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Do you have a passion for history and learning about the past? If so, archaeology offers a wonderful hands-on way to construct an understanding about the past that transcends written records. This summer, join archaeologists in Charleston, South Carolina to learn about daily life during the early decades of the South Carolina colony!

The founding of Charles Town in 1670 and the establishment of the Carolina colony forever altered the history of the southeastern United States. Fueled by local and trans-Atlantic demand for trade goods, hides and furs, and enslaved laborers, this economic engine created a wholly new landscape connecting American Indian communities with Europeans and Africans living throughout the Atlantic world.

The 2024 UNC summer archaeological field school will take place during Summer Semester II (June 24 – July 19, 2024). Investigations will focus on two important archaeological sites — the original 1670 colonial Charles Towne settlement and St. Giles Kussoe, one of the earliest plantation sites in the Carolina colony (ca. 1674-1685). Our project explores a number of research questions associated with the first decades of the colony including:

  • How were these communities laid out with respect to living and working areas?
  • What sorts of plants were early settlers experimenting with as they sought to establish a stable cash crop (e.g., watermelon, rice, ginger, citrus)?
  • How did the inhabitants of the community materialize their identities through foodways, pottery production, and architecture?

Students will help answer these questions, while learning the fundamentals of archaeological field techniques. This summer, our methods will include archaeological excavation, as well as remote sensing with ground penetrating radar and magnetic gradiometry.


The field school is open to undergraduate students and anyone with a college degree. Participants must enroll in Anthropology 451 for 6 credit hours. As part of the IDEAs in Action General Education Curriculum, this course fulfills the Engagement with the Human Past Focus Capacity (FC-PAST) and the Archaeology Major requirement for a field school. For students who began their undergraduate study prior to the Fall 2022 semester, this course fulfills Behavioral Sciences (HS), Experiential Education (EE), and World Before 1750 (WB) in the Making Connections General Education curriculum as well as the Archaeology Major requirement for a field school.

There are no formal prerequisites, but potential students must fill out an Application Form by MARCH 15. Enrollment will be limited to about 10-12 students. Applicants will be informed as to whether they have been accepted into the course by April 1.

To apply, please attend an Information Session during one of these times:

Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Alumni Building, room 404
Thursday, March 7, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Alumni Building, room 404

The course will be taught by Dr. Jon Marcoux, with additional instruction from Dr. Andrew Agha, a professional archaeologist in Charleston, and Nicole Isenbarger, archaeologist at the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.

Field school students will learn the basic techniques of archaeological excavation, as well as mapping, surveying, photography (including 3D photography), and artifact identification. Although some classroom and laboratory instruction will be given, most of the students’ time will be spent actually excavating.

Students who successfully complete the course will be prepared for a variety of future research and employment opportunities, including paid positions on other archaeological projects.


Tuition for undergraduates is estimated (based on last year’s amounts) as follows: $1,752 for North Carolina residents ($292 per credit hour), and $9,336 for out-of-state residents ($1,556 per credit hour). These estimated costs, which may change by the time of registration, do not include student fees, which may be $70 per credit hour (subject to board approval).

All accommodations will be organized by the instructors, and students are required to pay for their housing in advance of the field school. We will stay in a suite-style dormitory at the College of Charleston in downtown Charleston. Each suite includes 3-4 single bedrooms, a full kitchen, refrigerator, and shared bathroom (Check out an example on the Campus Housing website). All bed linens will be provided, but students must supply their own bathroom towels. You can expect to pay about $1,650 for housing. These costs are comparable to UNC’s summer session housing rates. Students must submit payment for their housing by May 1, 2024, via check to UNC’s Research Laboratories of Archaeology.

You will also need to arrange and cover the costs of all your own food (including breakfast, a packed lunch for the field, and dinner) each day.

Schedule, Transportation, and Equipment

The field school will run from June 24 to July 19, 2024 (Summer Session II). Students will be on-site conducting field work Monday-Friday from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm. Weekends will be free time to explore Charleston.

The university will provide daily transportation to the site, as well as weekly grocery shopping trips.

Students are responsible for transportation to Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday, June 23, and transportation home from Charleston on Saturday, July 20. Students may bring personal vehicles to field school, but they will need to pay a $300 fee for parking.

All field equipment will be provided by the University.

Inquiries, Applications, and Deadlines

Inquiries about the field school are welcome and should be made to Dr. Marcoux (

Because enrollment is limited, students must apply in advance by filling out an Application Form and obtain permission from the professor to register by arranging a brief interview with Dr. Marcoux. In order to be guaranteed full consideration, potential students should apply no later than March 15, 2024.

To apply, please attend an Information Session during one of these times:

Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm | Alumni Building, room 404
Thursday, March 7, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm | Alumni Building, room 404

Visiting students may obtain additional information from UNC’s Summer School.