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College of Arts & Sciences
SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology


Steven D. Smith

Director of SCIAA
South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of South Carolina

Phone Number: (803) 576-6569
Office: 1321 Pendleton St
Division: Research Division


Steve Smith was born in Shelby, Ohio and was raised in Columbus. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1973 with a B.A. in history. During the late 1970s he attended graduate school, worked for a private contracting firm, and in 1982 became the Historic Archaeologist in Louisiana’s State Historic Preservation Office. He received a M.A. in Anthropology (with specialty in archaeology) in 1983 from the University of Kentucky. In 1986 he came to SCIAA as the Deputy State Archaeologist. In 1991 he was named Assistant Director of the Midwestern Archaeological Research Center at Illinois State University. Steve returned to SCIAA in 1992 and was the Head of the Resource Division, later the Applied Research Division, and obtained his Ph.D. in 2010 at the Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina. In 2011 he was named the Associate Director of SCIAA and in 2014 was named Director of SCIAA.


Steve's archaeological experience includes extensive cultural resource management work for the Department of Defense, which resulted in popular histories of American settlement in and around Fort Polk, Louisiana, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He also has written several histories about the lives of African American soldiers at such places as Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the Department of Defense. Steve’s research interest is U.S. military history, primarily focused on the American Revolution and American Civil War. For the past 20 years he has conducted archaeological investigations at numerous South Carolina battlefields, including, Folly Island, Blackstocks, Williamson’s Plantation, Musgrove’s Mill, Fort Balfour, Jacksonville, Camden, River’s Bridge, and the Charleston to Savannah Railroad Campaign. His dissertation topic was archaeological perspectives of partisan warfare with a focus on Francis Marion, which included many of the sites associated with Francis Marion’s partisan campaign including, Dunham’s Bluff, Snow’s Island, Blue Savannah, Black Mingo, Wadboo Plantation, Parkers Ferry, and Fort Motte. He has published extensively on the life Francis Marion in a variety of formats.


Steve teaches Conflict Archaeology and the Anthropology of Warfare in the USC Department of Anthropology.