“It’s a massive undertaking”: Fairfax County archaeologists comb through 10,000 years of history


Fairfax County is the most archaeologically-recorded county in the Commonwealth.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WDVM) — Only a handful of archaeologists are responsible for the preservation and interpretation of artifacts on Fairfax County park land that date as far back as 10,000 years.

The county is home to 420 parks and Senior Archaeologist for the Fairfax County Park Authority Christopher Sperling says it has nearly 4,000 registered archaeological sites, making Fairfax County the most archaeologically-recorded county in the Commonwealth.

Staff and volunteers piece together artifacts to learn more about the people who may have called the region home, including African Americans, women and children; populations Sperling says are rarely recorded on paper. “Despite being as transient as Fairfax County can be, it has a deep respect for its past,” said Sperling. “And when we look at that, we look at the entire people of Fairfax. All of them had a story, and for the vast majority of them, they weren’t documented.”

The county’s archaeological research team keeps the public up to date on its findings on its blog called C.A.R.T. Archaeology.

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