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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions and answers to them:

Jobs and Careers

  • Are you interested in a job with the National Park Service?

  • Are you interested in an internship with the Archeology Program or the Applied Ethnography Program?

  • Are you are interested in an archeology job with a state?

  • Do you want a career in archeology or anthropology and want to know about education or opportunities
  • ?
  • Do you want to attend an archeology conference?

Volunteer Opportunities

General Information About Archeology

Jobs and Careers

Are you interested in a job with the National Park Service?

For any Federal job, such as with the National Park Service, you must apply through the United States Office of Personnel Management. Visit the USAJOBS web site to search for jobs by keyword, location, and agency. You may also choose to contact the OPM by mail or by telephone:

United States Office of Personnel Management:
1900 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20415-0001
(202) 606-1800

More specific information about employment, volunteers, seasonal employment and more by the National Park Service can be found on the Careers Web Site.

Are you interested in an internship with the Archeology Program or the Applied Ethnography Program?

Paid internships are often available for graduate students or undergraduate seniors through the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE). These internships enable students to gain work experience, learn new skills, and meet NPS archeologists and ethnographers. To learn more about the kinds of projects offered, visit PreserveNet. This site lists position announcements for years past, current opportunities, application forms, and deadlines. NCPE internships take place throughout the NPS system in museums, offices, and archeological centers.

The Historic Preservation Internship Training Program operates jointly with NCPE. This program enables students to learn about, and contribute to, the national historic preservation programs operating through partnerships between State Historic Preservation Officers and the National Park Service. Students are placed NPS cultural programs headquarters and field offices, as well as in units of the park system with historic preservation and cultural resource management responsibilities.

Many National Parks have their own temporary, seasonal, or intern programs. Be sure to check with parks in your region to see what opportunities they may have.

Are you are interested in an archeology job with a state?

A good way to start is by contacting your State Historic Preservation Officer and State Archeologist. They can tell you about finding and applying for positions with the state government, and point you toward those archeology contract or consulting firms that conduct business in your state. You also may wish to contact a local museum or university and inquire about positions.

Professional organizations list a wide variety of positions across the nation, including those in academia, the field, museums, and governments. Here are a few to try:

Cultural Resource Management (CRM), or contract archeology, can be a good way to find out if archeology is for you. These companies conduct short and long term excavations, and frequently place advertisements for field crews. Typically, CRM companies require their crews to have completed a field school and have some academic background in archeology. Try these sites for more information:

  • ShovelBums
  • http://www.archaeologyfieldwork.com/forums/index.php

Do you want a career in archeology or anthropology and want to know about education or opportunities?

One of the best ways to explore anthropology or archeology as a career is to take an introductory course at a college or university, or volunteer or participate in a field school. Check out these sites for more information:

Do you want to attend an archeology conference?

Many historical, anthropological, and archeological societies post information on activities across the country. These societies hold annual conferences, which can help you to learn more about archeology and to meet people. Some popular archaeological conferences include:

Associations are a subset of national conferences, and can be a good way to meet other archeologists and get involved.

Also check out archeological associations.

Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in volunteering or in archeological fieldwork opportunities?
If so, you may also be interested in amateur certification programs or in caring for sites.

Opportunities for volunteering abound. Contact museums, historical societies, colleges, and universities in your area to find out about their programs. Many states have archeology celebrations during the year; look at our Events in Your State page for more information. The National Park Service Volunteer in Parks program is another place to inquire about volunteering in archeology.

Archeological fieldwork is a great way to gain experience as a volunteer. Programs through colleges or universities will offer credit. Check out these sites for more information:

Several states offer amateur certification. This enables you to gain the training and experience necessary Sto excavate in a responsible manner. For more information on stewardship, visit our Caring for Sites page.

General Information About Archeology

Are you interested in general archeological information?

The Archeology Program web site contains many great resources. Explore the site to learn about the federal archeology program, archeology in national and regional parks, legal information, and more. The Archeology Program site also includes online exhibits about archeological topics across the nation, as well as recommendations on places to visit, publications (including books, magazines, and videos), and other media.

The Archeology Program has produced two online guides about what archeology is and what archeologists do. Archeology for Interpreters answers questions about archeological methods, interpretation with archeological data, sensitivity in cultural resource matters, and encouragement of a sense of stewardship in youth. It also provides numerous links to get you started, including recommendations on parks to visit, lesson plans, and publications. Interpretation for Archeologists offers methods for encouraging people to find personal meanings in archeological resources. It aims to foster a sense of stewardship in the public for archeological resources.

