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Seeker by Jack McDevitt

Book cover for Seeker
The story is set approximately 10,000 years in the future, after civilization has expanded to inhabit countless worlds. Alex Benedict and his partner Chase Kolpath specialize in a new active type of space-archeology, involving the examination of abandoned bases and deserted space-craft in search of valuable items. Alex is approached by a mysterious woman who asks him to ascertain the value of a strange cup riddled with archaic symbols. They discover that the cup is a 9,000 year old relic from one of the first Faster-than-light vehicles built, the Seeker. This was a colony ship manned by a faction known as the "Margolians" who were fleeing the then-oppressive society of Earth in hopes of establishing a free world. Records indicate that they succeeded, as the Seeker made several voyages, but they kept the location of their colony world a secret and it remains unknown to the present day.