October Archaeology Month Events Celebrate 14,000 Years of Human History

North Carolina Archaeology Month

In celebration of October as North Carolina Archaeology Month, a series of free lectures will be presented by the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology on a broad range of subjects, including the underwater coastal heritage of North Carolina, history of channel improvements in the Cape Fear River, and Moravian pottery production in Old Salem. A student symposium showcasing archaeological research from students across the state is also planned. Lunchtime lectures and the student symposium will be held in the auditorium of the Archives and History Building, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh.


A Public Archaeology Day Saturday, Oct. 27 on Bicentennial Plaza in downtown Raleigh will celebrate archaeology in North Carolina. Come talk to the experts and learn how prehistoric peoples made their stone tools, identify artifacts from archaeological excavations, explore how underwater archaeologists study shipwrecks, and more.


All events are free and open to the public. Visit https://archaeology.ncdcr.gov/get-involved/archaeology-month for more information.

Archaeology Month Events:

Lunchtime Lecture, Oct. 4, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. “Reach for the Channel: History and Archaeology of Channel Improvements on the Cape Fear River,” Jim McKee, Site Manager of Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site

Rivers have served as the super highways of civilizations for centuries, and the Cape Fear is no different. Jim McKee will discuss how natural and artificial changes to the Cape Fear River affect the archaeology of one of North Carolina’s oldest ports, Brunswick Town. Established in the early 18th century, Brunswick Town was a blossoming colonial port town until it was demolished by British troops in 1776. The town was never rebuilt, but the site was used to construct Fort Anderson during the Civil War. The State Historic Site holds a great depth of North Carolina history that has been impacted by changes to its neighboring waterway.

This event will be available via Livestream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTq6qMSCdm8.

Archaeology Month Student Symposium, Oct. 12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Learn about the latest research in archaeology and history being done by students from across the state. Topics explored will include archaeological investigations of an early farmstead in the Uwharrie National Forest, the lives of enslaved and sharecropping African Americans in the Lower Cape Fear region, analysis of Woodland period ceramics from Currituck County, micro-landscapes of small urban yards in Durham, and recording of historical American Indian schools throughout North Carolina.

Evening Lecture, Oct. 12, 7-8:30 p.m., “Early Human Life on the Southeastern Coastal Plain,” Dr. Christopher Moore, Geoarchaeologist, Savannah River Archaeological Research Program

Location: N.C. Museum of History, 5 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. Moore will examine the changing paleo-environments of the Southeastern Coastal Plain and the ways in which humans adapted to their shifting world many millennia ago. His recent publications include articles on identifying ancient animal blood residues from stone tools in South Carolina and Georgia, and the possible impact of a comet fragment at the end of the Paleoindian Clovis period. Dr. Moore has also initiated the White Pond Human Paleoecology Project examining evidence from geologic cores and archaeological excavations to link the early prehistoric human record with periods of climate change recorded in the lake sediments over the last 13,000 years.

Lunchtime Lecture, Oct. 17, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., “Hidden Beneath the Waves: Exploring the Underwater Cultural Heritage of N.C.,” Chris Southerly, Assistant State Archaeologist and Tane Casserley, Maritime Archaeologist and Research Coordinator with NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Chris Southerly and Tane Casserley dive into inter-agency partnerships to discover, research, and protect the hallmarks of North Carolina’s maritime cultural heritage: shipwrecks. North Carolina waters have long been known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, with thousands of shipwrecks occurring over hundreds of years. These shipwrecks hold information about changing technologies and cultural and physical landscapes. Protected by the N.C. Underwater Archaeology Branch and NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, these troves of data continue to offer stories of North Carolina’s deep maritime culture.

Lunchtime Lecture, Oct. 23, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., “New Insights into Moravian Pottery Production in Old Salem: The View from Lot 38, 1784-1831,” Geoffrey Hughes, PhD Candidate, UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Anthropology

Geoffrey Hughes investigates Moravian culture through local pottery production at the eighteenth-century town of Salem in the piedmont of colonial North Carolina. Established in 1771, the congregation-owned pottery workshop expanded through the decades, not only in size but also in the variety of wares produced, incorporating experimental techniques introduced from surrounding traditions. Investigations since the 1950s have contributed to an understanding of how these developments affected reorganization of landscape, changes to the production process, and new opportunities for those who worked in the pottery. 

Public Archaeology Day, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Bicentennial Plaza, 1 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh

What is archaeology? It’s more than just digging in the dirt! Come out to “Public Archaeology Day” to talk with the experts and learn all about what we do. Activities, crafts, and fun for all ages! Learn how prehistoric peoples made their stone tools; identify artifacts from archaeological excavations; explore how underwater archaeologists study shipwrecks; discover how we preserve artifacts through conservation and gain more information through artifact reconstruction. This free event will take place in the plaza between the Museum of History and Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

The Office of State Archaeology coordinates and implements a statewide program to study and preserve prehistoric, historic, and underwater remains of North Carolina’s material culture. It is part of the Office of Archives and History within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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