Visiting our National Parks is a great way to learn more about archeology. Visit the National Park Service web site for more information. Also visit NPS Interpretation and Education for some activities with archeology and advice for people looking for specific topics in the national parks. The National Register of Historic Places Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans include several archeology-themed activities.

In addition to the Archeology Program and NPS web sites, take a look at Archaeology and You by George E. Stuart (National Geographic Society) and Francis P. McManamon (National Park Service). This online brochure provides basic information about the science of archeology, as well as advice on learning more and participating in it.

What are the state and federal laws protecting archeological resources?

Archeological resources are protected by law on state and federal lands. While federal law is consistently applied across the nation, state and local law differs from place to place. We strongly recommend that you contact your State Historic Preservation Officer and State Archeologist to find out about laws concerning archeology for your area.

Archeological and Native American resources are protected on federal lands by three primary laws: the Antiquities Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and the Native American Graves Repatriation Act. These three pieces of law define what is protected and outline the penalties for offending the law.

  • The Antiquities Act of 1906 deems illegal the disturbing of archeological materials on lands owned by the United States and sets up penalties for the collection, excavation, and destruction of historic and prehistoric ruins or monuments situated on them. It established a permit system for legitimate archeological investigations to minimize illegal activity. The law also emphasizes that the collections from a permitted project must be properly curated in a publicly accessible museum. As well, it establishes a procedure for the President to designate National Monuments.
  • The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) of 1979 protects archeological resources and sites on public (federal) lands and Indian lands. It sets up guidelines on the procedures to obtain permission and permits to excavate archeological sites on public lands by qualified individuals. ARPA establishes penalties and fines for breaking the law. For a first offense, a fine of up to $20,000 and up to two years imprisonment may be imposed; for subsequent offences, the penalty may involve fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. Additional penalties based on the value of a damaged site and the cost to repair it may also be imposed. As well, ARPA acknowledges federal ownership of objects excavated from federal lands, calls for the preservation of objects and associated records in a "suitable" institution, and seeks regulations for the care and management of archeological collections.
  • The Native American Graves Repatriation Protection Act (NAGPRA) has two major purposes. Its first is to forge paths for federal agencies and tribes to work together in the process of identifying and returning culturally affiliated Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to tribes. The second purpose is to give Native American burial sites greater protection. NAGPRA covers objects in federal or federally funded museums and also affects any public museum that received federal funding before or since 1990.

Are you looking for ways to protest the illegal sale and looting of archeological artifacts?

Public stewardship of archeological materials is extremely important. One way to protect archeological resources is to have a working understanding of federal laws, and to speak up to the appropriate authority when you observe illegal practices. Be sure to promote stewardship practices in youth by modeling appropriate behavior and by instilling in them the value to the present and future of these fragile materials.

Visiting the National Parks and using the Archeology Program web site can help you impress upon other people the significance of the archeological past in the present. A series of articles and other information available on the Archeology Program site, particularly on the Caring for Sites page, will provide you with information about stewardship.

The Archaeological Conservatory is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving archeological sites. Contact the Conservancy at:

The Archaeological Conservancy
5301 Central AVE, NE Suite 1218
Albuquerque, NM 87108-1517

For local information and groups, contact your State Historic Preservation Officer and State Archeologist. They can tell you about preservation and archeological stewardship organizations in your area.

Are you looking for educational materials?

Check out the Archeology Program’s For Teachers page for many resources of use to educators, including web sites, publications and other materials. Two great ways to start learning about archeology as a teaching tool are our online guides, Archeology for Interpreters: A Guide to the Resource and its counterpart, Interpretation for Archeologists: A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Created to help National Park Service interpreters and archeologists discuss archeological resources with the public, educators can also use these guides to learn about incorporating archeology into their classroom toolkit. They also include recommendations for many links and readings.

Please note that the content for the publication “Participate in Archeology” has been transferred to our web page. We no longer retain copies of the print version.

The NPS site contains several other web resources for learning about archeology. NPS Interpretation and Education contains some activities with archeology and advice for people looking for specific topics in the national parks. The National Register of Historic Places Teaching with Historic Places lesson plans also offer an accessible, fun way to learn more about archeology.

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