Archaeology Education Programs
- The Archaeological Process
- Lesson Plans
- Arranging a Field Trip
- Archaeology Adventure Lessons
- Alexandria Archaeology Summer Camp
- Field School in Public and Historical Archaeology
- Internship Opportunities
The Archaeological Process
Archaeological projects are conducted in a step-by-step process, much like scientific experiments. Learn more about how archaeologists in Alexandria go about selecting a site, conducting research, excavating a site, cleaning and cataloguing artifacts, and reporting their findings.
Lesson plans on topics relating to Alexandria history are available online for use in the classroom. One archaeology learning activity examines a harmonica found on an archaeological site in the African American neighborhood known as Haiti.
Arranging a Field Trip
To arrange a field trip, contact the Office of Historic Alexandria education coordinator at Alexandria Archaeology by email or at 703.746.4399.
If you would like to combine your visit with lessons at other Alexandria museums, please look over our list of sites offering educational programs before calling. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum can accommodate up to 20 students at a time for an Adventure Lesson. Large groups may be accommodated by dividing them into smaller groups and rotating site visits, as many of the historic properties are within easy walking distance of each other.
The Alexandria Archaeology Museum and many other sites offer free admission to the groups from the Alexandria City Public Schools. Some also offer free programs to other public school groups. When making reservations, inquire about the fee structure
Archaeology Adventure Lessons
The Archaeology Adventure Lessons demonstrate the step-by-step process of archaeology through hands-on group activities using artifacts from the Alexandria Archaeology collection. The Adventure Lessons, held at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum, are suitable for school classes, scout groups, birthdays, summer camps, adult and senior groups. Call the archaeology educator at 703-746-4399 at lease two weeks in advance to schedule a lesson.
Lessons are free to Alexandria Public School Groups, and $2.00 per person ($20.00 minimum) for all other groups. The educator can also arrange combined tours with other Alexandria museums and historic properties.
Elementary Age Lessons
- How Sweet it Was: The Sugar Trade in Alexandria – Activity Sheet
What is a Sugar House? Examine special artifacts to learn how sugar was made in the 19th century. Learn how archaeologists identify and classify artifacts. Learn more about sugar refining pottery.
- The Potter’s Art: Alexandria Stoneware Pottery Designs – Activity Sheet
Who made this pot? Learn to identify Alexandria’s potters by their designs on salt-glazed stoneware pottery. Learn more about Alexandria stoneware
- Archaeologists Set the Tavern Table – Activity Sheet
How do archaeologists relate artifacts to historic documents? Use tavern keeper Mary Hawkin’s 1777 inventory and artifacts excavated from Gadsby’s Tavern courtyard to bring an 18th century tavern to life. Visit Gadsby’s Tavern Museum on a combined tour.
Lessons for Older Students and Adults
- Hayti: Uncovering an African American Neighborhood – Activity Sheet
Who lived in Hayti in the 19th century? Weave together maps, census records and artifacts from a free black site to understand the people who lived there. Visit the Alexandria Black History Museum and Freedom House Museum on a combined tour.
Alexandria Archaeology Summer Camp
WHAT: Help Alexandria’s City archaeologists excavate a real archaeological site! Learn professional excavating, recording, and artifact processing methods. Uncover Alexandria’s buried past while protecting the City’s valuable historic resources.
WHO: Ages: 12 – 15.
WHEN: Session I: July 16-20, 2012; Session II: July 23-27, 2012
WHERE: The Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and a real archaeological site in Alexandria (to be announced)
COST: $400/session, Scholarships available
Field School in Public and Historical Archaeology
Each May the George Washington University and Alexandria Archaeology offer a ten-day field and laboratory course in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, designed as an introduction for those students wanting knowledge in archaeological basics and the uses of archaeology for the public. The course takes place at an archaeological site in Alexandria and at the Alexandria Archaeology Museum’s laboratory in the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Students gain experience in survey and excavation techniques, the use of the transit, field record keeping, artifact identification, and laboratory processing. Techniques for onsite public interpretation and for artifact analysis in the laboratory will also be taught. Lectures will be presented on the history of the site, the history of Alexandria and its urban development, excavation techniques, and the theoretical basis of the summer’s work. The curriculum is applicable to anthropology, history, preservation, museum studies, education, and American Studies.
General Information for 2012
May 21-25, 2012 Monday through Friday, and
May 29-June 2, 2012 Monday through Saturday
How to Register: Students register for Field School in Public and Historical Archaeology through The George Washington University. The course carries three semester hours of graduate or undergraduate credit through the American Studies or Anthropology departments. Class size will be limited to 20 students.
- Register for graduate credit (AmSt 294.80 or Anth 284.80), or
- Register for undergraduate credit (AmSt 193.80 or Anth 113.80)
- Course and registration information can be found at The George Washington University website. For more information, contact Summer Sessions at 202-994-6360 or email@example.com.
- Inquiries can be addressed to Alexandria Archaeology or call 703-746-4399.
Archaeology in Old Town Alexandria
Alexandria was established on a crescent bay of the Potomac River by Scottish traders in the 1730s. It grew in the 18th century into one of the most important ports of the region. Alexandria was located at the juncture of the industrial North and the agrarian South, and was included within the original boundaries of the District of Columbia. The City serves as a microcosm of American urban development. It reflects many of the changes in economic focus, ethnic diversity, patterns of land use, and social stratification that characterize urban environments.
The City of Alexandria is a leader in community archaeology, supporting an ongoing program of research and preservation that includes Alexandria Archaeology, a division within the Office of Historic Alexandria. Alexandria Archaeology studies and preserves archaeological sites and interprets them for the public through museum exhibitions, publications, classes, workshops and hands-on activities.
Archaeological excavations in Alexandria have brought to light a wide range of sites spanning several centuries. George Washington University students have participated in the excavation and study of African American neighborhoods, the Alexandria Canal, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop, the Lee family homes, Fort Ward (a Civil War fort), the McLean Sugar Refinery, and the Freedmen’s Cemetery.
City archaeologists and field session students will work together this year at a plantation site on Shuter’s Hill.
Internship opportunities (unpaid) are available on a limited basis throughout the year, to students who will receive credit through their colleges or universities. It is the responsibility of each student to make the arrangements to receive this credit.
Students usually come from departments of Anthropology, American Studies, Historic Preservation, History, Museum Studies and Museum Education.
Call the Internship Coordinator at 703-746-4399 for more information, or submit an Internship Application with your current resume.
Some internship opportunities that may be available include:
- Organizing historical and archaeological references to create a data base for making preservation decisions.
- Conducting documentary research using primary and secondary sources on specific properties or on specific aspects of the City’s historic development.
- Conducting archaeological survey, excavation and laboratory work, as available (generally May through October)
- Assisting in museum education programs which interpret archaeological and historical information to the public. Opportunities to design and install small-scale exhibitions are available on occasion.
- Assisting in collections management of artifact collections and their documentation, including field notes, records and photographs.
Article source: http://alexandriava.gov/historic/archaeology/default.aspx?id=33900&src=rss