2  Overview of the Program



“Archaeology interpreted for the public is not simple translation.”


-Barbara Little, 2003






“The public benefits of archaeology depend in a very basic way on the success of archaeology as a research field.”

-William D. Lipe, 2002





This training program was developed for the National Park Service’s shared competency program in archeological interpretation.  The shared competency is: Archeologists and interpreters work together to provide effective and accurate interpretation of archeological information and resources to the public.



Why is this training program necessary?


Our national parks contain numerous and extensive archeological resources and receive millions of visitors each year. Yet because archeology and interpretation have developed as different disciplines with different goals,

  Archeologists often lack sufficient training in presenting their findings to the public in a meaningful, comprehensible manner; and

  Interpreters often lack sufficient knowledge of archeological methods, theories, and up-to-date findings to present this information to the public.

Thus, the National Park Service developed a shared competency training program in archeological interpretation. The 4-course program presented in this manual is intended to help archeologists and interpreters fulfill the shared competency goals.



What are the goals of this training program?


 Although this program is designed for archeologists and interpreters to work together, the distinctive nature of each respective field means that archeologists will need to learn different things than interpreters and vice versa. Thus, the program was designed with these differences in mind:


 For archeologists

 Learn about the purpose, philosophy, and techniques of interpretation

Understand tools that will provide visitors with the opportunity to make intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings and significance of archeological resources and their stories

 Describe the archeologist’s obligation to provide public interpretation and educational opportunities to the public

 Emphasize the archeologist’s responsibility to work with interpreters

For interpreters

  Learn about archeological methods

   Understand how archeological interpretations are made

   Describe ways to encourage concern for the preservation and protection of archeological resources

   Emphasize the interpreter’s responsibility to work with archeologists to facilitate accurate and meaningful interpretations




CHRS home

An Inspiring Guide

I. Introduction

II. Overview of the Program

III. Meeting the Mission

IV. The Public Meaning of Archeological Heritage

V. Archeology and Interpretation

VI. Study Tour of Parks

VII. Interpretive Products

VIII. Credits

IX. References

X. Resources and Links


National Park Service  - Archeology and Ethnography Program  - Distance Learning

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