Beneath the Ivory Tower:
The Archaeology of Academia

Edited by Russell K. Skowronek and Kenneth E. Lewis

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"For the first time we have a volume that shows us the story of archaeology at some of our most significant and cherished institutions, America's colleges and universities."--Richard C. Waldbauer, National Park Service

"The chapters in this volume demonstrate the integration of teaching, learning, research, and service in the efforts to preserve and interpret heritage for the benefit of all those who identify with the academy."--Michael S. Nassaney, Western Michigan University

As a discipline, archaeology often provides amazing insights into the past. But it can also illuminate the present, especially when investigations are undertaken to better examine the history of institutions such as colleges and universities.

In Beneath the Ivory Tower, contributors offer a series of case studies to reveal the ways archaeology can offer a more objective view of changes and transformations that have taken place on America's college campuses. From the tennis courts of William and Mary to the "iconic paths, lawns, and well-ordered brick buildings" of Harvard, this volume will change the ways readers look at their alma maters--and at archaeology. Also included are studies of Michigan State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Massachusetts, Illinois, North Carolina, Washington & Lee, Santa Clara, California, and Stanford.

Russell K. Skowronek, professor of anthropology and history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is coauthor or coeditor of several books including Pieces of Eight: More Archaeology of Piracy. Kenneth E. Lewis, professor of anthropology at Michigan State University, is author of West to Far Michigan: Settling the Lower Peninsula, 1815-1860 and Camden: Historical Archaeology in the South Carolina Backcountry.

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"Fun for those connected with the schools mentioned and serves as an example of how academic disciplines can be made relevant to the rest of the university and to the community." Sci Tech Book News

"The articles in this volume are a unique attempt to make sense of the academic environment from an archaeological perspective. They will be particularly useful for many scholars who work on college campuses as they force us to look at our surroundings in new ways. They are a reminder to all archaeologists that the near and familiar is as worthy of study as the far and exotic." Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, Volume 26 (2010)

Thoughtfully demonstrates how campus-based archaeology projects can improve higher educational institutions' preservation planning, encourage reflective discussions of institutional heritage, and provide engaging teaching opportunities that produce rigorous scholarship. These essays make a pwersuasive statement about the power of archaeology as a pedagogical mechanism, scholararly resource, and campus and community service commitment that should provide many more scholars and university administrators with evidence that exceptionally rich and overlooked resources are literally beneath their feet. The Journal of Higher Education

"Some of us have spent hours roaming college campuses, admiring the architecture, enjoying the parklike atmosphere, or fondly remembering days past. But how many of us considered what lies beneath the buildings and quadrangles? On many campuses a substantial accumulation of remnants from the college's history exists not far below the surface. Beneath the Ivory Tower: The Archaeology of Academia describes how archaeologists have used on-capmus excavations to gain a better knowledge of academic life in previous centuries, to train students in archaeologic techniques, and to foster a sense of a shared past among the numerous stakeholders on college campuses. An engaging read that should appeal to enthusiasts of material culture, students, and anyone interested in archaeology or the history of higher education. Two lessons can be gleaned from this book. The first is that campus archaeology can be a powerful tool for training students, eliciting public attention, and enhancing historical consiousness--but only when the proper environment exists, which means when all the stakeholders in the endeaver participate and are satisfied with their roles and the outcome. The second lesson is that campus archaeology rarely leads to earth-shattering discoveries." Winterthur Portfolio

"Succesfully integrat[es] field work at specific college campuses into larger trends within American academia." Northeast Historical Archaeology

Beneath the Ivory Tower is a solid thematic contribution to the field of historical archaeology . . . [which] illustrates, many times over, that historical archaeology is far more that a ‘handmaiden to history’ and has the potential to represent contribution of the field both to the public and behind the gates of the ivory tower itself.-- Southeastern Archaeology

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