At the age of 12 I participated in my first archaeological dig at a Woodland Indian site in a corn field in Greene County, PA. I found a fish scale in a fire pit and I was hooked. At the age of 16 I attended field school at Clarion State College.
That fall, with 6 college credits already under my belt from field school, I began my undergrad studies at University of Pittsburgh where I majored in anthropology/archaeology with a photography minor. I studied under department head Dr. James Adovasio who was the director of the famous Meadowcroft Rock Shelter. I concentrated on Woodland Indian studies with some historical study with a special research project of a plantation in my senior year. I also worked for several years at Carnegie Museum doing artifact photography.
After I graduated (cum laude) I was accepted into the Nautical Archaeology program at Texas A&M University where I concentrated on historical archaeology of the Americas. I studied under Dr. Donny Hamilton, director of the Port Royal, Jamaica, underwater site. For several seasons I worked in the field at Port Royal. There I participated in underwater excavations, artifact processing and conservation, photography, darkroom, and ACAD/GPS survey processing.
Back in Texas I spent most of my time in the A&M conservation lab processing the thousands of artifacts we’d recovered the previous seasons. Artifacts from wet sites require a completely different approach to conservation, and A&M has pioneered many of those techniques.
I was also co-editor of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology’s monthly newsletter.
I devoted one summer in Jamaica to archival research by microfilming 17th century records at the Spanish Town archives. I later used these documents as the basis of my thesis: Probate Inventories of Port Royal, Jamaica.
I spent another summer back in Pittsburgh, where I worked in my old department at Pitt doing artifact conservation, research and stratigraphy mapping at Meadowcroft Rock Shelter.
I graduated from A&M with a Master’s degree in Nautical Archaeology with a minor in Photography.
After I moved to New Orleans in 1989 I worked for Goodwin & Assoc. doing contract archaeology for about a year. Soon after this, life turned me in a different direction, and I got away from archaeology, but still kept in touch with my associates at TAMU, many of whom are professors now.
Although I am not doing archaeology now, I use the skills, experience and training in many things I do now including graphic design, genealogy, and publications.