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Archives For November 30, 2013

Why Archaeology?…All about Archaeology @ CofC

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 18 December 2013 | 4:41 pm — 


MinorMeet Olivia Adams. She came to the College planning to major in anthropology, then she discovered archaeology her first semester on campus. She didn’t know that it would take her all over the Carolina Lowcountry for field research that year. And she didn’t know that she’d spend a month in France the next summer. It all just jelled.

“I’ve always been interested in anthropology from the socio-cultural perspective, not so much from the physical side. But that first semester, a professor got me to go to a meeting of the South Carolina Archaeological Society, and I was hooked.”

Almost immediately, Olivia got invited to participate in fieldwork at Charles Towne Landing, one of the original European settlements in the Carolinas. “The team working there has a limited budget, so there are lots of opportunities for volunteer researchers.”

She was also asked to assist with research at a plantation site. “We were digging, brushing and sifting in an area thought to have contained slave cabins. That experience really solidified my interest.” Olivia started racking up resume-building experience. Her second semester, she was part of an independent study that used ground penetrating radar to locate kitchen foundations at a site right on campus. And then came the trip to France.

“When my advisor learned that I speak French, she immediately put me in touch with a colleague who runs a dig in southern France. We corresponded and set it up. It was interesting, hands-on work — digging, cataloguing and cleaning specimens from the Upper Paleolithic era. We lived in tents, and the best part was — it didn’t cost me anything. His grant paid for our food, and I was awarded the John Morter Scholarship, which supports student fieldwork.

“That was great experience. I’d never travelled out of the country before; never had to fend for myself. And, it taught me that I’m OK with doing the repetitious tasks that often come with archaeological fieldwork. I learned that even if I have to do that same thing for a month, I still love this field – the cultural and the physical.”

Progam Information

Major in archaeology and you’ll be prepared to work in academia, the corporate world or just about any realm. Yes, you’ll focus on archeological research, but the skills you learn – combined with the knowledge you glean – will make you remarkably versatile. In addition, Charleston is an exceptionally unique setting. It offers opportunities for studies in Native American, colonial, plantation and war-era societies. And the international reach of our faculty extends coursework and research opportunities abroad ranging from Paleolithic France to Medieval Byzantium, from textual analysis to advanced computer modeling.


  • Our program involves faculty from 10 different academic departments.
  • You can do valuable fieldwork in your first year, with a choice of various local or regional sites.
  • Faculty members are involved in research projects in areas such as Egypt, France, Turkey, Tunisia, Greece and elsewhere.


  • Research internships are strongly encouraged and easily arranged.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of this field means you could be mapping the sea floor, digging at a plantation site or developing computer models of historic landscapes.

Contact Information

James Newhard
Program Director

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