Interpreting Archeology: A Shared Competency for Archeologists and Interpreters Working Together



Archeologists and interpreters will work together to provide effective and accurate interpretation of archeological information and resources to the public.


Interpreting Archeology is a “shared-competency” training module. Archeologists and interpreters have the opportunity to work together in the skills and abilities needed to carry out effective interpretation of archeological resources.

Archeology is the humanistic and scientific study of people over time. Interpretation provides opportunities to inform park visitors about how and what has been learned from archeological study concerning people in the past and what meanings and significance they hold for visitors in the present. Together, archeologists and interpreters can help to ensure protection of the archeological record for future generations.

The audience for this shared competency is interpreters, education specialists, and archeologists, all of whom are responsible for sharing archeological information and meanings with a broad public.

What Success Looks Like

Archeologists and interpreters will:

  • Take training together in the effective interpretation of archeological resources
  • Communicate why the NPS conducts archeology
  • Identify the foundational components of each other’s disciplines, including their purpose, philosophy, principles, and techniques
  • Apply knowledge and skills to collaborate on interpretive projects
  • Synthesize scientific, historical, and cultural information and communicate it to the public in an accurate and interpretive way
  • Connect their park’s archeological story to other park and regional stories
  • Present multiple perspectives on past human behavior and activities
  • Create opportunities for audiences to form intellectual and emotional connections to the meanings and significance of archeological resources
  • Use audience knowledge to identify potential points of interpretive meaning and relevance related to archeology

Additional Information


The following training modules support learning for this competency. To receive credit, sign up on DOI Talent. Users may access the training modules at any time.


How can you use this information to help you better interpret archeological resources in your park?

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