Urban Archeology Corps in Richmond VA

Two people doing archaeology in a forest
Urban Archeology Corps participants hard at work in the field.
1. Historical thinking benefits from encounters with diverse perspectives. Students posed a number of historic research questions about Gravel Hill, a community that traces its roots to enslaved peoples freed in the 18th century. This work ultimately prompted participants to consider the history of this place and its people from multiple perspectives.

2. Good researchers use an array of history tools. With guidance from cultural resources specialists, students established and refined their skills with three methods of historical analysis: archives, oral history, and archeology. Students worked carefully, applying each lens to dissect their research questions.

3. The archeology corps brings new voices together. The Urban Archeology Corps created a space for new audiences to connect with history and the park. The Corps’ Public Archeology Day put these narratives center stage, attracting local residents—many of whom had never before taken an interest in the park.

4. Local stories inspire future resource stewards. Students investigated a history that helped shape the diverse communities that define Richmond today. By organizing projects that worked with and recognized the agency of the local residents and recognizing the communities in which the park is entrenched, the Urban Archeology Corps opened new avenues for partnerships and visitation and created new pathways for African American youth to encounter and connect with park resources.

5. Learners turn into teachers. Public Archeology Day showcased youth civic participation as students shared their findings on the history of Richmond’s free people of color before the Civil War. Their work and enthusiasm emphasized how cultural resources stewardship can benefit from working to be relevant to contemporary audiences.

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Last updated: September 20, 2018