Past Lectures

Prevous lectures hosted by the Office of State Archaeology:

Archaeological Excavations at the Trogdon-Squirrel Creek Site

The first installment of the Archaeological Lecture Series, OSA hosted Brad Hatch of Dovetail Cultural Resources Group (Dovetail) and NC DOT Staff Archaeologists to discuss finds at the Trogdon-Squirrel Creek site (31RD1426) in Randolph County, North Carolina. Excavations focused on an early nineteenth-to early twentieth-century Quaker farmstead. This investigation resulted in the recovery of over 20,000 artifacts and revealed a dwelling with stone piers, an associated outbuilding, and cultural landscape features.

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Monday, February 27, 2017 - 11:30 am

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Archaeobotany Methods and Research

Mary Beth Fitts of OSA discussed the specialization of archaeobotany (also known as paleoethnobotany), which focuses on the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of plant materials from archaeological sites. Because site formation processes and archaeological recovery methods play a large role in structuring what we find in archaeobotanical assemblages, it is important to understand how plant remains come to be preserved in the archaeological record, and what techniques are employed to ensure that they have the best chance of being identified in the laboratory.

North Carolina State Library and Archives Auditorium | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Monday, March 13, 2017 - 11:30 am

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Crops Before Corn: An Investigation of Eastern Agricultural Complex Plants at the Tom Jones Site, Arkansas

Before corn, beans, and squash became the cornerstones of farming in the Eastern Woodlands, Native Americans relied on a different group of crops. The so-called “Eastern Agricultural Complex” consisted of several weedy plants, including sunflowers and a relative of the quinoa plant, that were domesticated and grown in the United States for thousands of years. Following the introduction of corn to the Eastern Woodlands these plants mostly disappeared from Native diets, and it has only been over the past few decades that archaeologists have rediscovered the existence of these important ancient crops. Through discussion of the Tom Jones site, a protohistoric Caddo Indian mound site in Arkansas, we can learn about these lost crops and explore their place in prehistoric foodways.

Presented by Rosie Blewitt

North Carolina State Library and Archives Auditorium | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 11:30 am

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Commerce and Conflict: Exploring North Carolina's Maritime Heritage

During the American Civil War, blockade runners played an invaluable role in keeping Confederate forces supplied with munitions and other goods. Members of North Carolina’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) are rediscovering some of these important pieces of history. The Agnes E. Fry, a relatively intact vessel that sank in 1864 near Oak Island, provides a unique opportunity to glimpse our maritime past. The Condor, which sank two months before the Agnes E. Fry while attempting to reach the port of Wilmington, is the world’s best preserved blockade runner and North Carolina’s first true Heritage Dive Site. Please join us as John “Billy Ray” Morris and Greg Stratton tell the story of these two ships and the important work done by the UAB to research and preserve North Carolina’s maritime heritage.

Presented by John William Morris III and Greg Stratton

North Carolina State Library and Archives Auditorium | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, May 23, 2017 - 11:30 am

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Rediscovering the Ailey Young House: Continuing the Legacy of the Young Family of Wake Forest

The Ailey Young house was built in 1875 by Professor William G. Simmons of Wake Forest as a part of a group of tenant farm houses known as “Simmons Row.” After his death in 1895, his widow, Mary Elizabeth, sold the house to Ailey Young, a married African-American woman. Ailey and her husband, Henry, raised their 13 children in the house, including son Allen Young, founder of the first school for African-American children in Wake Forest. The house is also the oldest-known African-American house in Wake Forest. Please join us as we discuss the culmination of a partnership between public, private, and government stakeholders to rediscover and protect this important part of North Carolina heritage

Presented by Michelle Michael, Senior Planner, (Historic Preservation) Town of Wake Forest, Sherry Boyette, Rosie Blewitt-Golsch, and John J. Mintz, North Carolina Office of State Archaeology

North Carolina State Library and Archives Auditorium | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 11:30 am

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Applying Archaeological Geophysics in the 21st Century: Examples from the Southeastern United States

Geophysical techniques are used to make maps of buried archaeological features. These techniques can give archaeologists vast amounts of intra-site spatial data without costly, time-consuming, and inherently destructive excavations. Please join us as Sarah Lowry of New South Associates outlines the most common archaeological geophysics instruments and provides case studies showing their use at different archaeological sites in the Southeastern United States. Examples will include Mississippian villages, historic sites, battlefields, and cemeteries and will focus on the application of geophysics in cultural resource management.

Presented by Sarah Lowry, New South Associates, Inc.

North Carolina State Library and Archives Auditorium | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - 11:30 am

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The Office of State Archaeology will host speakers each month throughout the year on the many great aspects of archaeology. Topics will center on recent investigation or research conducted in North Carolina. All lectures are free and open to the public. Join us for these fascinating events!

Upcoming educational lectures:

Conserving Our Underwater Cultural Heritage: An Introduction

Presented by: Sarah Watkins-Kenney

Conservator cleans canon at QAR lab

Since the early 1960s, North Carolina’s Office of Archives and History has been striving to implement public laws and policies for the protection, preservation, and investigation of underwater archaeological sites in the state. There are many thousands of known underwater sites, constituting part of our “underwater cultural heritage”. Since the 1970s, heritage conservation has expanded in scope and complexity beyond just concern with technical preservation of tangible remains to also aim to preserve intangible aspects. Concepts, attitudes, and expectations for conservation are continually changing.  More than one conservation strategy may be possible for a site or find but could have very different consequences for use of those remains in the present and future. Please join us as Sarah Watkins-Kenney, QAR Lab Director and Chief Conservator, introduces some of the concepts, challenges, and choices available for the conservation of underwater archaeological sites and finds, both in situ and ex situ. Various approaches and choices made will be described and illustrated, including those that have been and are being applied in North Carolina.

