There was no sudden eureka moment when the information in this book was discovered. Rather, it was a slow and meticulous process of gathering facts, fitting pieces together and discovering patterns that were not expected. Some have imagined that researchers set out to make a great discovery. This is very seldom the case. Usually discoveries come from long years of research, sifting through data, and trying to make sense of a mass of confusing information. This chapter traces the research and the slow uncovering of the archaeological record of early Islam.