UNCW Archaeological Field School in the Cape Fear region

This listing expired on May 15, 2022. Please contact for any updated information.

Location: Brunswick County, North Carolina, USA

Season: May 23, 2022 to June 22, 2022

Session Dates: May 23-June 22, 2022

Application Deadline: May 5, 2022

Deadline Type: Rolling


Program Type:
Field School

RPA Certified:

UNC Wilmington Anthropology

Project Director:
Eleanora A. Reber, RPA

Project Description:

Our goal is to investigate the archaeological and historical heritage of the Cape Fear region, by excavating structures possibly associated with a mill at an antebellum/postbellum rice plantation along the Brunswick River near Wilmington. These structures were built before the Civil War and initially maintained and operated by enslaved people. The area underwent regular renovations and rebuildings, reflecting the economic preoccupations and struggles of the area over time, and was still probably occupied after the Civil War, either by refugees following the war, and probably by freed Black people in the years after the Civil War. We hope to investigate the ways that this area changed through time, and the way that it reflected changing ideas of farming, milling, and Black life during its period of use.

Over the course of the session, students will learn surface surveying, excavation techniques, record-keeping, mapping, and basic lab techniques, including flotation. We will also go on field trips to some local archaeological sites of interest, depending on availability.  The class will be 6 credit hours, and will be intensive–it will basically take place all day Monday-Thursday, and half days on Friday. Actual hours of excavation will be decided by vote of the crew.

The site is located about twenty minutes from downtown Wilmington, and about forty minutes from UNCW, depending on traffic.  Local students can live in their usual residences, and we will meet at the site (or a designated Wilmington meeting point, such as UNCW) every morning.  We can help arrange on-campus lodging for out-of-town students, if necessary.

Period(s) of Occupation: Historic period, 1820s-1900s

This is a 'commuter' field, in that students will live at home or in housing that they have arranged locally, bring their own lunches to the field school, and drive themselves to our site or lab. As such, the formal cost of the field school is UNCW Summer tuition for 6 credits, plus an approximately $18 insurance fee that will be charged during the registration process. However, when considering the cost of the field school, students should factor in housing costs in the region and the cost of gas in commuting to the site. Carpools can be arranged between students living in the same area.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Full session

Minimum Age: 16

Experience Required: I would prefer that everyone have a general archaeology course or an equivalent, but this is negotiable.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Arranged by student; we are happy help arrange UNCW dormitory housing for students from outside the Wilmington area,

Academic Credit:
6 credits

Contact Information:

Eleanora A. Reber

Anthropology Department, UNC Wilmington 601 S. College Rd.




United States

Phone: 19109627734

Fax: 19102623543

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