As a child growing up in northwest Missouri, Newhard began to develop an interest in classics before he left middle school. Born into a family where both of his parents were teachers, Newhard read a lot of books including classics such as the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey." He says after reading the "Iliad," he turned to the appendix and gazed upon a map of Troy. This map would change the direction of his life towards the dry and dusty roads of Eastern Europe.
Newhard's fascination with classics grew as he grew older. He would use his high school library to research and read about Greek history. By the time he was 13 or 14, his love for archaeology spilled over into the linguistic side of classics, and he took the initiative to begin teaching himself ancient Greek.
After high school, Newhard enrolled at the University of Missouri-Columbia. While at Missouri, he studied classical art and archaeology as well as classical language. During his junior year, Newhard attended a study abroad program in Athens, Greece. After a year in such a beautiful place with so much history, his love for Greece and the Greek language increased tremendously.
After returning from Greece, Newhard graduated from Missouri then headed to the University of Cincinnati where he would earn his master's and Ph.D., both in classics.
"I made the decision to attend the University of Cincinnati because of its stellar Bronze Age archaeology concentration and because they were asking the same questions I had: 'Where did these ancient people eat? Where did they go to the bathrooms?'"
Newhard says that he "likes to see how archaeology tells you about the social-economic aspects of sites and regions. It also allows you to understand the relationship between land, environment, and the people's interaction with it."
At the College of Charleston Newhard seeks to, "bridge the gap between anthropology and classical archaeology." Combined with other fields of study, archaeology and cassics are "inherently interdisciplinary," he says.
Dr. Renard Harris, an education professor at the College, understands Newhard when considering human's past as it relates to culture. He says, "Culture speaks to all those areas that a particular group embraced to make sense of their world. So, considering how examining culture allows you to explore 'ways of being,' those 'ways of being' are naturally interdisciplinary."
Newhard is directs the College's Interdisciplinary Program in Archaeology. This program recognizes the completion of a minor course of study designed to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of a field that routinely integrates elements of the social sciences, humanities, arts, and natural sciences.
This minor requires the student to do a capstone project in order to get real-world experience and teaches students archaeological methods and approaches across disciplines and gives them much needed experience in the field.
This minor involves many departments at the college, including: Anthropology, Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Geology, Historic Preservation and History.
"Archaeology is shared by many disciplines and owned by none," Newhard says.
Newhard says students who complete the minor in archaeology gain skills that are treasured by employees in the world outside of college such as research, organization, writing, critical thinking and analysis.
And this program allows Newhard to do what he loves: to teach, to advise, and to train students to develop knowledge in archaeology.
According to ratemyprofessors.com, Newhard is a very effective teacher, advisor, and trainer. "Newhard rocks...that's all there is to it," a student from one of his Greek Civilization classes says. Other comments include: "Keeps things interesting!" and "Newhard rules. Enough said!"
Currently, Newhard is in the middle of the Avkat Archaeological Project. According to Newhard, "This project provides students an experiential learning experience by taking an active part in an archaeological survey in the steppes of north-central Anatolia." He is taking 10 College of Charleston students to Turkey this summer for the learning experience of a lifetime.
The main goal of Avkat will be the identification and documentation of previously unknown or poorly documented sites of all time periods, and relating those finds to environmental data.
Newhard is not new to this kind of research- he has been directing archaeological projects since 2000 in areas of the world such as Greece, Turkey, Albania, and the United States.
Some helpful links related to Dr. James Newhard:
Newhard's Homepage: http://www.cofc.edu/~newhardj/
Department of Classics: http://www.cofc.edu/~classics/
Interdisciplinary Archaeology Program: http://www.cofc.edu/~archaeology/