The Archaeology of Knowledge was first published in French in 1969. The first English translation rolled off the press in 1972. It has been described by critics as a "noteworthy attempt at a theory of history" and a "focused critique of the history of ideas".
In the Introduction, Foucault states that, among other things, historians attempt to uncover "the great silent, motionless bases that traditional history has covered with a thick layer of events" (1972, p.3). He describes the work of historians in a way that reflects the work of geologists, as if the life of a civilisation or an idea is a cross section of the earth's mantle.
Regarding the analysis of history, he offers the view that traditional questions of cause and effect are being replaced by questions about the division of events into series, like strata.
Here is a quote worth pursuing:
"... the history of thought, of knowledge, of philosophy, of literature seems to be seeking and discovering more and more discontinuities, whereas history itself appears to be abandoning the irruption of events in favour of stable structures (1972, p.6)."