Student: Chloe Scattergood
As Chloe Scattergood enters the final semester of her master’s degree program in historical archaeology at East Carolina University, she wants people to know that her field isn’t just about digging through dirt. It’s about real people and the lives they lived.
Scattergood’s infatuation with archaeology and history began early, in her hometown of Cary.
“I feel like the groundwork was definitely laid when I was a kid, me and my dad used to watch the History Channel and NOVA documentaries all the time,” Scattergood said. “The thought of studying people or learning about people that I will never meet who can still have an impact on my life or humanity’s experience in general has always really appealed to me.”
After starting her master’s degree at ECU, Scattergood quickly became involved with the Ayden Project — which is dedicated to mapping and uncovering ancestral African American graves around Greenville and Ayden.
“The Ayden Project has been really rewarding. It’s been a lot of mapping, a lot of data entry, a lot of just talking to people, but that’s a project I’ve been involved with for a while now that I’ve really liked,” Scattergood said.
The goal of the endeavor is to ultimately connect living people with their lost relatives. The initiative has now produced a chart with hundreds of grave sites mapped.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing the project progress from us being out in the middle of the woods, trying to not trip over sticks, to all of a sudden having a map that shows us where hundreds of people were buried,” Scattergood said.
Scattergood served in a leadership role on another archeological pursuit last summer in Bath, where she believes she and her team excavated a merchant cellar. The site had been excavated in 1960; however, the team decided to re-excavate to reveal any missing data from previous explorations.
“What I’ve found most compelling about the artifacts from Bath, is the presence of Chinese and Japanese porcelain — which would have been quite expensive to procure — and a copper coin cut in half,” Scattergood said. “To me, this might suggest the owner of this cellar was both wealthy and perhaps catered to other wealthy individuals in Bath during the 18th century.”
The excavation and discovery of the porcelain artifacts gave Scattergood an insight into the class and status of those who may have inhabited the area, which directly correlates with the topic of her thesis titled “An Eighteenth Century Archaeology of Socioeconomics in Historic Bath, N.C.”
“I’m interested to see how people’s material wealth has changed and developed through time,” Scattergood said. “What draws me to it is that it’s a field very concerned with marginalized groups and the disenfranchised — women or African American slaves or people who don’t necessarily get a voice in the historical record.”
Scattergood recognizes that history and archaeology often get grouped together in the public mind. However, there are some differences that she believes people should know when it comes to the archaeological world.
“Unlike history, archaeology can unearth the details about people that they don’t necessarily want you to see,” Scattergood said. “You can’t hide behind the things that you’re throwing away or the things that you leave behind.”
After graduation, Scattergood looks forward to her future in the archaeological community. She aims to get a position in government or public archaeology and refuses to lose sight of her ultimate purpose.
“No matter what, I really want to focus on helping to bring archaeology to the public and to show people why they should care about it and why it’s something that’s important to everyone and not just professors, and fans of Indiana Jones.”
Name: Chloe Scattergood
College: Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
Classification/Year: Graduate student
Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
Hobbies/interests: Rock climbing, reading and spending quality time with my roommate’s cat
Favorite hangout: The anthropology graduate lounge
Favorite place on campus: The library Starbucks
Favorite place to eat: Bateeni Mediterranean Grill
Favorite class: Public archaeology
Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Charlie Ewen
Favorite TV show: “House of the Dragon”
Favorite bands/musicians: CHAI
Favorite movie: “Pride and Prejudice”
Favorite app: Spotify
Dream job: State archaeologist
Role model: Anthony Bourdain
Your words to live by: “You can be anything you want, as long as it’s OUTRAGEOUS!”
What advice do you have for other students? Do the readings for that elective you’re in with the funny title, they’re always the most interesting.
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? That our conservation lab on West Campus has actual cannons from Blackbeard’s ship!