The Old Salem Department of Archaeology, under the direction of Dr. Michael O. Hartley, conducts an active program of research and exploration into the material and cultural evidence of the Moravian experience in North Carolina. The Moravians, a Protestant religious group, have been present in North Carolina since 1753 on land purchased from Carolina Proprietor Lord Granville, a tract totaling nearly 100,000 acres. They called their land “Wachau,” after the Danube River valley region of that name, and it soon became known as “Wachovia.”
Research conducted by the Department of Archaeology focuses on the archaeological resource within Salem, the relationship of this central town to the broader tract of Wachovia, and the Moravian population of Salem and Wachovia through time. The Archaeology Department carries out careful study of the historic resource, site evaluation, preparation of research designs, and excavation. Reports produced in this work include cultural information gained through study and excavation, and through processing and analysis of recovered artifacts in the Archaeology Department’s laboratory. Reports and articles prepared by the Old Salem Museums & Gardens Department of Archaeology, as well as presentations to professionals and the broader public, increase awareness and understanding of the significance of Old Salem and Wachovia.