Archaeology is the study of human life in the past, using the objects and remains that people left behind as a way to better understand what they did and thought. This focus on people distinguishes archaeology from paleontology – there are no dinosaurs in archaeology! Because so much of everyday activity is never written about, even today, archaeology allows us to examine aspects of life that can’t be found in old books and documents. By carefully “piecing together” the evidence left in the dirt, we can reconstruct what people in the past were doing. That is why archaeology is not treasure hunting – we don’t value artifacts as commodities to be bought and sold, but as clues that have much to teach us, if we carefully record the information they provide.
But at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, archaeology is more than just the study of dusty old objects (not that there is anything wrong with that!). Here at JPPM you can make your own archaeological “discoveries,” even work side-by-side with staff archaeologists during the annual
Public Archaeology Program or as a volunteer at the
Maryland Archaeological Conservation (MAC) Laboratory. Or you can visit our “FAQ Archaeology” exhibit at the Visitor Center, attend an archaeology-themed event, participate in one of our archaeological education programs, hike a trail to visit archaeological sites, or take a guided tour of the MAC Lab. Whether you want to be a hands-on participant, or “stay clean” while you learn more, Maryland’s State Museum of Archaeology has just the thing for you.
For more information on Archaeology at JPPM, contact Alice Merkel at
Visit our MAC Lab or Public Archaeology pages by clicking on the pictures below.