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Volunteer with Cultural Resources


Digging the Past

Cultural Resource Section Staff currently works with close to 90 volunteers who assist with archaeological fieldwork, process and catalogue artifacts, do research, write up findings, and help teach others about community history and archaeology. We don't ask for specific time commitments or previous training, only for an interest in local history and the preservation of our cultural heritage. Our volunteers are an important part of our work, and we are proud to offer them a variety of opportunities to work hands-on with Fairfax history. To volunteer, or for more information, please contact the Cultural Resources Office, at 703-534-3881, or email Charles Gailey.

More Information



Meet Our Volunteers

Maggie Johnson

How long have you been volunteering with Cultural Resources?

Only about two years...

About how often do you volunteer with us? Do you usually come on digs, work in the lab, or otherwise specialize in your volunteering?

Since I’m still working full-time I don’t have the time to volunteer much. I just went this past Saturday with Mike and Bob to the survey at Riverbend. I’m in the certification program and just getting started. I have not done any lab work yet but am doing readings.

What got you interested in volunteering?

I found a projectile point hen I was out at recess in 3rd grade at Occoquan Elementary in    Prince William County and have always been interested in Native Americans in the Northern Virginia area. When I was in college I wanted to study Archaeology but ended up in Biology where I thought I could get a job!

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found or done with us? Your favorite memory?

I’m just getting started but it was a great feeling to find a rhyolite flake last Saturday!

Jim Reid

How long have you been volunteering with Cultural Resources?

Eleven years.

About how often do you volunteer with us? Do you usually come on digs, work in the lab, or otherwise specialize in your volunteering?

I probably average close to three days per month…  In the last year, it's been more lab than field work.

What got you interested in volunteering?

Having been a Foreign Service Officer with tours in Italy and the Middle East, I had visited many famous archaeological sites as a tourist.  When I retired I welcomed the opportunity to actually do some field/lab work… The other volunteers are good to work and socialize with..

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found or done with us? Your favorite memory?

One that comes to mind is the historic site we did years ago at Mason Neck.  There were several gun flints recovered that came from a quarry in France known to have supplied the highest quality ones for flint lock muskets in the 18th century.

Ginger McGovern

How long have you been volunteering with Cultural Resources? 

Since 1994

About how often do you volunteer with us? Do you usually come on digs, work in the lab, or otherwise specialize in your volunteering?

I don't volunteer on a regular schedule. Although I sometimes work in the lab, I usually go on digs or surveys, because I really like tramping through the woods and working outside, which are totally different from my regular job of teaching English.  I also like to imagine how earlier people might have lived on that land, and, of course, there's the possibility of discovering a feature or an artifact.

Do you have a preference between working with Historic or Prehistoric digs/artifacts? If so, why?

Not really.  Each has its rewards.  With Prehistoric, there is the appeal of working with sites that are so old and of possibly finding things that alter our understanding of the settlement of the Americas.  Learning more about Native American culture is interesting to me.  With Historic, one of the appeals is finding stuff more frequently.  Another is being able to fit the archeological findings into what is already known through historical research and thus to have a more complete picture of what went on at the site.

What got you interested in volunteering?

I got interested when I read a newspaper article in 1994 about the discovery of a Clovis point near Tyson's Corner.  The article invited people to participate, and I found that no experience was necessary.  What impressed me then, as now, was that everyone shared his or her knowledge.  I stay interested because being an archeology volunteer fulfills a love of discovery and a curiosity about how people lived in the past, and because I really like the people I work with.  I also feel good about helping to preserve some of the past from the development that is overtaking Northern Virginia.

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