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Original posting: http://today.cofc.edu/2015/05/01/discovery-of-rare-key-helps-unlock-dixie-plantations-storied-past/

1 May 2015 | 12:00 pmBy:
Contact: Maureen Hays, associate dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 843.953.0760

Senior Ben Widder  was participating in an archeological field school at Dixie Plantation when he discovered a key dating to the early 1700s.

Some archaeologists dig for years before unearthing a significant artifact.

But College of Charleston student Ben Widder had a bit of beginner’s luck during an archaeology dig last year at the College’s Dixie Plantation, located along the Stono River near Hollywood, S.C.

The senior anthropology major and archaeology minor was participating in his first archaeological field school when he unearthed a key dating to the early 1700s.

“I was using my trowel and I heard the clink of metal hitting metal,” recalls Widder. “I scraped around it pretty quickly when the ring of the key became exposed, and seconds later the tip of the trowel lifted the ring up, exposing the rest of the key.”

“I found a key!” Widder shouted, as his classmates and professor came running.

Maureen Hays, professor of anthropology and associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, says the key was probably made before 1707 when a parsonage house for Saint Paul’s Church was constructed on the property. American Indian groups burned the parsonage during the Yamasee War (1715-1717).

“I believe this is a rare find,” says Hays, who is co-director of the archaeological field school along with Kim Pyszka ’92, an assistant professor of anthropology at Auburn University at Montgomery.

The key before it was restored by the Charleston Museum.

Occupied for thousands of years, the site of what is now Dixie Plantation is historically, archaeologically and ecologically significant. The 881-acre property was bequeathed to the College of Charleston Foundation in 1995 by the late conservationist, ornithologist, and artist John Henry Dick.

In recent years, archaeologists digging at Dixie have discovered hundreds of artifacts, including ceramic sherds, tobacco pipe stems and a Spanish coin.

Archeologists have also located the foundation of the old parsonage house. And now, thanks to Widder’s discovery, they have a key associated with the parsonage.

But finding the key was only the first step. The ferrous artifact was heavily oxidized and required months of careful restoration at the hands of archaeologists from the Charleston Museum.

The key after restoration using electrolysis.

Ron Anthony, one of the museum archaeologists who restored the key using electrolysis, has been teaching at the College as an adjunct professor since 1990.

“It’s a process whereby chlorides locked within the artifact are purged from the artifact via electricity or chemical means,” explains Anthony. “This is a common, safe way to conserve any metal artifact which oxidizes.”

As for Widder, he was just happy to be the one to make the discovery. “If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. I just happened to be assigned to that spot.”

 

“Uncovering Early Islam: The Role of Archaeology”

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 17 April 2015 | 5:13 pm — 

Islam in Archaeology

ARCHClubLecture

This story is reproduced from its original posting the School of Science and Mathematics blog 

Dr. Harris’ core research will allow for quantitive and qualitative analysis of coastal change in response to varied sea-level rise scenarios across a complex landscape in the North Euboean Gulf of Central Greece. Data gathered, analyzed, and interpreted through this project will also inform several major Bronze Age archaeological sites about their submerged paleolandscapes along the Southwestern edge of the gulf. The research site covers the marine portions of the ancient sites of Kynos, Mitrou, and Halai and from modern Arkitsa to the Theologos Peninsula about two hours north of Athens. The derived scientific products and interpretations will not only inform the maritime aspects of the terrestrial sites, but will also assist in the identification of submerged sites before, during and after the significant periods of seafaring in the Bronze Age along this major seaway. While many studies of the submerged portions of Greece focus strictly on submerged cities, specific shipwrecks, or the deep sea, this collaborative project will form a coherent regional investigation focused on paleolandscapes and coastal changes throughout antiquity. The broader context of the study will influence disciplinary thoughts on the preservation of ancient landscapes, of coastal deposits, and of submerged archaeological sites along an important ancient maritime seaway.

Submerged paleolandscGreece 2apes hold a record of antiquity that informs us about past coastal conditions and human adaptations. Understanding the influence of how variable local sea-level changes have influenced the preservation potential of submerged coastal systems is crucial to understanding these interactions. Working with host faculty and two other Greek universities, we will map the seafloor between Theologos and Arkitsa Greece to answer questions of preservation potential in a natural experiment of differential sea-level change in this actively tectonic and rich Bronze Age maritime region.   The scholar will bring expertise in coastal dynamics and advanced seafloor mapping techniques while the host institution provides expertise in understanding ancient sea-level histories in this region.

5th Annual SC State Parks Archaeology Conference

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 19 February 2015 | 4:34 pm — 

Call for Papers -2015 (2)

News from the Trench: Archaeology Club Meeting

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 5 February 2015 | 1:27 pm — 

The Archaeology Club will be having their first social event tonight at 5:30pm at King Street Cookies (379 King Street).

Come and join us for some good company and conversation with your fellow archaeology enthusiasts, as well as hear about some exciting events we have planned for this semester!

Lowcountry Archaeological Field School this Summer!

