Charles R. Ewen

Director - Phelps Archaeology Laboratory (PhD, Florida, 1987)
Office: 267 Flanagan Building
Telephone: 252-328-9454

About Me

I received my PhD at the University of Florida in 1987 (Go Gators) and immediately went to work for the Bureau of Archaeological Research in Tallahassee. After excavating Hernando de Soto’s winter encampment, I moved to Arkansas to run contracts for the Arkansas Archeological Survey for the next several years. I joined the faculty at ECU in 1994 and am currently a full professor in the Department as well as Director of the Phelps Archaeology Laboratory.

My research interests focus mostly on historical archaeology (specifically the contact and colonial periods). However, like most archaeologists, circumstances have led me to work on nearly every kind of archaeology site, from prehistoric villages to Civil War fortifications and twentieth-century homesteads. While at ECU, I have directed several projects at Tryon Palace Historic Sites & Gardens in New Bern, Ft. Macon State Park, Hope Plantation, Somerset Place, and a long-term archaeological study of Historic Bath, North Carolina.

One of the reasons that I came to East Carolina was the opportunity for more teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Teaching is something I enjoy and I believe that it complements rather than hinders scholarly research. In fact, my research agenda for the historical archaeology of the North Carolina coastal plain would be seriously hampered without the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students by their participation in fieldschools and thesis research.

I was recently elected president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, which is another opportunity to work with students and the profession. The ethical issues that we are grappling with have provided great material for lectures for my classes. Boom baby!

I live happily near the university with my wife, two daughters (although one is currently at UNC-G), two dogs, a cat, and four chickens.

Selected Publications


Ewen, C. R. (2008). 25 Years and Counting: Archaeological Research in the North Carolina Coastal Plain.

Skowronek, R. K. & Ewen, C. R. (2006). X Marks the Spot: The Archaeology of Piracy. , Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Shields, E. T. & Ewen, C. R. (2004). Searching for the Roanoke Colonies: An Interdisciplinary Collection., Raleigh: North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

Ewen, C. R. (2003). Artifacts, Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.

Ewen, C. R. & Hann, J. H. (1998). Hernando de Soto Among the Apalachee: The Archaeology of the First Winter Encampment, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Ewen, C. (1993). From Spaniard to Creole, Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Book Chapters

Ewen, C. R. (2007). "A Pirate's Life for Me! But What Did That Really Mean?," In Julie M. Schablitsky (Ed.) Box Office Archaeology, (pp. 51-69). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Ewen, C. (2001). "Historical Archaeology in the Colonial Spanish Caribbean.," In Paul Farnsworth (Ed.) Island Lives: Historical Archaeologies of the Caribbean, (pp. 3-20). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.


Ewen, C. R. (2007). Tying Up Loose Ends: Visions and Revisions of Stanley South's Archaeology. Reviews in Anthropology, 35 (3), 281-295.

Ewen, C. & Samford, P. (2003). The Sauthier Maps and the Formal Gardens at Tryon Palace: Myth or Reality? The North Carolina Historical Review, 79 (3), 327-346.

Hutchinson, D., Magoon, D., Norr, L., & Ewen, C. R. (2002). An Analysis of Human Skeletal Remains from the Snow Beach Site (8WA52). Southeastern Archaeology, 20 (1), 18-30.

Ewen, C. (2001). From Colonist to Creole: Archaeological Patterns of Spanish Colonization in the New World. Historical Archaeology, 34(3), 36-45.


Department News

On February 19th, the Department celebrated National Anthropology Day by hosting a public open house. Displays were presented in the labs, and mini-lectures and anthropology films were presented. 

The North Carolina Studies program hosted Dr. Christine Avenarius for her lecture "What sea-level rise? An ethnographic account of Dare, Tyrrell and Hyde County residents' observations about environmental change".

Check out the latest Department of Anthropology Spring 2015 newsletter highlighting some of our recent activities! Download a copy here.

 Linked by live video conferencing, Internet chat software and social media, ECU students were connected with their counterparts in different countries. Anthropology 1050: Global Understanding connected with Algerian students to discuss their cultures. Read the full article at

New edited volume from the British Archaeological Reports: Excavations in the Western Negev Highlands by Dr. Benjamin Saidel and Dr. Mordechai Haiman (Israel Antiquities Authority).

Discovery is a core characteristic of pirates at ECU! See our Anthropology summer field school student, Mansi Trivedi, explain some of the discoveries in Jordan on the latest ECU Values video.

 On Tuesday January 27, Dr. Bailey and three other professors shared the ins and outs of writing and publishing. This panel of authors answered questions about why they chose to write books, how they select their publishers, and how they balance teaching, research, and writing: offering advice for would-be authors based on personal experience.