In honor of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in 2020, we are celebrating the talented women who work for the NC Office of State Archaeology with our "Trowel Blazers" series. This week we're honoring Devon Borgardt, archaeological technician at the OSA Raleigh Office!
Devon began with the OSA as a volunteer at the OSA Research Center in July 2016 and became a permanent member of the team as one of our Department of Transportation (DOT) archaeological technicians in October 2017! She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Wesley College in Delaware and is currently working on a Master of Arts in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology at NC State University.
How did you become interested in archaeology?
I became interested in archaeology when I watched History channel documentaries featuring Zahi Hawass and Egyptian archaeology. But Egyptology was merely the gateway to the addiction I developed for historical archaeology. I am recently employed in the field, but my experiences span over the past seven years.
What is your favorite project or archaeology memory?
My favorite archaeological memory took place at my first field school, the Jamestown Rediscovery project. I picked up an Irish halfpenny, which was only minted in London between 1601 and 1602. I was really excited until one of the staff archaeologists scoffed and said there were thirty more in the Archaearium. End of the day, it’s not about the cool artifacts, it’s about using the context of archaeological features (remnants of structures), artifacts, and overall site information to tell stories of the past.
I also participated in two field schools in the Scottish Highlands with Heritage Archaeological Research Practice that indirectly relate to North Carolina’s history. We surveyed along Wade’s Military Road in the eastern highlands and mapped all of the nearby structures. These military roads were used by Great Britain after the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 to 1745 to control Scottish movement in the highlands. Many of these people emigrated to states like North Carolina after they were forcibly removed from their homes. It was really neat to learn about how these Scottish settlers lived, be familiar with where they emigrated to, and how they enhanced North Carolina’s diverse people and history.
What other hobbies do you have?
My hobbies include cross stitching, soccer, digitizing family history, and running with my dog.
Cat or dog?
¿Porque no los dos? I grew up with my cat, Sassy, and the family golden retriever, Cruiser. I now have a 45 lb. ball of energy with Sadie, my lab mix. If I knew she wouldn’t throw a cat around, I would still have both.
About the Campaign
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. As part of a national campaign to commemorate this historic event, North Carolina’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) is coordinating a campaign titled “She Changed the World: NC Women Breaking Barriers” March 2019, continuing through November 2020. American women were granted the right to vote with the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on August 18, 1920, after a 72-year fight by suffragists. The 19th Amendment did not resolve the issue of suffrage for women of color, who continued to battle for voting rights for decades.
-Working in the Scottish Highlands, Devon in the foreground, image courtesy of Devon Borgardt
-Sadie the dog, image courtesy of Devon Borgardt