Google Justin Carlson and you’ll find that he’s a student who is also an accomplished singer-songwriter. With a style that’s part Johnny Cash, part Dave Matthews, he creates songs that capture his experiences. Anthropology has taught him that songs like his are woven into the cultural context he’s studied in his discipline.
Since coming to the College, Justin has spent time entertaining in coffee house-type venues around town. As much as he enjoys music, however, his greatest passion is archaeology. “In high school I was always interested in ancient, Native American cultures and the artifacts they left behind,” he says. “At the College I took an introduction to anthropology course, which led me to volunteer on an excavation site at Dixie Plantation. That got me hooked.”
In courses such as Theories on the Origins of Agriculture and Southeastern Archaeology, “we considered some of the most perplexing questions regarding the history of humankind, like how and why agriculture spread so rapidly throughout the world. I was blown away when I learned about all of the cultures and civilizations that essentially thrived in our own backyard.”
To his coursework, Justin added an impressive array of field experiences at sites throughout the southeastern U.S., and in Turkey, France and Peru. “I’ve worked on excavations that range from Thomas Jefferson´s Monticello to Neanderthal caves in France to colonial sites around Charleston. My professors also helped me line up a couple of important internships – one in cultural resource management and one at the Michaux excavation outside of Charleston. I also worked at the Topper Archaeological site in Allendale, S.C., which is considered an essential piece of the puzzle of human migration into the Americas.”
Where will anthropology take Justin? Basically, wherever he chooses to go, because anthropology can be a great background for law, social work, science or business, as well as many other fields. That’s the versatile nature of the discipline. As for Justin, “One day, I hope to conduct my own excavations on past cultures.” No doubt he’ll capture some of that in song.