Assistant Director of Native American Studies University of South Carolina Lancaster Co-Director Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project

Lab is over for today

My crew of five have rocked today!  We have washed, sorted, rebagged and made a mess of the wet lab here.  We have washed 14 bags of artifacts since 10am and we sorted and rebagged 17 bags (1 and a half bankers boxes). So that is pretty much what a lab day is like here in the Kolb Site lab.   Its time to clean up and reorganize everything.  What a long strange trip it has been…

Good bye from the Kolb Blog Post as  I am off to Simpsonville SC– whats left of the Grateful Dead (Aka Further) are playing at Charter Ampitheater…..

Making Artifacts Talk… How do you do that?

Can archaeologists make artifacts talk?

Perhaps, as I asserted in an earlier post today,  the greatest challenge to archaeologists is successfully relaying the nuances of our discipline to a broad audience.  In order to be successful we must try to make the mute artifacts talk. The Johannes Kolb site on the Great Pee Dee River at Mechanicsville in Darlington County, South Carolina, USA provides a unique opportunity to dovetail archaeological research with a concerted public education program.  This archaeological site spans the last 13,000 years with evidence for repeated occupations all thru time.  Prehistoric Native Americans, 18th century European immigrants, 19th century slaves of African descent, Early 20th century loggers, and hunters and fisherman of the mid 20th century all called the Kolb site home. If home is truly where the heart is, the site offers a chance to breathe life into the past and make it’s pulse come alive by investigating the home place of past peoples. In reality we strive to make artifacts talk and oh but if only we could make walls and artifacts talk. Instead we rely on our science and our collective imagination to transcend time in an effort to better understand the human past in South Carolina and we ask you to listen and invoke your own imagination.

Join us at the Kolb Site in 2012

Our 2012 field expedition to the Kolb site is being planned as I blog with you today.

We are able to provide a limited number of room and board positions and as always provide plenty of education and entertainment.

2012 FIELD SEASON March 5th-March 16th with our Public Education Day on Saturday March 12th.  Its free, fun and educational.  Bring the whole family to Public Day.

Details will be posted to our website in January

Sorting artifacts in the Lab

Andrew and Davis are assisting me in  two rather tedious and repetitive processes.  They are saving me time by helping and I can dedicate my time to other things such as blogging with you.  But it’s a trade off because I am training them in artifact identification as we go along.  Small brick fragments, daub (fired clay) and iron laden sandstone all look alike. So we use the magnifying light to have a closer look.  The devil is in the small details.

They have both expressed an interest in joining me during the 2012 field season.  They will be well equipped at identifing artifacts by then.  More on the Kolb field season in 2012 later…..

A Second Student has Arrived in the Lab

Andrew arrived at 10:45am.  I have him conducting the next step in the process–rebagging the artifacts that were washed on Weds. and were left to dry for 48 hours.  We have purchased 4 mil ziplock bags of all sizes from 2×3 inches on up to 12 x15 inches.  Just yesterday $300 worth of bags shipped overnight to Columbia, SC. These bags fit the standards for permanent curation established by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina.  Each artifact type gets its own bag. Eventually the Kolb Site artifacts will be curated in perpetuity at the Institute… for $200 per bankers box.  Remember in an earlier post I said we had 600 plus boxes.  If you do the math don’t tell me just send me some money!

SC Archaeology Month features the Kolb Site

Every year the SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology sponsors a statewide educational outreach called South Carolina Archaeology Month in October.  This year it will feature the Kolb Site.  So I am editing and compiling articles and images for a poster.

I will be conducting a lecture tour throughout the state in October. Today I am on the phone and email making some final arrangements for the tour.

Our 2011 Theme:  Making Artifacts Talk:  Archaeology and Education at the Johannes Kolb Site

For more see–


How can we reach the Public and Educate them?

Well there are many ways.  Here is one way–social media.  Im not a member of Facebook or any other such invasion of privacy but a volunteer set up a Facebook page called I Dig the Kolb Site.  It is a place for our volunteers to share information and photos and to keep in touch using the latest in communication technology.

Thank goodness for young people–the bulk of our Kolb site volunteers.


I DIG THE KOLB SITE  on Facebook