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September 2009, v. 2



The Archeological Technician Certification Program is designed to give individuals the opportunity to obtain recognition for formal, extended training in the techniques and goals of archaeology without having to participate in an academic degree program.  Certification students are provided technical training in both the field and laboratory in conjunction with rotational lectures and workshops and required readings.


The program is sponsored by the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV), the Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA), and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR). 


Web addresses for the sponsoring groups:

Archeological Society of Virginia:

Council of Virginia Archaeologists:

Virginia Department of Historic Resources:


We are very fortunate that individual field and laboratory opportunities are sponsored by a wide variety of organizations involved in Virginia archaeology, including federal and state agencies, universities, museums, and historic sites.


The program is overseen by a Board appointed by the three sponsoring organizations.  Current Board Members:

Bruce Baker (ASV) and Carole Nash (COVA) – co-chairs

Faye Wade, Cynthia Hansen, Mike Wilke, and Kathleen Baker (ASV)

George Tolley, Kay McCarron, David Brown, and Thane Harpole (COVA)

Michael Barber and Dee DeRoche (VDHR)

Ex-Officio:  Patrick O’Neill (ASV), Esther White (COVA), Kathleen Kilpatrick (VDHR)


As of July 2009, over eighty students are enrolled in the Certification Program.  Since its revitalization in the late 1990s, the program has graduated forty-two students, many of whom continue their involvement with the program. 





PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION – what you need to do to enroll and stay current!


1.  You must be at least 16 years old. 


2. There is a one-time fee of $40 (check payable to “ASV”) that is sent, along with

your mailing address, e-mail, ASV Chapter affiliation (where applicable), and phone contact information, to:


Bruce Baker

10290 Reed Rock Road

Amelia, Va 23002

Ph. No. (804) 339-1864

Email: [email protected]


3.  You are required to be a member in good standing of the state ASV organization while you're in the program (which means renewing membership each year).  The ASV web page has a downloadable membership form:  Click on "membership" in the left-hand column.  Fill this out and mail it to the Membership Secretary with a check to cover the appropriate fee.   


4.  Bruce will send you the Blue Book (the log book that helps you keep track of your progress), as well as a Statement of Ethics to sign and mail back.  ONCE ACCEPTED INTO THE PROGRAM, EACH STUDENT MUST ABIDE BY THE CODE OF ETHICS OF THE ARCHEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA. 


5.  The one-time fee also gives free admission to all program lectures and workshops, as well as basic materials and handouts. 


6.  We encourage students to work at a steady pace and complete the program in two years; however, we understand that some students will need more time.  We will assist you in every way possible to help you finish.


7. All work undertaken in the program must be done under the supervision of a professional archaeologist who is either a member of, or eligible for full membership in, the Council of Virginia Archaeologists.


8. If you have done archaeology under the supervision of a professional archaeologist during the past five years prior to joining the program, the Certification Committee will consider a request to review the details of the work and determine whether it meets program requirements.  You must contact the program directors and send the following information for such a review: 

The committee quickly considers these requests.


9.  You need to keep a journal that details your work in the program -- lab, lecture, readings.  You will also be sent instructions on keeping a field journal.  Your journals are turned in with your final exam and Blue Book for review by the Certification Committee.


10. We strongly encourage you to have a professional mentor who can help you find readings, get needed lectures, oversee your progress, etc.  The Certification Board will assist you in finding one.




The program has three components: classroom lecture/reading; laboratory; field.  You must have your Blue Book with you when working on all elements of the program, as your hours and tasks must be logged and initialed by the professional in charge.  


The eleven lectures range from overviews of Virginia archaeology to lithics analysis to metal object analysis and conservation -- a wide range of topics that cover both the theoretical and methodological aspects of archaeological practice.  These are given at various times during the year by professionals.  You are regularly notified of lectures and workshops taking place around the state.  The lectures include:


The readings are selected to introduce you to the major themes of the discipline.  These include lab manuals, field manuals, artifact identification books, etc.  Each local ASV chapter will have a full set of each; if you’re not affiliated with a chapter, please let us know.  Readings are incorporated throughout the program to complement both lectures and practical experiences.  The list of required readings is appended to this document.


There is a requirement of 60 hours of lab work:  30 with historic artifacts; 30 with prehistoric artifacts.  You can pull these together from various projects -- as long as they add up.


The field work requirement includes 60 hours of survey (30 historic/30 prehistoric sites) and 60 hours of excavation (30 hours each on a historic and a prehistoric site).  While in the field, you are also given instruction in specific methods (e.g., survey and excavation techniques, understanding the use of a transit and grid, reading topographic maps, understanding stratigraphy, GPS, etc.). 24 excavation hours must be completed at an approved field school.  We post a full listing of field opportunities on the ASV web page each April and regularly notify students of field and laboratory opportunities.         


