Abby the ArchaeBus Enters the University of South Carolina

March 8, 2018

Dear Diary,

I had SUCH an exciting Saturday two weekends ago in Columbia, South Carolina I can hardly wait to tell you all about it! First, I got to travel to another state, adding a third state to my resume of Georgia and Florida. Two of my New South handlers, Jenna Pirtle and Scott Morris drove me from Stone Mountain to the Columbia office of New South Associates where they dropped me off (Figure 1). I got to rest there overnight (because it is a tiring drive of over three hours on roads I’ve never ever traveled).  A thanks and shout-out to Natalie Adams Pope, Executive Vice President of New South for inviting me to spend the night in your parking lot. Second, I got to go to yet another university! You realize, Diary, this is the THIRD university that I have been invited to present at in the past few years (University of Georgia, Armstrong Atlantic [at the time], and the University of South Carolina). I do hear talk occasionally of receiving an honorary degree … ahem…








Figure 1.

My trek to the University of South Carolina (USC) was due to an invitation from the Archaeological Society of South Carolina (ASSC), who was holding its 50th Anniversary and wanted yours truly, Abby the ArchaeoBus to be the main attraction.  An excellent decision, I might add. Diary, did you know that the Society for Georgia Archaeology (SGA) is like a sister organization to ASSC? Well, like a 30-year older sister! SGA was started in the 1930s and ASSC began in the 1960s. Both are excellent advocates of preserving and studying fantastic archaeological sites and doing public outreach about them. ..  which comes back to me, of course!

Dr. Keith Stephenson (he’s not the kind of doctor that operates on you; but a doctor of intellect and philosophy and all that stuff). He’s an archaeologist and Director of the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program through the USC, and the current President of ASSC. Dr. Keith helped get me a great location in front of Gambrell Hall on the USC campus. Yup, I drove right past the barricades and onto the pedestrian walkway, where no ArchaeoBus has driven before. I do have to admit I looked pretty stunning there and the landscaping complemented me nicely (Figure 2).








Figure 2.

Diary, as I tell you this entry it is the worldwide Day of the Woman. That is so appropriate because Gambrell Hall was named after Dr. Mary Latimer Gambrell. She was the president of Hunter College in New York City back in the 1960s. Mary was the little sister of E. Smythe Gambrell, an Atlanta attorney who donated the $1 million to construct the steel building in 1976 in her honor, two years after she died. As an ArchaeoBus, I also must inject that the limestone on the front of the building came all the way from Indiana! Guess they didn’t like any of the fine rocks in South Carolina, huh?

My old handlers, Veronica and Tammy H. set me up, with some help from Real Dan who also rode shotgun from the parking lot to USC. It warmed my radiator to see them all again (Figure 3). One of their old friends, Virginia Pierce came out to help, too (Figure 4). She is pretty neat because she was an archaeologist for years and now is a special archivist librarian person; archaeology and books – both things I can relate to. I got to make some new friends who staffed my activities throughout the day. Most of them were students working in the Applied Research Division of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the university. That division is directed by archaeologist Dr. Karen Smith (she’s one of those fancy intellectual doctors, too!)  Hey, I wonder if I could become one of those. Hmm “Dr. Abby the ArchaeoBus”. I like the sound of that! After all, I know lots about archaeology and I had thousands of books about all sorts of things when I was a book mobile… Oh, uh, sorry Diary. As I was telling you, Dr. Karen was cool because she lined up all these wonderful Anthropology students to work with me, including Sarah Christenbury, Johnny Dodge (I love his sweaters!), Abby (what a fantastic name!) Geedy, Caroline Hall, and Lillian Ondus. Amanda Douglass also came out to help. She works in the same division, but is not a student anymore. All the Applied Research Division folks and other helpers were very friendly and enthusiastic and smart (Figures 5, 6, 7). They tried so hard to get anyone who walked by to climb aboard and to try my many hands-on activities. I think they must be very good students and can’t wait to see them when they become full-time professionals! Thank you all, and thanks to my handlers for helping! It was fun to see passers-by and the ASSC members when they took a break from their conference to check out my archaeology educational bling (Figures 8 and 9).

Figure 3.

Figure 4.

Figure 5.

Figure 6.

Figure 7.

Figure 8.

Figure 9.

In closing, Diary, I have to say I had a swell time in South Carolina. Maybe the Archaeological Society of South Carolina and the Society for Georgia Archaeology can work together more often to share with residents and visitors all the amazing information about the archaeological sites in those states. I mean after all, the organizations are sisters!