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

 Dr, Bailey's article, "A New Online Strategy in Teaching Racial and Ethnic Health and Health Disparities to Public Health Professionals" was accepted by the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. It will appear in the 2016 issue of the Journal.

Excavations in the Western Negev Highlands: Results of the Negev Emergency Survey 1978-89  by Dr. Benjamin Saidel and co-author M. Haimon was published December 2014 by British Archaeological Reports. See here for more.


Haley Drabek translated the Tyrrell Water Management Study finalized in 2014 into 9 separate brochures, one for each proposed water management district. She spent six weeks visiting property owners in each district to explain the benefits of participating in the localized water management district and asking for signatures of intent to join.

Anna Claire researched existing oral history booklets at the Tyrrell Visitor Center and then interviewed elderly Tyrrell County residents who grew up in the county. She taped these interviews for safe keeping at the Visitor Center and is currently writing narrative reports of the collected information, one for each conversation partner. These reports will be bound and held at the Tyrrell County Visitor Center for interested readers. Anna Claire has also been involved with a group of children in the county with a diverse ethnic background. Under Anna Claire's direction the children are currently writing a newsletter that will report on the children's experiences of growing up in Tyrrell County, exploring their favorite places, activities, and hopes for their future.  

 Click here to see Anthropology's latest Newsletter

East Carolina ranks number one for the second consecutive year as the provider of graduate degrees for the Register of Professional Archaeologists registrants! Read more here

 Dr. Holly Mathews and Dr. Laura Mazow were recognized for their outstanding teaching methods by students during the Spring 2015 semester from the College STAR.

Student response for Dr. Mathews:

"She gives feedback and forces her students to expand their mind and explore alternate theories or explanations. She wants her students to discuss topics in class instead of just listening to her talk the entire time."

Student response for Dr. Mazow:

"We have a small class which allows many opportunities for a lot of class discussion...She always provides feedback and answers to our journal entries and is always available when we need help." 

Congratulations to them both!

This summer two undergraduate anthropology students at East Carolina University, Tyler Beasley and Anna Lawrence, worked as interns for the Hyde County Office of Planning and Economic Development through the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation public service internship program. Both interns worked on research projects aimed at improving economic development by better understanding the needs of the local business community.


Marina Clough, also an undergraduate anthropology student at East Carolina University, completed an internship at Wanchese Industrial Park and provided an overview of webpages and print media that write or advertise about sailing related events, helped plan the Regatta of Sail NC and conducted 40 interviews with participants.

Dr. Charles Ewen interviewed for the New York Times. Is it the Roanoke Island Colony? Read more to find out!