Archaeology in the community

An interview with Alexandra Jones, PhD

By Matt Nickelson

Dr. Jones is an adjunct professor at UB who has taught cultural anthropology for the past three years. Dr. Jones is also a Chesapeake archaeologist specializing on post-emancipation proclamation African-Americans. One of Dr. Jones local excavations was at Cabin John Park, which runs along the Potomac River. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Dr. Jones. Our conversation revolved around

her non-profit organization called Archaeology in the Community (AITC). While she was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley she participated in many community archaeology events. Thinking of her home back in Washington, D.C., she realized nothing like this program was offered in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Archaeology in the Community focuses on the increase of community awareness through public events, providing archaeology enrichment to all students, providing professional development to college students interested in pursuing careers in archaeology, and partnering with the community to implement archaeological programs.

Dr. Jones explained that there are three program tiers AITC is

involved in: youth, community, and professional development. The youth program includes a young archaeologist club, archaeologist for a day, and a mini archaeology camp. The community development includes a Day of Archaeology Festival, which will be held at the Dumbarton House in Georgetown on July 16th from 10 am-3 pm.

Another community program the non-profit coordinates is the Postcard Project Ask an Archaeologist. Students in grades 3-5 are asked to pose questions to archaeologists. Then, the postcards are sent to archaeologists around the country who answer and return the messages. There is also a blog called “Digging into Archaeology.” The blog is a space where everyone can voice their

thoughts, concerns, and experiences in archaeology. AITC also has a video series called “The Dig.”

The professional development in archaeology includes a college workshop series. The workshops focus on archaeological methods, mentoring, resume writing, and career preparation. One of the highlights of these workshops is their ability to connect

students to archaeological resources and networks both regionally and nationally. AITC offers internships for students looking to gain experience in public archaeology. Dr. Jones proudly explained the Archaeological Landscape Photography of Washington, D.C. Area Program. This program is free to college students and allows them to create and exhibit their photographs of Washington, D.C.’s rich archaeological history through digital photography.

For more information about Dr. Jones and AITC, please visit AITC’s website is a great place to find information about archaeology in the Mid-Atlantic region and build wonderful connections.


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