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 Terry Williams, conservator at the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab!
Terry has been with the Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab (QAR Lab) for about ten years, starting as a volunteer and most recently serving as a temporary full-time conservator. She continues to lend her skill and expertise to the QAR Lab now as a regular volunteer! She holds a degree in Conservation Studies from City and Guilds of London Art School.
How did you become interested in archaeology?
Once I retired from the military, I was looking for a follow-on career. While I was studying abroad in Italy, there was a tremendous amount of conservation on the many works of art there – both large statues and small artifacts. I was fascinated by this process and took steps to become an objects conservator. Eventually, I took this background and began volunteering at the QAR Lab in Greenville, learning much about archaeology and the conservation of artifacts from an underwater environment along the way.
What is your favorite project or archaeology memory?
I have really enjoyed recovering artifacts from concretion at the QAR Lab. While many were challenging and rewarding experiences, I think the sword hilt is my pride and joy. It required hours of painstaking work under a microscope. Once the concretion was removed, a beautiful herringbone pattern running up the hilt was exposed along with lovely, decorative caps.
What other hobbies do you have?
I love to read and am a member of a book club. I am also a gym rat – but mostly to counteract my chocolate habit!
Cat or dog?
Dog, because I like to take walks and I enjoy the company.
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.
-Sword hilt from QAR shipwreck, image by NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
-Terry and dog Stella, image courtesy of Terry Williams