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 11:30 am
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Late Archaic Residency in the Appalachian Summit Region: Excavations at the Weatherman Site (31CY31) in Yancey County, North Carolina

Presented by: Matthew Jorgenson, Peter Sittig, and Daniel Cassedy

Archaeologists excavate a site in Yancey County

Excavations completed by AECOM for the North Carolina Department of Transportation at the Weatherman Site (31YC31) on the floodplain of the South Toe River documented deeply stratified Archaic deposits.  The most intensive was a Late Archaic component dominated by hearth remnants and numerous broken and whole Savannah River projectile points made primarily of local quartzite.  A summary of findings at this site, with particular attention to spatial organization and lithic resource utilization, is presented here and compared with other Savannah River sites in the Appalachian Summit.  These Summit Region sites are contrasted to other Late Archaic Sites in the neighboring regions of the Piedmont and Ridge and Valley provinces.  Finally, a summary of other Late Archaic cultural manifestations across the Greater Southeastern region is presented.  We suggest that the inhabitants of the Appalachian Summit region during the Late Archaic shared some cultural ideologies with the broader region, but by and large were participating in their own version of a Late Archaic system of lifeways.

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:30 am

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October Archaeology Month

The Office of State Archaeology will host a series of events throughout the month of October in celebration of North Carolina’s archaeological heritage. Events will include weekly lunchtime lectures on topics such as the archaeology of Cherokee households (Dr. Ben Steere, Western Carolina University), and two evening lectures at the Museum of History on the archaeology of Catawba coalescence (Dr. Steve Davis) and Moravian archaeology as understood through excavations at Old Salem (Dr. Michael Hartley). A symposium on October 19th will highlight the great research projects completed by staff, students, and interns through the OSA Research Center this year on collections from Brunswick Town State Historic Site, Halifax State Historic Site, and Charles Towne (31BW133). A complete schedule with lecture titles is posted on our Events page.

Learn More about Archaeology Month


Tracing Catawba Persistence:  Household Archaeology of the Late 18th Century Catawba Nation

During the late 18th century, the Catawba Nation experienced profound cultural changes over a relatively short time as community members adjusted to a series of transformative events including a devastating smallpox epidemic. Benefiting from a rich documentary record, successive short-lived domestic occupations, and a nearly continuous archaeological record of Catawba settlements between 1750-1800, it is possible to trace rapid cultural change experienced by the Catawba. In this talk, Dr. David Cranford presents recent research on Catawba household archaeology that shows individual households experimented with a variety of creative solutions that contributed to the persistence and ultimate survival of this community.

Watch the lecture here:

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Thursday April 17, 2018 - 11:30 am

The Office of State Archaeology Sea Level Rise Project 2010-2012: A Study of the Potential Effects of Climate Change on Archaeological Sites in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, Initial Results and Recommendations

Presented by: Lawrence E. Abbott, Jr.

Research suggests that a rise in sea level from 0.5 to 2.0 meters above the present mean is possible by the end of the current century.  North Carolina has over 5,900 square kilometers of land below one meter in elevation making it the third largest low-lying location in the United States after Louisiana and Florida.  Between 2010 and 2012 the Office of State Archaeology, in partnership with the North Carolina Geological Survey, undertook an initial assessment of the possible effects of climate change and sea level rise on archaeological resources within the Coastal Plain of North Carolina.  Data were collected for 5,746 sites that occur at elevations of 30 feet or less (above mean sea level).  This is the first step in a proposed long-term study to assess the potential impacts of climate change on cultural resources across the state.  This presentation presents the scope of the project, basic research goals, and an initial inventory of archaeological sites potentially at risk from sea level rise.  The presentation also offers recommendations regarding long-range goals and future research related to assessing the impacts of climate change on cultural resources. 

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Thursday May 31, 2018 - 11:30 am

A Look Into the Past: An Overview of the Archaeology Program in Lincoln County, NC

Presented by: January W. Costa, Lincoln County Historical Association

Lincoln County, situated in North Carolina's Piedmont region, is steeped in a historic and cultural heritage that spans over two hundred years. It is one of the oldest counties west of the Catawba River. The landscape is rich with early landmarks and historic sites. They act as a reminder of the pioneers that came to the area in search of new opportunity and rich farming. January Costa will discuss the work that she has accomplished in the past 10 years to create an archaeology program in Lincoln County, North Carolina. She will present previous research on several sites, information on new research projects, and an overview of the many activities going on through the LCHA. The Lincoln County Historical Association started the Archaeology Program in 2008, with the goal to research, study, and record the cultural resources and history of Lincoln County, NC.

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Thursday June 28, 2018 - 11:30 am

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From Grave Markers to Unmarked Graves: Archaeological Insights of Historic Cemeteries

Presented by: Shawn Patch of New South Associates, Inc

Shawn Patch is an archaeologist and geophysical specialist with New South Associates, Inc., a cultural resources consulting firm. Shawn will discuss archaeological insights on various historic cemeteries in North Carolina and beyond. This presentation includes examples using ground-penetrating radar to identify unmarked graves and better define cemetery boundaries, as well as data from various marker inventories.

If you are not able to attend this lecture in person, it will be live-streamed and available afterward on YouTube.

North Carolina State Library and Archives | 109 East Jones Street, Raleigh, NC

Thursday July 26, 2018 - 11:30 am

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