Started in 1940, the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) is comprised of mostly amateur archaeologists throughout the state who have participated in hundreds of historical archaeological excavations throughout the Commonwealth. In October 2022, the ASV held their annual meeting at the Fort Magruder Inn in Williamsburg, VA. At this meeting, Broadway/Fulks Run native Janice Biller received the award of Virginia Avocational Archaeologist of the Year award for 2022.
Janice has channeled her lifelong interest in archaeology into serving as a founding member of the Massanutten Chapter and an officer many times over. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Janice helped revive archaeology in the Shenandoah Valley by assisting in the formation of the Massanutten Chapter in 1979, following the dissolution of the now defunct Central Shenandoah Valley Chapter of which she became a member in 1970. Each year, Janice brings new members to the Massanutten Chapter and the ASV in large part due to her enjoyment of and enthusiasm for archaeology.
Growing up in rural Rockingham County, Virginia, Janice was highly aware of archaeological sites in her area and the people who have collected artifacts from them. Her knowledge of archaeological sites of all kinds in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River Valley led to her working with archaeologists from James Madison University, where the Virginia Archaeological Research Center (now VDHR) established a Regional Preservation Office (RPO). Through her connections and work, the RPO archaeologists have documented over 100 sites. When the 1985 Flood hit the area, Janice was the first to monitor the impacted sites. Similarly, she was instrumental in bringing the ASV to the Morris Pottery Kiln and has spent countless hours in the field and lab cataloging artifacts from the site.
A current elected Board member who has served several times through the years, Janice embodies the strong commitment at the local and state level that is crucial to the health of the organization. Focusing her efforts primarily on laboratory work, she excels at water screen sorting and research on small finds. She is recognized as highly knowledgeable about buttons, and she is currently studying gastroliths from turkeys to determine their presence in heavy fractions as an indicator of wild turkey consumption at archaeological sites that have no preserved faunal remains. Janice is always willing to help people in the area in identifying and learning more about the archaeological history that is so rich in our beloved Shenandoah Valley. Congratulations, Janice, on a hard-earned and well-deserved honor!