Interpretation for Archeologists   1. Introduction   Distance Learning

Format

We hope you find Interpretation for Archeologists: A Guide for Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities both informative and fun to use! Some points to help you get started:

  • The guide consists of nine sections, including this introductory section and a final section of resources. Each section has a focus, such as the interpretive process or issues of sensitivity.
  • If you know little about interpretation, we suggest that you go through all sections in the order they are presented.
  • The time it takes to work through the entire guide depends on how much knowledge you wish to extract. A basic approach involves reading all the text, linking to and reading the case studies, and exploring all the links in each section. It will take longer to pursue the developmental opportunities needed to gain competency in the joint course of study.
  • Throughout the sections are Use What You Know boxes with questions to help assess your knowledge and understanding.
  • The web addresses provided in Case Study, Fun Fact, and For Your Information boxes are current at the date of guide publication but may change beyond the control of the NPS. Also note that the NPS Internet policy does not permit linking to commercial web sites (URL that ends in .COM). Therefore, this guide only links to web sites of educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies.
  • Some sections include in-text activities, links to on-line activities, or case studies. These activities further develop some or all of the concepts or methods discussed in that section. Where possible, the case studies represent work undertaken within a national park.
  • The term "park" is used here in a broad sense to include any site with archeological materials. Other places under the "park" umbrella include but are not limited to landmarks, sites, state and regional parks, nature preserves, museums, and historic houses.
  • The term "public" or "visitor" refers to the people who may participate in the interpretive opportunities. These words also refer to a broad range of audiences including but not limited to on-site visitors, exhibit-goers, web site users, wayside text readers, self-guided tour takers, tours, school groups, families, volunteers, and Elderhostel participants.
  • As a final note, the spelling of "archeology" and its derivatives follows the conventions of the Federal government. The spelling commonly used in academia and in publications for the public, "archaeology," is used by most of the non-federal resources found in this guide.

Navigating the Guide

This guide is designed to be user-friendly. The top of each page is clearly marked with the title and number of the section you are in, and the title of the currently active subsection appears in bold above the text.

Some of the features of this online guide that crosscut or are present in all sections are:

  • A navigation column with all the section titles. It allows you to quickly jump between and within sections in order to match the course to your current needs.
  • A sub-menu on the navigation column that appears for the current section. The sub-menu provides active links to all the sub-sections, as well as to online activities and case studies, and the section bibliography and resources.
  • Left- and right-arrows at the bottom of each page. These allow you to move through the entire course from beginning to end, or through an entire section.
  • A print version of each section. Quick reference printable guides are included for specific elements of some sections.

For Your Information

Please send questions or comments about this guide to Barbara Little in care of the DCA emailbox.

References

Portions of this chapter were adapted from:

Childs, S. Terry and Eileen Corcoran
2000 Managing Archeological Collections—Technical Assistance, Archeology Program, National Park Service, Washington, D.C.
National Park Service
2000 Effective Interpretation of Archeological Resources: The Archeology-Interpretation Shared Competency Course of Study, Final Draft.

MJB/EJL