Family Dig Days and Archaeology Workshops

This popular program begins with an introduction to the history and archaeology of the Shuter’s Hill Site, followed by a site tour, and finally with participants gathering around the screens to sift through excavated soil collecting artifacts. The bags of artifacts are sent to the laboratory in the Museum for processing, and become a permanent part of the archaeological record.

Page updated on Mar 24, 2018 at 3:35 PM

The Public is invited to Dig Alexandria!

Sign up for a Family Dig Day or Archaeology Workshop! Dig Days are an opportunity to take a tour of the site, talk with City Archaeologists, and screen soil form the site for artifacts. Archaeology Workshops take a closer look at specific aspects of the site and archaeology process before helping City Archaeologists screen soil from the site.  

Dig Day Introduction Site Tour  Screening Participants learn about the artifacts they found in the screens 

Left to right: Dig Day introduction; site tour; screening; participants learn about the artifacts they found in the screens.

2018 Dates

  • June 16 -- Family Dig Day
  • June 28 -- Archaeology Workshop: Landscape. 
  • August 11 -- Family Dig Day
  • September 22 -- Archaeology Workshop: Ceramics
  • October 6 -- Family Dig Day
  • October 20 -- Archaeology Workshop: Context

2018 Information

  • Dig Days are from 1:30 to 3 pm on the above Saturdays.
  • $10/person. Fee is non-refundable. Space is limited and reservations are required.
  • Individuals and families are welcome. Children under sixteen years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult.
  • Upon receipt of full payment slots are secured and confirmation and additional information will be emailed closer to the event. 
  • Due to the popularity of this event Dig Days fill quickly and we ask that participants sign up for only one session per season.  
  • See below for more information on making your reservation.
  • Alexandria Archaeology is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria and complies with the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An individual with a disability who wishes a reasonable accommodation should call the Museum at 703.746.4399 a week before their reserved Family Dig Day.

General Information

  • Dig Days are held several times a year between May and October. For this summer’s schedule, please see the section above, or view our Calendar.
  • All the necessary equipment will be furnished, but please wear comfortable clothes, boots or sturdy closed-toe shoes (no sandals), and bring a water bottle.
  • Dig Days are presented in three parts, beginning with an introduction to the history and archaeology of the Shuter’s Hill Site, followed by a site tour, and finally gathering around the screens to sift through excavated soil collecting artifacts. The bags of artifacts will be sent to the laboratory in the Museum for processing.
  • Each Archaeology Workshop takes on a new theme related to the archaeology process and specific aspects of the Shuter’s Hill Site, before ending the workshop sifting through excavated soil. The bags of artifacts will then be sent to the laboratory in the Museum for processing. 
  • The Shuter's Hill site has a long and varied history. The oldest artifacts found relate to early Native American occupation and include a quartzite hand axe, quartzite projectile points, and pottery fragments. Other artifacts found include bottles, rusted cans, broken china, car parts, and a 1920 Mercury dime. The remnants of several buildings have also been uncovered. These structures date before, during, and after the Civil War.

Reservations Are Required

To accommodate the large demand for the popular Family Dig Day program, the following policy has been established:

  • Reservations are $10.00 per person and may be made online for your selected session. If a session is filled, you may call 703.746.4399 or contact us by email to be added to a waitlist. 
  • Walk-ins can NOT be accommodated. Space is limited. Everyone’s name must appear on the reservation list.

Guided Site Tours

  • Guided Site Tours are held on occasion. The public is invited to observe archaeologists at work, and to learn first-hand the steps to excavating a site. Meet the City Archaeologists and trained volunteers for one-hour guided tours. Learn about the site’s history and the artifacts. Site tours are free and open to the public, but reservations are required. See the Calendar for this year’s schedule, and call 703.746.4399 to sign up.

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