Anthropology Lab and Archaeological Collections

Laboratory of Anthropology

Since its inception in the early 1970s, the Laboratory of Anthropology has been housed in the historic Liberty Hall Farmhouse. The laboratory here consists of storage facilities for field equipment, washing and drying stations for processing artifacts, computer workstations for student and faculty research and analysis, a library of research reports and archaeological source material, a small classroom, space and materials for bagging and storing artifacts, and the outdoor processing of sediment samples using wet screens and a flotation machine. Recently, the university temprarily provided teaching, research, and analysis space in the Early-Fielding Memorial Building on front campus. Liberty Hall artifacts and materials are stored and analyzed in Early-Fielding 110-113, which also acts as classroom and meeting spaces. Collections from the Longdale Mining Complex Project and other Federal collections are curated and analyzed in Early-Fielding GO 25. 

Archaeological Collections

W&L is fortunate to have facilities dedicated to caring for its archaeological collections, from initial washing as artifacts come out of the field, through cataloging and analysis, and, finally to curation. Archaeological excavation is by nature a destructive process, and archaeologists recognize that they have an ethical obligation to properly care for these collections so that current and future researchers can develop new insights from the collections.

For fifty years, W&L students, faculty, and staff have excavated a variety of historic and prehistoric sites in the local area, the collections of which are housed at the laboratory. These sites include Liberty Hall on the historic Washington and Lee University back campus and the Longdale Mining Complex in western Virginia. See our current research here.

For more information on student research possibilities in archaeology, see Opportunities for Students.