Archéo-Québec was founded on January 21, 1999, by some thirty individuals, organizations and institutions with an active interest in Québec archaeology.
Their aim was to pool information and resources, as well as to contribute to the preservation and dissemination of Québec’s archaeological heritage. A consensus was quickly established among the participants, united in their conviction that they should create an action-based structure through which they could plan and co-ordinate their efforts.
Today the Network is a not-for-profit organization with some 100 members, all dedicated to enhancing awareness of Québec archaeology. The organization makes every effort to educate the public about the importance of understanding and safeguarding Québec’s archaeological heritage.
Strong Community Commitment
The Network can rely on the support of numerous partners and collaborators, including the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, which has been a major partner from the very beginning. The organization can also count on the efforts that its small team of volunteers, employees and a few contract workers devote to seeing its mission succeed.!
From the start, Archéo-Québec has been able to mobilize the community by encouraging regional synergies between players in the cultural and tourism fields. Today the Network unites the driving forces in Québec archaeology, representing a reference point, an outreach association and a critical mass of professional skills.
In 2003, the Archéo-Québec network developed a solid strategic plan based on:
- raising public awareness
- developing and positioning archaeology
- creating links between researchers and disseminators
- networking and partnerships
- offering original, high-quality activities
Experiencing archaeology up close
From its founding, Archéo-Québec has developed initiatives that involve public participation and thus help to enhance appreciation of Québec’s archaeological heritage. The organization has become an unequalled reference when it comes to experiencing real-life archaeology in every region of Québec and has created productive partnerships with players in the tourism, educational and municipal fields.
The most remarkable of these initiatives is undoubtedly Archaeology Month, an annual event of national significance taking place from August 1 to 31 throughout Québec. Evolving from a project known as Archéo! Dimanches (2000 to 2004), Archaeology Month has grown from its inauguration in 2005 to an event in which over one hundred members, partners and collaborators come together in a common cause. Though their creative efforts, Archaeology Month has become an unparalleled showcase for real-life archaeology made accessible to all. A true spearhead for the Network, this event is unique in both Québec and Canada, extending its reach every year and developing stronger links with diverse milieus. From August 1 to 31, over one hundred activities are offered throughout Québec. Tens of thousands of people are able to take part in archaeological digs, handle real artifacts, chat with archaeologists and enjoy unique, authentic experiences. Archaeology Month enables visitors go behind the scenes in Québec archaeology. A rich, diversified program lets participants have direct contact with specialists in this scientific field and learn the results of the most recent discoveries before they are recorded in history books.
In addition, since 2010, Archéo-Québec has supported its members in developing archaeology-themed tourist experiences. ArchaeoTours invite the public to discover archaeological heritage and explore archaeological remains in an original way, through fascinating, imaginative experiences.
Anyone for adventure?
Archaeology in the schools
In 2006, Archéo-Québec developed educational kits on Québec archaeology, designed to spark young people’s interest and make them more curious about Québec’s archaeology and history. Each kit offers a turnkey project that has students explore the archaeology and history of their region and allows them to handle real artifacts and to study these ancient objects’ characteristics and functions. These “EduKits” also give students a chance to meet experienced archaeologists who can communicate their enthusiasm and talk about their profession and work.
Archaeology on the Web
Archéo-Québec has been working since 2008 on digitizing artifacts from the Place Royale archaeological reference collection, which is both unique and of national significance.
At present, Archéo-Québec is busy with a large-scale project – setting up the Québec Archaeology Portal, an interactive site devoted to the presentation and discovery of archaeology in Québec. It’s the site you’re visiting right now!
Practical reference tools
Over the years, Archéo-Québec has developed partnerships with a number of Québec municipalities with a view to presenting their local and regional archaeological heritage. In 2012, Archéo-Québec published a reference tool developed in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Act. This guide to archaeological work, intended for Québec municipalities, offers a systematic approach to preventive archaeology and the presentation of archaeological heritage. It proposes concrete, practical and detailed solutions to help town planners, spatial planners and municipal managers deal with the archaeological resources of their region efficiently. The guide also provides numerous examples illustrating various situations that municipalities may experience, as well as procedures to follow in each circumstance.
The guide will be available (in French only) free of charge on the Québec Archaeology Portal in July! Until then, please contact us for further information.
Many other achievements and services
Archéo-Québec makes every effort to attend to the needs of its members and its public, with annual forums, training and coaching on specific questions related to archaeological outreach, and technical support for developing archaeological experiences or Archaeology Month activities. To learn more, take a look at our tools, publications and multimedia resources – or contact us!
Finally, as a result of its success, the Network has also established international partnerships in order to make its actions and the expertise of its members better known. Archéo-Pass, an archaeological outreach organization started in Belgium, was inspired by Archéo-Québec’s operational model.