Archaeology for (all) the Ages

Archaeology in Virginia, eastern U.S., is for many a collaborative effort that thrives through the Archaeological Technician Certification Program (Cert Program, for short).  Sponsored by the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV), Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA), and Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), the Cert Program is all about citizen science training, partnerships between avocational and professional archaeologists, public engagement, and documenting/conserving archaeological sites.  Coming from all walks of life, Cert students are regulars at our sites and in our labs.  The program has been in existence since the mid-1990s and sets a high bar:  12 courses, a long reading list, 60 hours in the lab, 60 hours doing survey, 60 hours at excavation sites/field schools, and 20 hours of public outreach.  Other requirements include skills milestones in the field, recording two archaeological sites with VDHR, keeping a field/lab and reading journal, and passing practical and written exams.  Participants complete this work on projects overseen by professionals who sign off on tasks in the famous ‘Blue Book’ that the students keep.  For a one-time $40 fee, continued membership in the ASV, and a commitment to our Statement of Ethics, students receive excellent instruction.  We have 80 graduates and over 100 current students, and our professional colleagues have come to depend on the grads long after they’ve finished the program.  Many thousands of volunteer hours each year are given to projects around the state.  In 2017, for example, students have worked on sites that are being lost to sea level rise on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, processed and re-housed important collections from past excavations, joined University field schools on colonial and Civil War-era sites, participated in trainings with the Maritime Heritage Chapter of the ASV, and engaged in public outreach activities at public parks and other events.  We are very proud of and grateful for our Cert folks, who, as my good friend, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, says “are certifiably passionate about archaeology.”      

One thought on “Archaeology for (all) the Ages

  1. Morgan Claborn says:

    Hi, This is something I am interested in, however, I can not find a link or way to sign up for this course or where it may be offered. Can you please provide that info?

    Thank you

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