Deagan Archaeological Research Lab Aims to Raise Bar for Student Archaeologists

Flagler College students work at a dig site.
June 26, 2023
By Anna Boone
Dr. Kathy Deagan sees the future of Flagler’s archaeology program as promising – brimming with potential and the enthusiasm of students working there.

“I have always thought that Flagler College should be one of the premier training grounds for undergraduate archeologists,” said the Distinguished Research Curator in Archaeology Emerita at the University of Florida.

Since receiving her doctorate in anthropology from the University of Florida in 1974, Deagan built an extensive career in archaeological and anthropological research and education. But even before concluding her studies, Deagan was conducting research and fieldwork in St. Augustine.

It was in part Deagan’s belief that as the Nation’s Oldest City, St. Augustine is one “of the better places for training of archeologists in the country.” That is part of what influenced her to become the lead donor for Flagler’s Deagan Archaeological Research Lab, which opened this past spring. Deagan is also a member of the Flagler College Board of Trustees.

For archaeology and anthropology professors like Dr. Lori Lee, the lab will provide students with the resources, space and collaborative environment to successfully analyze locally sourced artifacts and work to accurately inform the narrative of St. Augustine’s history.

As a major collaborator in its development, Lee said the lab will feature tools like advanced artifact cataloging and ArcGIS geospatial software on computers, high-powered microscopes, archaeological flotation devices and artifact collection storage areas. She said working with this high-level equipment will help students “build confidence and professional knowledge” while giving them “a really strong foundation” for future research and careers. But Deagan said the lab will also benefit students beyond these two fields.

“There’s a lot of cross-disciplinary fertilization in an archaeology lab,” she said.

History, forensics, natural sciences and zoology are some of the fields that Deagan said are well suited for collaboration in an archaeological setting.

Deagan hopes the lab’s potential for interdisciplinary work along with the professional-grade tools for analysis will draw students and researchers alike to Flagler’s archaeology program.

“If things continue to go the way they are, we will begin to attract many more students from many different places,” she said.

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