologists that by studying past civilizations we can learn about them and what went wrong.