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Archeology for Interpreters > 1. Introduction >

Guide purpose

Archeology for Interpreters helps interpreters to learn about archeological methods, to explore how archeological interpretations are made, to ascribe meaning to archeological resources, and to increase public understanding and concern for the preservation and protection of archeological resources.

Archeological resources are actively interpreted in hundreds of national parks, monuments, and recreation areas across the nation. Places in the Southwest come to mind most readily because the spectacular ruins have been well publicized, but nearly all parks have archeological resources. Even though it might not be as apparent as in the Southwest, archeology is often fundamental to a park's purpose and the stories it has to tell.

Many parks offer interpretive products that are informed by archeology: tours, pamphlets, interpretive trails and roadside displays, films, and book sales in the visitors center. Archeologists tend not to be directly involved with the public but provide essential information to the “front-line” interpretive staff who then convey it to visitors. Less frequently, visitors see actual excavation in progress and talk to actual archeologists, who may benefit from interpreters' guidance in conveying archeological information.

In this guide, participants will find web links, suggested interpretive strategies, and examples of effective interpretation of archeology in the For Your Information, Case Study, Try It Yourself, and Fun Fact sections. Look for Use What You Know sections to Assess Your Knowledge. When this online course is used in a formal educational setting, answers to these (and possibly additional) assessment questions may be evaluated by instructors.