Interpretation for Archeologists   Credits   DISTANCE LEARNING


Content Development

In response to the new NPS training strategy, an interdisciplinary work group of archeologists and interpreters developed a shared competency training module so that archeologists and interpreters can be trained together in the skills and abilities needed to carry out effective interpretation of archeological resources. The work group, led by John Jameson, Tony Knapp, and Dave Dahlen, developed the Archeology-Interpretation Shared Competency Course of Study Training Module entitled Effective Interpretation of Archeological Resources. This course of study identifies the purposes, goal, approach, design, participants, objectives, topics, delivery modes, competency assessment, content outline, and development activities.

Using the content outline as a guide, Heather Hembrey worked with Barbara Little, an archeologist in the Archeology Program, NPS National Center for Cultural Resources, to develop the first draft of this interactive Guide to Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. Building on Ms. Hembrey’s work, Teresa Moyer, a museum anthropologist, expanded the guide with revised material from the Interpretive Development Program for Module 101. Ms. Moyer has considerable experience working in a range of capacities with museums and national parks to contribute to the development of the uses for archeological materials. Both Ms. Moyer and Ms. Hembrey were hired as interns through the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) and hold Master of Applied Anthropology degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.

"Interpretation for Archeologists: A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities" may be cited as:

Moyer, Teresa S., Heather A. Hembrey, and Barbara J. Little
2004 "Interpretation for Archeologists: A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities." Archeology Program, National Park Service, Washington, DC.

The inspiration for the guide format came from Managing Archeological Collections, the technical assistance and distance learning effort developed by Terry Childs of the NPS Archeology Program and Eileen P. Corcoran, an NCPE intern with an M. A. in Anthropology from George Washington University.

Layout and Design

  • Everett Lindsay – National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers
  • Matthew J. Burns – National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers

Photographs Courtesy of:

  • Gail Brown, University of Maryland
  • George A. Grant Collection, Harpers Ferry Center, NPS
  • National Park Service
  • Paul A. Shackel, University of Maryland
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Additional Thanks

A number of colleagues provided very useful comments to earlier drafts of this guide, including: David Larsen, Becky Lacomb, Joy Beasley, John Beck, Mark Blackburn, Audrey Brown, Gail W. Brown, S. Terry Childs, Matthew Cochran, Helen Fairley, Megg Heath, Ann Johnson, Bruce Jones, Tony Knapp, Maureen Malloy, Francis P. McManamon, Justin S. Patton, Stephen R. Potter, Matthew Reeves, Mark Schoepfle, Paul Schuster, Erika Martin Seibert, Paul A. Shackel and Robert Sutton.

Special thanks to David Larsen for sharing his work, especially the pre-publication draft of Meaningful Interpretation: How to Connect Hearts and Minds to Places, Objects, and Other Resources.

This site is produced in cooperation with the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO).

For more information, contact the NPS Chief Archeologist at nps_chiefarcheologist(at)