Finally, you must record two site forms with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, for both a prehistoric and historic site. This is done in computerized format in a specialized database (Data Sharing System), and your mentor will work with you to help you complete them.


You will take both practical (laboratory) and written exams at the end of the program – these are basic exams designed to reflect what you've learned in the program.  They are graded by the Certification Committee.


We recognize program graduates at the Annual Meeting of the Archeological Society of Virginia, which takes place in October of each year.  After graduation, certification program students regularly continue in the lab and field.    


Required Readings


Beginning in 2008, all Certification Program students are required to read the series Archaeologist’s Toolkit (2003, Zimmerman and Green, eds., AltaMira Press).  This is comprised of seven small volumes that are integrated throughout the Certification curriculum.  Copes of the Toolkit are available from the ASV and kept on repository with the local ASV Chapters. 







Carnett, Carole

1992    Legal Background of Archaeological Resources Protection, Technical Brief No.       11, U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service, Washington, D.C.



Hicks, Robert

            End of Millennium Report on Time Crime

            Click here for the Hicks paper.    


U.S. Department of Interior National Park Service

            Archaeology Laws: A Guide for Professionals



U.S. Department of Interior National Park Service

            Archaeological Laws and Ethics



Virginia Department of Historic Resources

            State and Federal Laws and Regulations Related to the Preservation of Historic      Properties in the Commonwealth of Virginia








Deetz, James

1996    In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life.  Anchor          Press.


Orser, Charles

2004    Historical Archaeology, 2nd Edition.  Prentice Hall.


Reinhart, Theodore (Ed.)

1996    The Archaeology of 18th Century Virginia.  Special Publication #35,             Archeological Society of Virginia.


Reinhart, Theodore and Dennis Pogue (Eds.)

1993    The Archaeology of 17th Century Virginia.  Special Publication #30,            Archeological Society of Virginia. 


Reinhart, Theodore and John Sprinke (Eds.)

1999    The Archaeology of 19th Century Virginia.  Special Publication #36,            Archeological Society of Virginia. 




Egloff, Keith and Deborah Woodward 

2006    First People: The Early Indians of Virginia (2nd Edition).  University of Virginia     Press.


Reinhart, Theodore R. and J. Mark Wittkofski (Eds.)

1989    Paleoindian Research in Virginia: A Synthesis.  Special Publication #19,      Archeological Society of Virginia.


Reinhart, Theodore R. and Mary E. N. Hodges (Eds.)

1990    Early and Middle Archaic Research in Virginia: A Synthesis.  Special Publication    #22, Archeological Society of Virginia.


Reinhart, Theodore R. and Mary E. N. Hodges (Eds.)

1991    Late Archaic and Early Woodland Research in Virginia: A Synthesis.  Special         Publication #23, Archeological Society of Virginia.


Reinhart, Theodore R. and Mary E. N. Hodges (Eds.)

1992    Middle and Late Woodland Research in Virginia: A Synthesis.  Special        Publication #29, Archeological Society of Virginia.  


Wood, Karenne (Ed.)

2007    The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail.  Virginia Foundation for the Humanities,          Charlottesville.






Michael Madden and Joel Hardison

2002    An Easy Identification Guide and Typology for Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Century Bottles.  Special Publication #42, Archeological Society of          Virginia.


2003    Sobolik, Kristin.  Archaeobiology.  Volume 5 of the Archaeologist’s Toolkit, Alta   Mira Press.


Reading materials on lithics, ceramics (Native American and historic), and metals are included in the books required for Laboratory Techniques (see below).  Your instructor will also have handouts for you when you take these courses. 





Brady, Colleen, Molly Gleeson, Melba Myers, Claire Peachey, Betty Seifert, Howard Wellman, Emily Williams, Lisa Young

2006    Conservation and Collections Care: Guidelines for Archaeologists.  CD available    from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

            (N.B. Artifact conservation is a specialized field, requiring oversight from trained   professionals.  The CD is not meant as a “how-to” guide to conserving artifacts and          its proper use falls under the Certification Program Code of Ethics).  


Ewen, Charles R. 

