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Dig Up the Past: An Archeological Volunteer Vacation 
 
by Nancy A. Meadows-Galloway June 23, 2005

Have you ever dreamed of participating in an Archeological excavation? If so, then an Archeological Vacation might be the vacation for you. Programs are offered by several states during the summer months to train the average individual in excavation techniques, along with record keeping and surveying procedures. You do not have to be an expert in the field of Archeology to participate. Most people who attend these field workshops are interested in archeology or history but have never had the opportunity to explore this area.

Archeology is not limited to the study of things prehistoric-pertaining to the time before recorded history. Historic archeology is another popular field that deals with the not-so-distant past. Programs offered by the states listed are for both prehistoric and historic Archeology.

Texas Archeological Society

The Texas Archeological Society sponsors an archeological excavation/field school to train individuals in the proper techniques of excavating, recording and the preservation of finds. Each year the dig is located in a different part of the state during one of the summer months and lasts for eight days. During the excavation/field school individuals stay in tents or RV’s that are located close to the excavation site. The principle focus of the dig is for the average individual to be able to participate in a professionally run archeological excavation. Participants can choose from several different jobs at the dig:

  • Helping with the actual excavating-Participants learn proper use of a trowel along with other methods for excavating.
  • Help with surveying new sites-Individuals learn the proper techniques needed to locate and document new historic and prehistoric sites.
  • Individuals can help with lab procedures-The cleaning and recording of artifacts such as pottery shards, tools, ect.

The field school is held from 7am to 1pm the rest of the day is free to explore, rest, and attend workshops. Some of the workshops offered at the field school are:

  • Flint Knapping
  • Pottery making

An evening program is also offered that focuses on archeology and the history of the area where the dig is taking place.

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