Nicholas Freidin

Dr. Freidin received his D.Phil. in Archaeology from the University of Oxford (Keble College) in 1981, his Diploma in European Archaeology from the University of Oxford (Keble College) in 1975, and his A.B. from Georgetown University (Washington DC) in 1973. He is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists and the Council for West Virginia Archaeology. His research interests are Eastern Woodlands prehistory; Late Prehistoric and Contact Period archaeology in the eastern USA.


Curriculum Vitae

Freidin is an archaeologist who began his research in Britain and France, and pursued additional studies in Israel and Cyprus.  After he was hired by Marshall in 1983, his focus changed to the Late Prehistoric Period in the Eastern Woodlands, a period between approximately AD 1000 and the time of contact between Native Americans and the European –African societies of Colonial America.

His current research involves the indigenous cultural transformations and/or responses following contact with external, more dominant societies.  His research concerning the native peoples of the Middle Ohio Valley and their first contact with Euro-African (colonial) society has resulted in published papers, conference presentations, and museum exhibitions.

Freidin teaches several courses, including Physical Anthropology, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology and Methods, Theory in Archaeology, Classical Archaeology, and World Prehistory.  In addition, he teaches courses that focus on prehistory and ethnography of various parts of the world, including North America, Africa, and Oceania.  He spends part of his summers teaching the archaeological field training class (i.e., the field school), the longest continuously offered archaeological field school in the state.

Serving as the Director of the Archaeological Field School, Freidin leads students into field sites in West Virginia to learn how to survey, excavate, and record their findings.  Through their research, students may discover remnants of West Virginia’s first inhabitants.  Field projects have included several seasons at Clover and Snidow, both Late Prehistoric villages; and at Saint-Albans, an Early Archaic site with a Woodland Period component.  Occasionally, other institutions, such as Concord University, and various vocational organizations, such as the WV Archaeological Society, participate in the Field School.  Dr. Freidin also runs the archaeology laboratory, where materials recovered from field projects are processed and analyzed.

Freidin is certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists in fieldwork and teaching.  He is also a member of the Society for American Archaeology, the Council for West Virginia Archaeology, the West Virginia Academy of Science, and the West Virginia Humanities Center.  In addition, he serves as the Chair of the Huntington Preservation Commission.


The Marshall University Archaeological Fieldschool

Archaeology, the science of reconstructing and understanding past and present cultures from their material remains, is taught in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Marshall University, in the classroom, in the laboratory, and also in the field.  Hands-on instruction is strongly encouraged.  The department provides the opportunity for students to learn the basic techniques of surveying, excavation and recording, to experience the thrill of discovery, by offering an annual archaeological field school, a three to six credit course (ANT 323), during Summer Session 5.  This kind of practical experience is a big asset for those who wish to continue in archaeology as a career.

The sites investigated by the field school in the last twenty plus years cover the span of human occupation in West Virginia, from the Early Archaic, at St-Albans (ca. 6000 BCE, Kanawha County), through the Late Prehistoric, at Snidow (ca. 1250 CE, Mercer County) and Clover (ca. 1580 CE, Cabell County), to the historic period, at the Madie Carroll House in Guyandotte (ca. 1850 CE, Cabell County).  In addition to gaining practical knowledge of archaeological field techniques, students learn about our state’s long past, from the earliest Native American nomadic foragers and their journey towards becoming settled farmers, to the first Euro-American and African-American colonists who established the communities we live in today.

No previous experience is required to enroll in ANT 323, only an interest of things past, a curiosity of how we got to where we are today, and a taste for detective work.  And yes, getting very dirty in the process.  It is hard work, often tedious, but always rewarding.

For more information, contact Dr. Nicholas Freidin, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Smith Hall Room 428/424 or call 304-696-2794.  Click here for information on Summer 2017 Fieldschool.

The MU-AFS has been written up in in the Marshall Parthenon.

Watch a video featuring the MU-AFS