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Do I need to be an Archaeologist to Join AVAR?

No prior knowledge or experience of archaeology is necessary. We have trained archaeologists on-site to provide guidance in methods and techniques.

Do I need to be a Veteran to Join AVAR?

AVAR welcomes veterans and active duty personnel from all American military branches on our digs. Depending on the project, in some cases we also allow civilian family members. The majority of our participants are veterans with a disability rating for service-related physical and mental health disabilities.

How Often Can I Participate?

In order to allow as many veterans as possible to take part in these events, we restrict participation to one excavation per person, per year. If you have been confirmed for or participated in an excavation, you may place your name on the standby list for additional excavations in that year; if space is available after the recruiting window for that excavation closes you will be considered for an additional excavation.

What Gear Does AVAR Provide?

AVAR provides each participant with a hat, and dig t-shirt. All other tools are provided on site and shared across the team.

What Gear Should I Bring?


  • Water bottle
  • Sunblock
  • Hat/Head Covering
  • Leather work gloves
  • 2-3 sets of dig clothes
    • Shirt/overshirt – layers recommended depending on weather
    • Pants/trousers– Old issue pants are great for digging because they’re rip-stop and comfortable. Jeans are an option but they get waterlogged quickly if it’s even a little damp. Still, plenty of people wear them. If you own them already or are looking to invest, work pants are a good choice.
    • Socks
  • Work boots/hiking boots – Issue boots work great if you have an old pair. You want something sturdy that’s got good grip. They will get muddy and may get dinged up. Steel-toe is not required.
  • Field Bag/Backpack– You’ll live out of this on-site. Just needs to be big enough to hold your jacket, water bottle, possibly lunch, tools, etc.


  • Knee Pads / Kneeling Pad – you’ll be on your knees a fair amount…some use them and some don’t.
  • Waterproof jacket – If it rains you’ll probably keep digging unless there is standing water in the trenches.
  • Wet wipes
  • Personal First Aid kit
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Reading material
  • Pen/Pencils
  • Notebook
  • Camera
  • Flashlight/Torch
  • Flip-flops/shower shoes

Any additional items will be recommended pending the specific dig site, e.g. camping gear is required on some digs.

Do I Need Any Immunizations Before Attending a Dig?

If you have not had a recent tetanus booster, it is advisable to see your doctor for an update.

Do I need to Pay For My Own Food and Accommodation?

On most digs AVAR will cover your food and accommodation; however it is recommended that you bring sufficient funds for personal purchases such as souvenirs, or meals and drinks that you want to purchase on top of what is provided. Each dig will have specific arrangements which will be shared with you when you are considering whether you want to attend.

How are Participants Kept Safe?

On each dig there are staff who are certified in First Aid and Mental Health First Aid. There is a crisis plan developed for each site so that if there are any medical or mental health emergencies, participants are connected to the local services immediately. The health, safety and wellbeing of each participant is paramount to the success of the digs and improving participants’ wellbeing is the aim of the program. Participants are expected to follow any treatment plans whilst on the dig which includes taking medication as prescribed. Alcohol use is not allowed on AVAR projects, both because it distracts from the mission at hand and because some of our participants have struggled with alcohol abuse.

What if the dig gets cancelled?

Because AVAR is not involved with purchasing your travel tickets, regrettably we cannot offer refunds on airfare in the event that an excavation is cancelled. However, we choose to work only with field projects that have been in the field for multiple years, or that are led by directors with excellent track records, in areas where cancellation is extremely unlikely. Project cancellation is very rare in general (remember that years of research and paperwork go into putting each excavation together). We also make arrangements for alternative projects so that if one does fall through at the last minute, we can rapidly shift our participants to another site. If you are travelling to dig with us, you will get to dig.

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