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James Newhard
Classics










Professor James Newhard

 


Professor Helping Discover Ancient
Settlement in Turkey

By Cody D'Ambrosio

Dr. James M.L. Newhard is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston in the Department of Classics, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian. He became interested in Classical Studies as a young boy living in northwest Missouri. Newhard stated that he was always interested in history and was an avid reader. He became captivated by "The Illiad" and upon completion of the epic, saw a section in the back of the book detailing the real Troy in today's world.

After this, he started to teach himself Ancient Greek. He became enamored with the subject and upon enrolling in college decided that he wanted to study classical archaeology. He is especially interested in Aegean prehistory.


In 1994, Dr. Newhard received bachelor's degrees in classical languages and classical art and archaeology from the University of Missouri - Columbia. In 1996, he received his master's degree in classics from the University of Cincinnati. In 2003, he received his Ph.D. in classics from the same institution. He is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, the British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara and serves as the College's representative to the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Newhard is the director of the College's new interdisciplinary program in archaeology, which involves faculty from various departments across campus. Many departments-- Anthropology, Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Geology, Historic Preservation and History-- offer courses which count towards the minor's credit hours requirement.

"The minor in archaeology is the only program in the state to present archaeology as a unified and multidisciplinary field of study shared between the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences," Newhard says. He says the goal of the minor is to give students a taste for archaeological methods and a groundwork in relative principles from the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences, and to be familiar with the core elements of archaeology.

Newhard also feels that a student with a major in a related field and archaeology minor will be able to show future potential employers that they have experience within the field of archaeology, and will strengthen students' applications to graduate studies.

The new minor requires that students go on at least one expedition in order to be familiar with fieldwork. Many options are offered to students to fulfill the fieldwork requirement. Newhard wants interested students to know that the minor has a built in option of conducting additional fieldwork with an institution outside of the College of Charleston.

Since 2003, Dr. Newhard has been the coordinator of the GÖksu Archaeological Project. The project is scheduled to run for five years and is currently in its third year. This project is a detailed investigation of the upper GÖksu River valley in southern Turkey. Prior to the GÖksu Archaeological Project, no intensive field survey work had taken place in the valley. Fieldwork is producing new information concerning settlement and land use changes over time.

"We are coming across many exciting discoveries that are changing people's perception of the GÖksu valley," he says. "Prior to the project, people felt that the only structures within the area were the Churches of Alahan which date to c. 500 AD. We now know that is not the case. In spring of 2004, the team discovered a major prehistoric site dating back to 3500-2500 B.C. Within this site, they found a huge density of ceramics and stone tools."

The next year, they confirmed the existence of a late Roman city right below the Ecclesiastical Center of Alahan, which consisted of a dense ceramic scatter, evidence of a city wall, and tombs. In addition, fields surveyed outside of the town yielded evidence of wine and olive production, additional tombs and a Roman road.

Every summer, Newhard leads a group of students to Turkey. Student participation and undergraduate research is vital to his research, and he believes strongly in incorporating undergraduate education within a strong research program. In 2006, the course will run from May 18-June 18 and will most certainly provide students with a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"Students who go to Turkey to engage in the GÖksu Archaeological Project have a wonderful opportunity," says Dr. Frank Morris, a classics department colleague. "They will be getting the chance to participate in classical archaeology performed in the most up-to-date terms and they will benefit from excellent training."

It is a unique experience since students actively participate in an ongoing archaeological program. They also have the fortune of working with and learning from a world renowned group of specialists and scholars. All interested students need to act fast because this will be the last excursion to Turkey until spring of 2008 when fieldwork is scheduled to resume.

"It will be interesting to see 30 years from now what contributions his (Newhard's) generation will have made to the development of classical archaeology," says Dr. Morris.

Links:

Newhard's Homepage: http://www.cofc.edu/~newhardj/
Department of Classics: http://www.cofc.edu/~classics/
Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program: http://www.cofc.edu/~archaeology/
Göksu Project: http://www.cofc.edu/~gap/

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