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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Archaeology

Division of State Archaeology Homepage

The following informaton about DHR initiatives, programs, and resources offers ways to encourage and support the identification, stewardship, and use of Virginia's archaeological resources for educational and cultural benefits.

Virginia Archaeology Network:  Offers information and links to places and websites that focus on archaeology in Virginia and beyond.

Teaching Archaeology:  Learn about resources available to schools, organizations, and museums for teaching Virginia archaeology. DHR has Archaeological Resource Kits (ARKs) available for classroom use. One ARK covers topics in archaeology for Virginia Indians, another covers African American–associated artifacts and archaeology. Also, see What Do Archaeologists Do?, an interactive module about professional archaeologists.



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Virginia Archaeology Month: Every October, Virginia celebrates Virginia archaeology at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites. See this Calendar of Events for activities at venues around Virginia. For more information about archaeology month, contact Dee DeRoche. If you are interested in a copy of this year’s Archaeology Month poster, please contact Dee DeRoche to receive a copy, while supplies last.

Archaeological Site Stewardship: Do you have archaeological sites on your property? Private landowners and local governments can protect clues to our past by being stewards of archaeological properties within their ownership. Follow the link to information about being a good steward.

Projectile Point Types and Lithic Types: Provides information and images of 44 projectile point types applicable to Virginia, and 47 lithic types from Virginia and surrounding states. The point types may be sorted by time period and general shape. Also features a timeline to show point relationships. The lithics may be sorted by type of stone or by general location. (Reference and publication sections are included in the module.)

Threatened Sites Program:  Learn how significant archaeological sites in Virginia that are threatened with destruction may be eligible for financial aid if no other funding is available for their investigation.

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Archaeologists pose with their work, an excavated hut at "Camp Misery," an immense Civil War Union Army camp in Stafford County. (Photo: Taft Kiser)

Collections: DHR maintains a repository in Richmond that contains more than 5 million archaeological artifacts recovered from sites in Virginia. Follow the link to information about services DHR provides at its Curation Facility.

DHR Archaeological Report Series: See a list of archaeological reports available directly from DHR.

Radiocarbon Dates for Virginia Archaeology: See an Excel spreadsheet of Virginia C-14 dates for recovered artifacts. Go to this document for Virginia Radiocarbon Dates References Cited.

DHR-ASV-USFS Archaeological Field Schools: Each year DHR conducts archaeological fields schools in Virginia in partnership with the Archeological Society of Virginia and the US Forest Services' Passport in Time program. If you are curious about the field schools, this video (5 mins./YouTube) highlights a portion of a field school in Northampton County's Eastville on the Eastern Shore. 

Regional Archaeology Programs: Most of the department’s archaeological survey, field, and technical assistance activities are conducted from our three regional offices. If you have questions pertaining to local archaeology, need help identifying or managing an archaeological site, or require educational information or speakers about area archaeology, contact the archaeologist who serves your region:

(See a map to identify your region by county: DHR's archaeological regions.)

Archaeology and Environmental Review: Both state and federal laws and procedures require that significant archaeological sites be identified and considered in a variety of public projects. In fact, more archaeological survey and excavation projects are conducted in Virginia as a result of these laws than for any other purpose. As the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), DHR assists federal and state agencies in meeting their responsibility to take historic properties into account in planning and carrying out their projects. The reports resulting from these efforts to identify, evaluate, and treat historic properties are available in the DHR Archives.

Archaeological Permits: Conducting archaeological survey and excavations on private property does not require permission from the Department of Historic Resources unless it involves graves or cemeteries: 

  • Any archaeological work conducted on human graves—marked or unmarked—requires a permit from DHR.
  • Any archaeological work on state-controlled lands also requires a permit from DHR.
  • Removing objects from underwater historic sites requires a permit from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission
  • Any archaeological work or removal of historic artifacts from federal lands requires an Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) permit from the federal land manager for that property. For information on the ARPA, visit the National Park Service's website.

Registering Archaeological Sites. In order to obtain an official state site number and incorporate information into our archives and mapping systems, archaeological sites must be registered. Professional archaeologists must record archaeological sites in Virginia in DHR's V-CRIS (Virginia Cultural Resource Information System). Non-professionals wishing to record archaeological information may contact the Archaeology Inventory Manager, Jolene Smith.

Updated: 5.9.17