Excavation, Fieldwork and Volunteer Opportunities

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Each year, the Archeological Society of Virginia sponsors, participates in or has information about several field events, including excavations, site survey, site testing, certification programs and other means of hands-on archaeology. These opportunities are usually conducted by another organization, such as the United States Forest Service or a College or University, such as Longwood College. They are a great opportunity to learn more about excavation, artifact identification and processing, as well as the historic or prehistoric time period during which the archeological site was occupied. ASV has a directed survey program designed to gather information about specific items. Internships, both paid and unpaid are sometimes available from various sources. DHR has ongoing opportunities for lab work that provide hands-on involvement with artifacts, classification and curation.

In addition, several chapters have on-going training digs, surveys, artifact processing and analytical projects that need participants. Contact the Chapters nearest your area for details.


Certification students and volunteers needed to work in the archaeology department cataloguing, rehousing, labeling and photographing artifact collections and working in the department library. Volunteers interested in zoo-archaeology can assist with ongoing research projects and learn the basics of faunal identification and analysis. Contact Elizabeth Moore at 276/666-8634 or the VMNH and follow links to the archaeology lab blog.

DHR Fieldwork Opportunities

DHR has multiple excavations yearly for which volunteers are welcome with advance application. The latest was on the Eastern Shore in May. These projects are research oriented in a threatened sites mode for sites that are in severe danger from mostly natural events.

DHR Field Work Contact:
Mike Barber
Department of Historic Resources
2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond 23221.

US Forest Service (USFS) Passport In Time (PIT) Program

The USFS PIT Program has one or more excavations yearly for which volunteers are welcome with advance application. These have been coordinated with DHR in the past.

USFS PIT Contact:
Mike Madden
Forest Archaeologist
George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
5162 valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke, VA 24019

Artifact Research at DHR

The DHR Collections Room has ongoing volunteer programs in need of dedicated people to work on artifacts. This is an opportunity to work with historic and prehistoric artifacts of all ages and types. Contact: Dee Deroche(804 482-6441)

Lab "Field School" at DHR

The ASV/COVA/VDHR Certification Program repeats the offered lab field schools at VDHR's archaeological collections room. For these five days, students will receive required core and area Certification lectures on a variety of topics and got hands-on experience with Native American prehistoric and historic artifacts, as well as and Euro-American historic artifacts. We want to thank Dee DeRoche in advance for her willingness to sponsor this important activity, which will include several courses and many lab hours.

DHR Lab Field School Contacts:
Dee Deroche(804 482-6441)
Department of Historic Resources
2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond 23221.

Late Woodland Pottery Decorative Attribute Research at DHR

The DHR Collections Room has an ongoing volunteer program oriented toward isolating Late Woodland pottery decorative attributes. This involves going through the DHR collections to isolate pottery that has been decorated as well as surface treated. The outcome will be a matrix of attributes that occur with a coding system developed that will show the distribution of these traits. This is a pilot program for Virginia that unique. Contact: Dee Deroche(804 482-6441) or Lyle Browning (804/357-2959)

Agricultural & Industrial Census Tabulations

The US Census tabulations are a goldmine of information that needs to be digitized. Looking for people to input a county or a year into a spreadsheet for eventual statewide tabulation. This can be done at home once the info is collected from the Library of VA's microfilms or possibly downloaded. Contact: Lyle Browning (804/357-2959)


ASV has a certification program that offers a structured program involving all of the fieldwork components as well as classroom and academic instruction. Certification Program:
Carole Nash (540 568-6805)
Geographic Science Program
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Bruce Baker (804-339-1864)
10290 Reed Rock Road
Amelia, VA 23002


Volunteers are accepted for a variety of projects. Will work with certification participants. Contact Tom Klatka at 540/857-6047

Survey Checklist
Individuals from ASV may elect to undertake surveys of parcels of land. In order to activate ASV insurance to cover non-ASV people we have instituted a policy that for each project there must be filled out a form/checklist of goals and methods that is the basis for a research design for the project. The completed form/checklist is then submitted to the ASV President who will in turn forward it for consideration to the relevant committees. Click here to obtain the checklist. Click here to obtain the checklist documentation.


ASV has a directed survey program aimed at Virginia's charcoal era iron blast furnaces. The aim is to collect two quart bags of the characteristic glassy slag for eventual chemical fingerprinting. A list of furnaces that need collections made is available, but note that furnaces on US Forest Service lands are off limits. Contact Lyle Browning at 804/357-2959 for information and furnaces that need to be sampled.

There will be other directed surveys. Check these pages or better yet, propose your own program through the ASV Research Committee through Mike Barber


Field School Opportunity

Mount Vernon seeks volunteers for Fridays and Saturdays from June to October, 2014. An opportunity to dig at George's house, how neat is that? Contacts are listed on the flyer.

Click here to get the Flyer with contact info .

Field School Opportunity

The Eastern Shore Field School (44NH431) occurred from May 9-20, 2015 at several sites severely threatened by erosion and in dire need of excavation. Click here for the flyer with a field school application.

Click here to get the Event Info and Application Form as a Word file.