I am Tony Munnings, an international student majoring in environmental engineering at Benedict College, and I’m all the way from the lovely Bahamas islands. I had the chance to work as an archaeology intern with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program during my 2022 fall semester.
As an intern, my main responsibility was to prepare a collection of Edgefield pottery for curation and display in upcoming museum exhibitions across the state. Unbeknownst to many, museums request to display this window into history since there is a growing demand for Edgefield pottery. These vessels would need to be carefully washed and dried as part of the preparation process. Next, while making a few minor alterations to the list of the recorded vessels, my coworker, a fellow intern, and I would check the pottery, then take thorough images of each vessel, making sure to include any marks, stamps, or fingerprints that are visible. We also had the chance to practice our newly acquired water-screening skills on samples taken from the Fort Fredrick Heritage Preserve. We discovered porcelain sherds and catfish spines while screening, which was a wonderful experience.
In addition, I was offered the opportunity to visit the Archeology Center’s electrolysis unit. I am familiar with the chemistry involved because I am majoring in environmental engineering, but it was fantastic to watch electrolysis take place in front of your eyes. A very fascinating area of archaeology is the restoration of metal artifacts.
It is quite challenging to avoid learning and asking questions while handling so many objects with such a rich history. I’ll leave you with a fun fact, then. Did you know that the Edgefield District of South Carolina was the first place in America where alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery was invented and developed in the early 1800s?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.