2003    Artifacts (Volume 4 of the Archaeologist’s Toolkit, Alta Mira Press).


Noel-Hume, Ivor

2001    A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America.  University of Pennsylvania Press.


Sutton, Mark and Brooke Arkush

2006    Archaeological Laboratory Methods, 4th Ed.  Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.




Black, Stephen L. and Kevin Jolly

2003    Archaeology by Design.  (Volume 1 of the Archaeologist’s Toolkit, Alta Mira        Press).


Collins, James M. and Brian Leigh Molyneaux

2003    Archaeological Survey.  (Volume 2 of the Archaeologist’s Toolkit, Alta Mira          Press).


Hranicky, Jack

1981    Using United States Geological Survey (USGS) Topographic Maps.  Special          Publication #20, Archeological Society of Virginia.


Virginia Department of Historic Resources

            Data Sharing System Data Entry Instruction for Archaeological Survey.  







Carmichael, David, Robert Lafferty III, and Brian Molyneaux

2003    Excavation.  (Volume 3 of the Archaeologist’s Toolkit, Alta Mira Press).




--Certification Program Graduates through 2013 (with Chapter Affiliations)—


These ASV members, listed in alphabetical order, have completed all the requirements of the ASV-COVA-VDHR Certification Program.  Congratulations graduates!


Key:  CHMC=Col. Howard MacCord Chapter; HC=Highlands Chapter; MC=Massanutten Chapter; MPC=Middle Peninsula Chapter; NC=Nansemond Chapter; NVC=Northern Virginia Chapter; NSVC=Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter; RC=Roanoke Chapter; UJRC=Upper James River Chapter


Baker, Bruce (CHMC)

Baker, Kathleen (CHMC)

Balazs, Eliot (UJRC)

Barker, Beverly (CHMC)

Biller, Janice (MCASV)

Brown, Dale (NVC)

Bryson, Linda (MP)

Bucklin, Elizabeth (MPC)

Cole, Bill (NVC)

Corley, Joe (CHMC)

Cuyler, Jackie (NVC)

Davis, Laura (NVC)

Dellinger, Elaine (out-of-state)

Eilers, Richard (NSVC)

Edwards, Wayne (NC)

Evans, Randy (NSVC)

Fischer, Carl (CHMC)

Fridley, Harrison (UJRC)

Frye, Robert (NSVC)

Fuller, Pat (NVC)

Garber, Becky (NVC)

Gloor, Jim (MP)

Grealy, Susie (NVC)

Hansen, Cynthia (NC)

Hebron, Richard (MC)

Heuser, Robert (NVC)

Hon, Edgar (NVC)

Imlay, John (NVC)

Johnson, Maggie (NVC)

Jordan, Lisa

Karow, Tom (MP)

Kelsey, John (NVC)

Kincaid, Andy (MP)

LeMasters, Marcus (NSVC)

Lofton, Laura (NSVC)

Long, Richard (NVC)

Maginnis, Walt (At-Large)

Manson, C. Niel (CHMC)

Martin, Janet (NSVC)

McGovern, Ginger (NVC)

McPherson, Chandra (CHMC)

McWhorter, Preston (NVC)

Monken, George (NVC)

Mulford, Philip (NVC)

Pearsall, Joyce (NVC)

Pfeffer, Al (CHMC)

Policastro, Anatoly (NVC)

Policastro, Mary Beth (NVC)

Reblitz, Howard (NVC)

Reynolds, Carole (MP)

Santamaria, Wilther (NVC)

Schweikart, Karen (NVC)

Sharrer, Joe (MC)

Shonyo, Dave (NVC)

Shoaf, Cindy

Shoaf, Mike

Short, Christine (UJRC)

Short, Hannah (UJRC)

Siegel, Rebecca (NVC)

Silva, Gene (NVC)

Summerson, Marsha (CHMC)

Thomas, Steve (CHMC)

Tidwell, Alan (NV)

Tonkavitch, Isabella (NV)

Townes, Valerie ()

Vaca, Dave (NVC)

VanFossen, Eric (MP)

Veith, Kay (MC)

Wade, Faye (CHMC)

Waggy, Linda (MC)

Watlington, Lee (NVC)

Weddle, Billy (RC)

Weddle, Regina (RC)

Wedin, Laura (NVC)

Welch, Barbara (NVC)

Whitmire, David (NV)

Wilke, Mike (HC, MC, UJRC)

Williams, Donald (NVC)

Wood, Ann (NVC)

Zuckerman, Ian (NSVC)

Zuckerman, Linda (NSVC)




For further information, please contact:


Bruce Baker

10290 Reed Rock Road

Amelia, VA 23002


Email:  [email protected]


Carole Nash, Ph.D.

Geographic Science Program

MSC 4102

James Madison University

800 South Main Street

Harrisonburg, VA 22807


Email:  [email protected]