PAAC Commonly Asked Questions
- How do I join PAAC?
- How much do classes cost?
- How do I enroll for classes?
- How can I find out about classes in my area?
- Where are classes held?
- Are PAAC course materials available in advance?
- Do I have to be a member of the CAS or CHS to join PAAC?
- Do I get to dig or do other field work in PAAC?
- Why are some classes squeezed into a single weekend?
- Is PAAC class credit transferable to college/university programs?
- What will a PAAC certificate do for me?
- Can I legally collect artifacts?
For answers to new or less-frequently-asked questions, contact the State PAAC Coordinator.
How do I join PAAC?
Joining PAAC is simple and free: just fill out the PAAC Candidate Application form, send it to the State PAAC Coordinator, and you're in! Keep in mind that by signing the application form you are agreeing to abide by the PAAC Code-of-Ethics. A materials fee is assessed when you enroll for any PAAC class, but is not due with the application. Applications also are available at each class, and from the State PAAC Coordinator.
How much do classes cost?
A nominal materials fee of $12.00 is charged for each class, payable to the Colorado Historical Society at the time of enrollment. Also, since class locations are arranged by local groups such as chapters of the Colorado Archaeological Society, there may be an additional small fee added to the $12 materials fee to cover any local expenses such as room rental.
How do I enroll for classes?
Enrollment for each class is handled by a Local PAAC Coordinator who lives in or near the city where the class will be held. You can enroll for a class anytime after the announcement of the six-month PAAC class schedule (roughly June 7 and December 7). However, you must contact the local coordinator no later than ten calendar days prior to the beginning of each class, because the class may be cancelled if fewer than ten people are enrolled by that time. In some cases you may be able to enroll immediately prior to the start of a class, but you must still contact the Local PAAC Coordinator and let him/her know you would like to attend.
How can I find out about classes in my area?
Every six months the State PAAC Coordinator produces a schedule of classes held throughout Colorado covering the January-June and July-December periods. Class schedules also are available at each class, or from the State PAAC Coordinator, and are usually published in chapter newsletters of the Colorado Archaeological Society.
Where are classes held?
Currently, PAAC classes are held in thirteen cities around Colorado (subject to change): Alamosa, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Cortez, Craig, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Montrose and Pueblo. All class locations are arranged locally; contact your Local PAAC Coordinator to find out exactly when and where the next class will be held in your area.
Are PAAC course materials available in advance?
Portions of the handout packet for each course can be found on-line, namely the Syllabus, Bibliography, and Glossary. The syllabus can be viewed by clicking on the appropriate course title on our PAAC Class Information page. On the same web page as the syllabus is a link to the bibliography and glossary for that course. Also, a complete set of handouts for every course may be available on a loan basis in the various cities and towns where PAAC courses are taught. Inquire with the Local PAAC Coordinator regarding the availability of these materials.
Do I have to be a member of the Colorado Archaeological Society or the Colorado Historical Society to join PAAC?
No, membership in these or any other organization is not required. Any citizen is eligible to join PAAC so long as you fill out the PAAC Candidate Application form, and agree to follow the PAAC Code-of-Ethics.
Do I get to dig or do other field work in PAAC?
Archaeological excavation (a "dig") is not a formal part of PAAC training, although a class in Principles of Archaeological Excavation is offered (no field work is involved in the class). There is a half day session of field training included in the Basic Site Surveying Techniques class and, each summer, the State PAAC Coordinator supervises a summer training survey during which instruction in site discovery, recording and mapping methods is given. Participation on the summer training survey is limited to PAAC volunteers who have completed the Basic Site Surveying Techniques class. All other formal PAAC training is done in the classroom, although participants are strongly encouraged to volunteer on other professionally-supervised field projects (PAAC credit may be gained for such volunteer efforts on surveys and for lab work, but not for excavation projects).
Why are classes outside the Boulder-Denver-Fort Collins area squeezed into a single weekend?
Currently, the State PAAC Coordinator is the only teacher in PAAC, and he must cover all classes for the entire state of Colorado. Thus, scheduling flexibility is limited at the present time.
Is PAAC class credit transferable to college/university programs?
College credit is currently not available with PAAC classes.
What will a PAAC certificate do for me?
PAAC certification is a formal recognition of the achievement of some level of technical training--it is not a substitute for a degree from a college/university program, nor is it a license to dig or perform other unsupervised archaeological tasks. However, the professional archaeological community is generally aware of the thoroughness of PAAC training, and often accept PAAC certified volunteers and field assistants for their survey, excavation or lab projects. Other PAAC participants view certification in terms of personal achievement, i.e. a worthy goal to be reached. Finally, the Colorado Historical Society considers the certification process as an opportunity to build a core group of demonstrably trained volunteers to help preserve, record and protect Colorado's vanishing cultural resources.
Can I legally collect artifacts?
Unauthorized, undocumented collection of artifacts such as arrowheads and pottery fragments is not legal on public lands and, more importantly, is both unethical (it is a violation of the PAAC Code-of-Ethics) and destructive to the resource regardless of land ownership. While artifact collection is technically legal on private property with the permission of the landowner (except items associated with human graves), the practice is discouraged for the reasons mentioned above. PAAC training is designed not only to educate the public on proper documentation methods which archaeologists use when collecting artifacts from the surface or in excavations, but also to inform PAAC participants about the kind of valuable cultural information which is lost when undocumented collecting has occurred at a site.