Archaeological Field Schools
Anthropologists and other majors often participate in a rite of passage, archaeological field school. Students and their professor are able to spent part of a summer surveying, excavating, sifting and recording an archaeological site. They enjoy the physicality of the work (shoveling and troweling) and the intellectual debates (interpreting artifacts and features). This is a fun, educational, hands-on way to learn about archaeology.
Archaeology in Action
Archaeology in Action
Field School at Blandwood, Summer 2008Dr. Linda Stine, director
Ashley Poteat, director of Blandwood
Blandwood, with its long and rich history, serves as a prime example of an historic archaeological site. The project area contains extant remains of a circa 1795 federal style farmstead with 1820s additions. From 1844-1846 it was transformed into the Italianate Revival style mansion of Governor John Motley Morehead. This was part of a growing phenomenon called a gentleman's estate or, as some would have it, an urban plantation. Known for its superb architecture, architectural history and its association with Governor Morehead and his descendants, this historical site also contains below ground remains of yard features, outbuildings and possibly fencelines spanning the late eighteenth through twentieth centuries. An archaeological survey of the back quadrant of the property should reveal artifacts and features that will enhance our understanding of life on the estate, whether owner, laborer, or slave.
Archaeology at this National Historic Landmark will also serve as an important educational tool during Greensboro's Bicentennial. Students from area universities and experienced local volunteers are welcomed to participate in this structured research program. They will be working with professional educators and cultural resource management professionals to gain hands-on archaeological experience. A special screening area will be set up for visitors who want to gain some experience.
Notes from the Field
The 2008 Blandwood fieldschool was a successful season for us. We had numerous visitors, ranging in age from infants through grandparents. The twenty-odd students worked hard as the site proved to have a deep layer of red-orange clay fill under a layer of destruction rubble. There were also a lot of utility pipes complicating matters. Underneath we found evidence from the eighteenth-century Bland farmer household as well as artifacts and features dating to the various nineteenth-century Morehead occupations. We discovered a brick wall or floor that seems to correspond to an 1870s map. This would be some sort of out-building. Another brick wall, found further back from the mansion, was not illustrated on any known map. There was also a lot of evidence from the Keeley Institute, a later sanatorium for alcoholics. This included bottle fragments, china, nails and walls. Some students also turned up a feature that proved really complicated to decipher. It is a deep pit with a rock and two bricks near the base. This was a feature that the GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) had picked up during a March survey. The artifacts are presently being processed in the laboratory. Volunteers are welcomed if they commit to the project. LFS