Archaeology Programs

Research & Collections

At Montpelier, YOU can discover the past.

The Montpelier Archaeology Department has a number of opportunities for you to participate in discovering and interpreting the lives of those who lived and worked at James Madison's Montpelier. From professional training to participating in week long programs to volunteering on weekends, there are opportunities for individuals from all ages and walks of life.

LEARN Archaeology Expedition Programs

We are one of the only departments in the country that provides week long opportunities for the public to work side-by-side with archaeologists on excavations. Since 2006, our Expedition Programs have made the public first, giving them a chance to experience every element of the archaeological process, from locating sites to excavating to analysis and reconstruction. We have an opportunity for everyone:

Locate (Metal Detecting Expeditions): These expeditions are for Metal Detectorists looking to learn about archaeology and to detect on Montpelier's property! 

Excavate (Excavation Expeditions): Work side-by-side with our staff, excavating, sifting, and digging on Montpelier's property to uncover James Madison's past!

Analyse (Lab Analysis Expeditions): Analyze the ceramics we uncover in the field through identification and mending, and learn about iron conservation with our lab staff.

Recreate (Log Cabin Workshop Expedition): Help us recreate the sites we've excavated using the original construction techniques to build log cabins, timber frame homes, and other elements of the Montpelier landscape!

Visit the LEARN Archaeology Expedition Program website for the schedule and more details.

Montpelier Archaeology Field School

Since 1987, Montpelier has hosted archaeology fields schools, training college students in archaeological methods. Currently, our department runs two four-week field schools each summer, accredited through James Madison University and SUNY-Plattsburgh. To learn more, visit our Field School webpage.

Montpelier Archaeology Internships

Each year, we have 3-4 interns working and learning with our staff. Chosen from attendees at our field school, Archaeology Interns receive hands-on training in archaeological field methods, work alongside the public in our Expedition Programs, and gain experience in lab methods, database management, and research. You can learn more about our Internships here.


Our Department would be nothing without our lab volunteers. Coming mostly from the local area, volunteers provide a unique range of skillsets to our department, helping our lab staff process artifacts and keep the archaeology lab in working order. If you're interested in volunteering, learn more here.

For more information about how to participate in this program, please contact Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration, at or (540) 672-2728 x 160.

Archaeology Expedition member filling out paper work during dig.

Expeditions members digging up a ceramic artifact.