Programs & Events at Alexandria Archaeology

Below are some popular programs that are held each year. Check our calendar for site tours, dig days, bike rides, lectures and more.

Page updated on Jun 29, 2018 at 2:35 PM

Stay Informed!

Stay Informed and check the calendar. Be the first to learn about our popular events. Read the Newsletter, become a Facebook fan, join FOAA, and sign up for eNews. October is  Virginia Archaeology Month. 

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Archaeology Adventure Lessons

Schedule an Adventure Lesson, designed for grades 3 to 12. The hands-on activities incorporate actual artifacts excavated from archaeological sites in Alexandria to examine various topics associated with the development of the City. The Adventure Lessons are given by appointment, for a small fee, for school groups, scouts, birthday parties and other small groups.

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Art Activated and Arts Safari

Alexandria Archaeology joins the Torpedo Factory Arts Center for two artistic events. Art Activated takes place in September, during the Alexandria Festival of the Arts. Arts Safari is held each year in October, during Archaeology Month. Bring your children to the museum for an artistic activity relating to archaeology in Alexandria. Children (and interested adults) can create drawings based on the design of real artifacts at these free programs.

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Bike and Walking Tours

Discover Alexandria’s diverse cultural history on a bicycle ride with Alexandria Archaeology. Rides feature segments of the Alexandria Heritage Trail. Past themes have included Civil War Defenses of Washington, African American sites, and Historic Preservation. Bike rides are usually held twice a year, on National Trails Day in June and during Virginia Archaeology Month in October. Also, join us for occasional walking tours on such topics as African American archaeology, the Civil War, and the history of the Waterfront.

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Family Dig Days

Sign up early for our most popular program. At Family Dig Days, join archaeologists for a tour of the current site, followed by an opportunity to assist in the process of screening the excavated dirt to locate even the smallest artifacts. A small fee is charged for this event. Dates are usually posted on our calendar in April or May, for Dig Days held throughout the summer.

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Field School

The “Historical Archaeology Field Program” is offered by Alexandria Archaeology and The George Washington University under GWU’s Summer Sessions & Special Programs. This ten-day introductory course in field and laboratory methods conducted by City of Alexandria archaeologists in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, is designed to introduce students to archaeological basics and the uses of archaeology for the public. Students learn the components of public archaeology while gaining experience in the process of site excavation, laboratory work, and public interpretation of field and archival data. Topics discussed include collections management, site preservation, public interpretation, historic park planning, ethics and professional responsibility. For students in Anthropology, American Studies, History, Historic Preservation, Museum Studies, Museum Education, or for anyone interested in experiencing first-hand the archaeological discovery process. College students should register through the university.

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George Washington Birthday Parade

Join the Friends of Alexandria Archaeology as we form a marching unit in the George Washington Birthday Parade, or cheer us on from the sidelines. Past Archaeology parade units have included floats, choreographed marching routines, antique cars, and dogs in tri-cornered hats and “I Dig Alexandria Archaeology” t-shirts. Marchers in our unit are invited to the museum for a post-parade party.

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Throughout the year, Alexandria Archaeology hosts a variety of informative lectures on archaeology in Alexandria and the region. Informal lectures called Java Jolts are held on Saturday mornings in the Museum. Lectures for larger audiences are held at the Lyceum or other venues, and may be co-hosted by the Alexandria Historical Society or other museums. Past lectures have included such topics as Freedmen’s Cemetery, UNESCO and the looting problem, George Washington’s Distillery, and the pottery of Henry Piercy.

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Ornament Decorating Workshop

Bring your children to the Museum after the Scottish Christmas Walk, to decorate “cookie dough” ornaments in the shape of artifacts from the Alexandria Archaeology Collection. This free event is usually held the first Saturday in December.

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Site Tours

The public is invited to observe archaeologists at work, and to learn first-hand the steps to excavating a site. Check our  calendar – tours are usually scheduled during archaeology month, or when the excavation schedule allows.

Summer Campe

Summer Camp

At the Alexandria Archaeology Summer Camp, teenagers, age 12-16, help Alexandria’s City archaeologists excavate a real archaeological site. Learn professional excavating, recording, and artifact processing methods. Uncover Alexandria’s buried past while protecting the City’s valuable historic resources.

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Volunteer Recognition Party

Volunteers and members of the  Friends of Alexandria Archaeology are honored each year. Join us for food, fun and awards.