Visitors will be able to discover what it's like to be an archaeologist at Historic St. Mary's City during Tidewater Archaeology Days on July 31 and Aug. 1.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, visitors are invited to work on an archaeological excavation at the Print House site. Chief Archaeologist Tim Riordan and Historic St. Mary's City Field School students are uncovering a 1670s building that appears to have burned during the same fire that destroyed Smith's Ordinary, an inn that has been re-created. These excavations have yielded objects from the 1650s through the 1670s.

Historic St. Mary's City was the first capital of Colonial Maryland.

Tours of the research laboratory are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. each day. Archaeological curator Silas Hurry will show some of the pieces that have been unearthed at St. Mary's City and explain how artifacts are cared for and identified.

At 2 p.m., Henry Miller, director of research, will offer a walking tour of the Town Center. As they visit re-created structures, including Cordea's Hope (a storehouse) and Smith's Ordinary, participants will learn how researchers use historical and archaeological evidence to reconstruct the past. Organizers caution that archaeology can be hot and dirty work, so visitors should dress accordingly and be sure to bring something to drink.

Admission to Tidewater Archaeology Days and other museum exhibits is $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $3.50 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6. For more information, call 240-895-4990 or 800-762-1634, or visit the Web site