The Program for Avocational Archaeological Certification (PAAC) is a statewide certification program designed to build a community of individuals trained to help record, preserve, and serve as responsible stewards of and advocates for cultural resources in Colorado. PAAC participants have the opportunity to gain experience in many facets of archaeology. The program facilitates the contributions of its participants to research, public service and outreach, preservation and management, and stewardship of the archaeological record of Colorado. PAAC complements but does not replace existing university and governmental training programs.
Since 1978, courses and workshops have been held in over 20 towns and cities across the state of Colorado and over 300 certificates have been granted.
Courses regularly taught over the years have included Archaeological Practice/Legislation & Ethics, Basic Site Surveying/Field Survey, Colorado Archaeology, Historical Archaeology, Lithic Description and Analysis, Ceramic Description and Analysis, Perishable Materials, Research Design and Report Writing, Archaeological Dating Methods, Field and Laboratory Photography, Rock Art Studies, Principles of Excavation, Laboratory Techniques, Geophysics/Remote Sensing, and a number of others. In addition to these courses, PAAC training opportunities have consisted of workshops and seminars covering various topics, field projects demonstrating archaeological survey methods, and practice in archaeological laboratory procedures. Nearly 300 certifications have been awarded to PAAC participants in Colorado.
Beginning in 2017, surveys were sent out to PAAC participants and CAS chapters to evaluate the certification program and reassess its course offerings. This and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic highlighted areas where PAAC could be modernized and improved to meet today's standards and the needs of its participants. In 2023, the PAAC State Coordinator and PAAC Board began to oversee the ongoing restructuring and revitalization effort of the certification program. PAAC classes are set to resume under the newly restructured certification program in Fall 2023!