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 2 February 2015 | 7:15 pm — 

COURSE: ANTH 493 Archaeological Field School, 8 s.h. of credit
DATES: Monday, May 18, 2015 through Thursday, June 2, 2015 (7 weeks)
TIME: 7:30 a.m. – 2:30/3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
PLACES: Dill Property (James Island), Manigault House (downtown), and one of the state parks (yet to be determined)
INSTRUCTORS: Dr. Barbara Borg (CofC), Ms. Martha Zierden (Charleston Museum) and Mr. Ron Anthony (Charleston Museum).  Other archaeologists from the SC state parks system will also be working with us when we are working on one of their sites.
TRANSPORTATION: Students usually drive their own cars or arrange to ride with other students.  If the state park we work in is farther away than CharlesTowne Landing (West Ashley) or Colonial Dorchester (Summerville) the park service will hopefully provide a van and driver.  (This happened one year when we traveled to Hampton Plantation State Historic Site near McClellanville, SC).  Students are expected to be on site ready to work by 7:30 a.m. (this is to avoid the heat later in the day, and you will be grateful for it).

This is an intensive, team taught field school (a 400-level course), the goal of which is to teach you all the basic skills of doing field archaeology. All special equipment will be provided, though there will be one required reference text to purchase.  There is a hefty academic component to the course with articles to read and summarize (made availabale on the OAKS system), a mid-term ceramics identification exam, a synthetic hypothetical project exercise, and a final written exam.  You must be able to do the homework on your own time, after the field day is over, so this means evenings and weekends.  It is important to not over-schedule your life during field school.  60% of your final grade is field skills, and 40% is written work.

We dress sensibly for the temperature and the conditions, and no special clothing or shoes are required.  Athletic shoes, shorts, T-shirts, and hats are usual, long pants if we are working in the woods, and a rain poncho or jacket.  No sandals or flip flops are allowed for safety reasons.  Students bring their own sack lunches daily.  Water in coolers will be provided.  No alcohol is allowed.  Many students find the small rigid plastic coolers that hold food and drink (and that you can also sit on) to be very convenient, as we do not always have picnic tables.  Rest rooms are “usually” within walking distance.

A field school looks wonderful on your resume, and if you hope to work in, or go to graduate school in, archaeology you will be expected to have attended at least one substantial field school.  Field school teaches you how to work in a real research environment, and as a close-knit team despite occasional challenging weather extremes.  Field school is a wonderful experience for most, but you have to be serious about your participation.  You are graded on the skills you learn in field school, and there is little time to make up missed field days or written work.  Committing to doing all the work and staying on schedule is essential for success.  Those students who do this will find the field school to be a wonderful experience, we hope, and we have found this to be so over the past 20 years!

I hope this description finds some of you thinking seriously about field school.  This particular field school will not be held again until Summer 2017, though there are other possibilities both on and off campus to complete a field school. Again, shoot me an e-mail if you think you might be seriously interested: Dr. Borg (borgb@cofc.edu)

Lowcountry Archaeology Workshop, Friday Feb. 6

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 2 February 2015 | 4:03 pm — 

In October 2014, an initial meeting of professional archaeologists interested in coordinating archaeological research in the Lowcountry was held. It was determined that such meetings would occur on a quarterly basis.  The first such meeting for this year will be held at the Lowcountry Graduate Center (in North Charleston), room 234 this Friday, February 6th from 3:30-5pm.

For questions, comments please contact Jim Newhard, Director of Archaeology at the College of Charleston. (newhardj@cofc.edu)

 

http://today.cofc.edu/2015/01/29/graduate-student-digs-old-charleston-city-wall-thesis-research/

Photo by Grace Beahm, Post & Courier

College of Charleston historic preservation student Justin Schwebler is literally in the trenches proving his thesis.

Schwebler, who will earn his Master in Science later this year, is tracking and analyzing the use of Bermuda stone in Charleston, South Carolina. His research showed the stone was used as the foundation of the city’s original sea wall, built in 1769, and he wanted to prove it.

With the help of his professors in the joint master’s program between the College of Charleston and Clemson University, a dig was organized to uncover portions of the wall.

On the first day of the dig, Bermuda stone was uncovered, though not in the area believed to be the original sea wall.

Schwebler explains, “The stone is soft – it can actually be cut with a saw – so it is very possible the stone crumbled away after its lengthy exposure to water and waves.”

READ: Learn more about the dig in the Post and Courier.

Photo by Grace Beahm, Post & Courier

Bermuda and Charleston had a strong trade relationship in the 1700s, with thousands of blocks of Bermuda stone coming into the Port of Charleston. That said, it’s now rare to find in the city, and even more rare in other U.S. locations.

“Bermuda stone is in at least two other notable places downtown,” Schwebler notes. “The ‘pink house’ at 17 Chalmers St. and ‘Pirate’s Courtyard’ at 145 Church St.”

 

Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 22 January 2015 | 2:55 pm — 

https://draytonhall.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/2015-drayton-hall-distinguished-speakers-series/

The Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the second season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event of the 2015 season, you’ll experience a range of thought-provoking presentations related to America’s history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians, archaeologists, and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests and answer questions from the audience.

2015-Distinguished-Speakers-Series-Flyer-for-web

The series is held in downtown Charleston at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston SC 29401.

Ample on-street parking and public lot parking is available within a block of the South Carolina Society Hall.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a wine and cheese reception sponsored by the Francis Marion Hotel. Presentations start promptly at 6:30 pm. No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Tara White, Development Events Coordinator, at 843-769-2627 or by e-mail.

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