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Cheryl Ward, Ph.D., RPA

Director, Center for Archaeology and Anthropology
Associate Professor of History, Maritime Archaeology


Sorting 13,000 flakes and chips of obsidian excavated from an early quarry in Equador under the direction of Dr. William J. Mayer-Oakes at Texas Tech University convinced me that archaeology would always offer challenges and demand creativity on the way to understanding more about how and why ancient people did what they did. Since then, my research has taken me to the deserts of Egypt, toxic and oxygen-free waters in the deep Black Sea, and to the bottom of four great seas.

At Coastal Carolina University, I am excited to be part of a new Center for Archaeology and Anthropology. Using interdisciplinary research, three new faculty members will establish projects exploring the lives and lifeways of modern and ancient peoples. Focused on the Low Country of South Carolina and its unique heritage, the Center also incorporates a global perspective.

My research examines the ability of humans to expand their cultural and physical horizons by exploring the origin, elaboration, and impact of technology on society by studying the remains of wooden boats and ships. By circumstance, opportunity and design, much of my research targets some of the oldest existing ships and boats, those buried in the deserts of Egypt between 5,000 and 2,500 years ago. The first pictures of sails in the entire world come from ancient Egypt, and the innovative process may be examined directly through the remains of complex technological artifacts that span 3,000 years. The reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian ship and its voyage expand our perceptions of the Egyptians as a maritime people on the Red Sea.

I also study plant remains, predominantly from shipwreck sites, as a means to learn more about ancient and historic seafaring, exchange and society. Rather than simply producing reports with species lists, I am interested in discovering the cultural and ecological significance of different plants and plant products used and transported by sea.

Cheryl Ward received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Texas A&M University, an M.S. degree from the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London, an M.A. degree from Texas A&M University, and a B.A. degree from Texas Tech University.


Contact Information:

Office Location: 124 Sands Hall

Mailing Address:

Dr. Cheryl Ward
Center for Archaeology and Anthropology
Department of History
Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528-6054

Phone: 843-349-6657

Fax: 843-349-2847