CofC Logo

Archives For Lowcountry

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)

 

This Might Only Happen in Charleston

3 December 2014 | 2:52 pm By: Melissa Whetzel

Living history isn’t just a slogan at the College of Charleston. It’s true. Today construction workers unearthed a Civil War-era artillery shell that is believed to have been there for more than a century.

The shell, which is about a foot long, was removed by the Department of Defense. The area where the shell was found is part of the expansion of the Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center, which includes a new vegan/kosher cafeteria. The expansion is expected to be complete in winter 2015.

Civil War artillery shell

“It is quite common to find Civil War artifacts on the peninsula, not always as spectacular as an unexploded shell, though they are found every once in a while,” explains archaeology professor Barbara Borg. “From time to time battalions of soldiers came through and camped in large numbers, so it is common to find horse hardware, ceramics, cookware, buttons and buckles from clothing, pewter silverware and, where preservation is really good, items made out of wood, like drumsticks and the wooden parts of brushes.”

 

WEBSITE: College of Charleston is home to S.C.’s only undergraduate major in archaeology.

Borg has directed the College’s Archaeological Field School for a number of years and says they have often worked on the peninsula finding many of these artifacts.

“Charleston and the Lowcountry are archaeological jewels,” says Jim Newhard, classics professor and director of the archaeology program. “I would hazard to guess that there are few places with richer archaeological heritage in the country than Charleston. Therefore we have a tremendous duty as stewards of this national treasure, to take the necessary precautions to ensure its survival.”

Newhard adv

ocates for a city archaeologist, tasked with preserving these finds. He also notes that while the Civil War and Colonial phases receive a lot of attention, the plantations up and down the Ashley and Cooper Rivers are a part of a broader story that includes American Indian habitation prior to the arrival of Europeans and Africans through to transformations in society in the decades following the Civil War.

 

Skip to toolbar