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Inaugural Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - Lucinda M. Langston

Lucinda M. Langston is the first recipient of the George Sells Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, offered by the ETSU Honors College.  Lucinda was awarded this fellowship on the basis of her proposal, "Prehistoric Pottery Production and Culture Chronology in Upper East Tennessee".

In collaboration with Dr. Jay Franklin, Lucinda is analyzing four pottery assemblages from archaeological sites in upper East Tennessee in an effort to determine where these assemblages fit into the region’s prehistoric cultural history.   Only two professional archaeological investigations have been conducted in this region, one in 1981 and the other in 1986. Robert Lafferty’s 1981 excavations conducted at Phipps Bend on the Holston River involved the development of a three-phase model for pottery production in the Early Woodland Period. This model serves as part of the framework for Lucinda’s new research on four Early Woodland sites in upper East Tennessee – the Fudd Campbell Site on the Watauga River, the Eastman Rockshelter, the AFG Site, and the Holston Defense Site on the Holston River.


“Most of the work that’s been done in this area is avocational,” says Lucinda. “There’s really been no professional publication on this subject. Not a lot is known about this area’s history, particularly in the period we’re studying which would be around 2300 to 2900 years ago.” Lucinda says that she hopes publication of her work will add to knowledge about the area and increase interest in the area and its history.


Lucinda was drawn to undergraduate research through her work in anthropology. “There are so many different areas, and so many directions to go,” she says. “It’s been great. I’ve learned a lot I didn’t know.”


Dr. Franklin says that his experience working with Lucinda in undergraduate research has been very positive. He states, “I came from a program with graduate students, and many of my colleagues told me that I would miss that. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the undergraduates’ enthusiasm and interest in the subject and with the University’s support.”


Dr. Franklin acknowledges that the University’s support has been crucial and that undergraduate research is of great benefit to the students. “For students planning to go on to graduate studies, you really need more than research in just your senior year. Undergraduate research provides that opportunity.”


Lucinda says that she is very happy with the work she has done with Dr. Franklin. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without him,” she says. “He’s a friend. He’d do anything for us. There’s not a day I don’t learn something from him.”


Lucinda is planning to move on to graduate work, possibly to Chapel Hill to study classical archaeology, or to the University of Tennessee Knoxville if she decides to continue with Southeastern study. To other students interested in undergraduate research, she encourages them to pursue it. “It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of dedication,” she says, “but it’s worth it.”


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