LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Students at UW-La Crosse are using teamwork to help unlock mysteries about our past.

The archaeology department is studying 700 year old pottery and other artifacts to see how different cultures in different regions shared ideas.

Previously, the students could only study different designs and what regions they came from, but not the origin of the clay. That's why they approached the physics department about using its equipment to break down elements in the clay.

It launched a partnership that is helping both departments better understand our history. "The students that are involved get this idea that the archaeology dept. doesn't just do archaeology, they do collaborate with physicists and chemists and soil scientists because it's all interconnected," said UW-L assistant professor of physics Seth King.

Some designs found in the area are similar to ones found as far away as eastern Wisconsin.

The new research will help determine if the pottery was brought all the way here.