Howard A. MacCord, Sr.

 Complied by: Wm Jack Hranicky RPA

The Father of Virginia Amateur Archaeology

Howard A. MacCord died in November, 2008 at the age of 93. He practiced archaeology for over 50 years and influenced and inspired many individuals to become either professional or amateur archaeologists in Virginia and neighboring areas. He excavated over 300 sites, published over 200 papers and monographs, and held office in numerous archaeological organizations. He was active in all aspects of the operation of the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) and helped the society become what it is today. Thus, he can easily be called the father of Virginia amateur archaeology.

He worked on archaeological sites all over the world, but he is best known for his work in the Woodland period of the Middle Atlantic area of the U.S. While he spent many hours researching prehistoric societies, he was always anxious to do fieldwork. Hundreds of individuals obtained field experience working on his excavations. The site web builder knew him for nearly 50 years and my brand of archaeology in working with professional and amateur archaeologists, collectors, and the general public is based on MacCordism. I only teamed with him on one site, the Fisher site, which we excavated in the 1970s. This work was published by the Archaeological Society of Maryland (ASM). If I may say so, my best effort in working with him was that I washed and cataloged the entire excavated human burial population (over 100 skeletons) from the Trigg site in Tazewell County, Virginia. Otherwise, one of the best ways to tell the MacCord story is by using his words, which are presented in his Credo.

Available from:

If you want to practice amateur archaeology, read this publication...MacCord tells the prehistoric world how to be an "amateur archaeology."

If you are interesting in prehistory and want to get involved:

  • Join a state archaeological society
  • Volunteer in excavations
  • Build a personal archaeology library
  • Attend state and local meetings on archaeology.