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NC archeologists convene at ECU; public invited

GREENVILLE, NC   (Oct. 1, 2008)   —   North Carolina archeologists will gather at East Carolina University next week to discuss recent research in the coastal plain.

A symposium, “Twenty-five Years and Counting: Current Archeological Research in the North Carolina Coastal Plain,” will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Willis Hall on ECU’s campus. The public is invited to this free event.

The symposium is being held more than 25 years after the publication of “Prehistory in North Carolina,” a prominent guide to state archeology in its time. Presenters will discuss discoveries made since that journal’s release, as well as the direction of future studies. Their findings will be compiled in a new publication about the coastal plain.

Charles Ewen, ECU archeologist and symposium organizer, said the past 25 years have brought many changes to the study of archeology here.

“There are so many more archeologists in North Carolina today, and a lot more work is being done. As much, if not more archeology, has been done in the last 25 years, than in all of the previous years combined,” he said. Ewen said much of that research has been driven by development. Before land can be developed, archeological surveys must be completed.

New data, Ewen said, have not changed common perceptions of history but, rather, filled in the gaps.

“We’re finding out more about the hunting and gathering societies in eastern North Carolina, and what life was like for the colonists. We’re rethinking what life was like back then,” he said. The symposium will feature studies of all time periods, from the Paleoindian-Archaic period through Woodland and Historic periods. Some of the subjects include Native American subsistence practices, ongoing research at Fort Raleigh, underwater archeology and the digital future of research in the coastal plain.

Ewen encouraged the public to attend the talks, which will be accessible to everyone. “Everybody likes archeology; they just don’t know too much about it,” he said. “This will be a great opportunity to learn new things about North Carolina history.”

A reception planned for Friday, Oct. 10, will feature Dr. Stanley South, a well-known historical archeologist in the Carolinas who will discuss several of his recent inquiries into the archeological record of North and South Carolinas.

Registration for these free events will continue through Friday, Oct. 3. Walk-in guests are welcome to attend but will not receive lunch on Saturday.