Facilities and Collections

Anthropology Laboratory 

The Anthropology Laboratory is housed in the nine-room historic Liberty Hall Farmhouse. The lab consists of five networked computers for students of Sociology and Anthropology to analyze collections, facilities for processing artifacts from initial washing to final curation using archival materials, artifact storage areas, and a museum area with permanent display cases.

The Anthropology Laboratory houses a small museum highlighting findings from nearly over thirty years of excavation, particularly as part of the Spring Term course known affectionately as "The Dig." An exhibit focusing on the archaeology of W&L's 18th- and 19th-century campuses opened in 2006.

The Museum of Archaeology does not currently maintain regular hours. Before you visit, please contact Karen Lyle at (540) 458-8798 or lylek@wlu.edu to schedule a time to see the museum.

Archaeological Collections

W&L is fortunate to have a facility dedicated to caring for its archaeological collections, from initial washing as artifacts come out of the field, through cataloging and analysis, and, finally to curation. Archaeological excavation is by nature a destructive process, and archaeologists recognize that they have an ethical obligation to properly care for these collections so that current and future researchers can develop new insights from the collections.

For over three decades, W&L students, faculty, and staff have excavated a variety of historic and prehistoric sites in the local area, the collections of which are housed at the laboratory. These sites include Liberty Hall on the historic Washington and Lee University campus and the Longdale Mining Complex in western Virginia.

For more information on student research possibilities in archaeology, see Opportunities for Students.