Virginia archaeology spans more than 16,000 years. There are belowground sites affiliated with prehistoric and contact-era Native American life, colonial and African American history, Civil War battlegrounds, and the history of the 20th century.
The state repository for archaeological collections is DHR headquarters in Richmond, where there are millions of artifacts housed that were recovered from nearly a thousand sites in Virginia. DHR’s mission is to care for these collections.
We do so through an Archaeological Collections Management Program that encompasses artifact preservation, conservation, cataloging, long-term curation, exhibition services, and technical assistance.
To learn more about some of this conservation activity, see our Spotlight On DHR Collections, where we post occasional blogs about conserving select items in our Collections.
DHR offers conservation consultation, long-term curation agreements, and technical advice. Special arrangements can be made with the agency’s curator for loans to qualified institutions for research and exhibit.
DHR also provides educational opportunities such as class tours of the DHR conservation lab and collections facility. Additionally, teachers can borrow an ARK (Archaeology Resource Kit) for use in the classroom, accompanied by a Teacher’s Guide to Virginia Archaeology. There is no charge for the loan of the ARKs.
For further information and scheduling, please contact Laura Galke, Chief Curator, Richmond, (804) 482-6441, State Archaeology Division.
DHR Archaeological Collections Access and Usage
DHR State Collections Management Standards (Rev. 6.16.11)
Division of State Archaeology, Collections:
Regional Archaeology Programs:
Most of the department’s archaeological survey, field, and technical assistance activities are conducted from our regional offices. If you have questions pertaining to local archaeology, need help identifying or managing an archaeological site, or need educational information or speakers about area archaeology, contact the archaeologist who serves your region:
(To identify your region by county, go to this map: DHR’s archaeological regions.)
Learn how these drawings of a “Pikeman” (left) and “Musketeer” have helped to identify artifacts now in the DHR Collections. Click on either image for information.
Updated March 22, 2023