CCU Professor Named Co-director of Newly-formed Hobcaw Barony Institute

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Coastal Carolina University anthropologist Carolyn Dillian has been named co-director of the new Belle W. Baruch Institute for South Carolina Studies at Hobcaw Barony.

CCU and Francis Marion University recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Hobcaw Barony to create the Belle W. Baruch Institute for South Carolina Studies at Hobcaw Barony. The institute will offer students and faculty at CCU and FMU the opportunity to “engage in the study of the cultural and historical heritage of South Carolina with an emphasis on the relationship between humans and the coastal environment that has shaped our shared heritage.” The three partnering entities will also develop and present public educational programs at the 16,000-acre research reserve located on the South Carolina coast near Georgetown.

Dillian is an associate professor who chairs CCU’s Department of Anthropology and Geography. As co-director of the Baruch Institute alongside FMU’s Lynn Hansen, she will facilitate collaborative and interdisciplinary research at Hobcaw Barony.

“I am very excited to join forces with a diverse group of scholars in my own work on the prehistoric archaeological sites at Hobcaw Barony,” said Dillian. “My archaeological research is focused on understanding the way in which Native American inhabitants of the region used coastal environments over the last few thousand years and the ways in which people adapted and innovated as coastlines changed through time. This interdisciplinary research will not only help us understand the lives of people along the South Carolina coast in the past, but will also contribute to our understanding of the expected outcomes of present-day sea level rise on our coastlines and communities.”

  Dillian joined Coastal Carolina University in 2010 as an archaeologist specializing in prehistoric technology. She has conducted archaeological excavations throughout the U.S. and in Kenya. In South Carolina, her ongoing field research at the Anne Tilghman Boyce Coastal Reserve at Waties Island focuses on the ways in which environmental changes contributed to new subsistence patterns in which people relied heavily on shellfish as part of seasonal hunting and gathering. Dillian earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has conducted archaeological excavations throughout the U.S and in Kenya and specializes in the study of stone tools to advance our understanding of past human interaction and migration. She is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. “We’re very fortunate to have an individual with Dr. Dillian’s abilities in this position,” said Dan Ennis, dean of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “The institute should do great work toward increasing our understanding of this region.”

Hanson, an English professor at Francis Marion University, has been working to create a database of bank records that provide insights into the life of Belle Baruch.

Hobcaw Barony is the former estate and hunting preserve of financier and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch. Belle Baruch was his daughter and heir, and the estate became a preserve after her death in 1964. The property is owned by the nonprofit Belle W. Baruch Foundation.