5    Archeology & Interpretation



Module II

Archeology & Interpretation
Subject Matter Training


2 online training programs



§    Basic methods and techniques

§    Identification of multiple perspectives

§    Interpretive media and park archeological themes


Lessons to Learn

§    How archeology and interpretation meet the NPS mission

§    How to identify universal concepts and interpretive themes

§    Developing compelling stories

§    How archeological interpretation encourages stewardship



An archeologist and interpreter ponder a site 

Module II: Subject Matter Training

This section presents an overview of the topics and information presented in Module II: Subject Matter Training. The subject matter training course is to be taken by individuals through two online, interactive, distance learning programs developed by the National Park Service.


This module is designed to provide archeologists with information on the basic methods and techniques of interpretation and to provide interpreters with the basic methods and techniques of archeological research.


The two online training programs are:

Archeology for Interpreters:  A Guide to Knowledge of the Resource
Interpretation for Archeologists:  A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (http://www.cr.nps.gov/aad/IFORA/index.htm)

Each of these courses of study require approximately 20 hours of time to complete, depending on each participant’s prior level of training and current knowledge of the respective subject matter.

Lessons to Learn

Both archeology and public interpretation have long histories in the National Park Service, yet each discipline has largely developed independently of the other.  This module will describe how both disciplines help fulfill the Park Service mission, how to identify universal concepts and interpretive themes, develop compelling stories, and how interpretation encourages stewardship of cultural resources.

The Role of Archeology

The National Park Service is steward of a diverse cultural legacy. From cliff dwellings in the Southwest to Civil War battlefields in the East, this legacy represents a continuum of American heritage—its people, places, objects, and traditions. Archeologists throughout the National Park system conduct research on a range of sites that continually produce new information about our national past. An essential part of the archeological effort is ensuring that visitors, thieves, erosion, and other forces do not disturb or destroy archeological resources.

The Role of Interpretation

The public experiences the vast resources of our National Parks through the work of interpreters. Whether through guided tours, costumed interpreters, wayside signs, brochures and maps, or some other means, the art and science of interpretation brings information about the past into the present to provide visitors with opportunities to make emotional and intellectual connections with park resources. Interpreters accomplish this task by identifying universal concepts and developing interpretive themes on our nation’s history that are presented to the public through a variety of media. 




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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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