Summer Archaeology Program

Pottery Site Excavation

Call for Volunteers
(May 29-July 14, 2017)

Help excavate a truly unique pottery site
in North Carolina!

Lot 38 in Old Salem ~ the 1811 pottery kiln

Uncovering kiln bricks
during summer 2016 excavation


Old Salem Museums & Gardens, in Winston-Salem, NC, is now accepting volunteer applications for the summer 2017 program in historical and public archaeology. This summer’s program focuses on the continuing excavation of a potter’s kiln located on Lot 38 within the Old Salem National Historic Landmark District.

Volunteers will receive experience in historical archaeology field and laboratory methods, including hands-on experience with historic ceramics and artifact identification.

Volunteers must commit to working for a period of at least one week (8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri.), be at least 18 years old, pass a criminal background check, and be able to perform physically demanding tasks in hot weather while maintaining attention to detail. Volunteers will be responsible for providing their own housing and transportation to and from the site.

For more information and to apply, please contact Tyler Cox, Manager of Community Relations & Volunteers, at 336-721-7364 or email


Download the Archaeology Volunteer Flyer here.


For more information about Archaeology at Old Salem,
please visit here.

The Moravian Pottery tradition is highly significant in American ceramics, and in Salem, kilns like the 1811 kiln on Lot 38 produced some of the most innovative work. Though Salem’s main pottery shop was located across the street, Rudolph Christ (pronounced “krist”) oversaw the building and operation of the kiln on Lot 38 as Salem’s master potter from 1789 to 1821. He became well known for his fine earthenware products, including his popular zoomorphic bottle forms.

After Christ’s retirement in 1821, Salem’s new master potter John Holland took over the pottery and the kiln continued to operate until it was decommissioned in 1829. This summer we expect to find evidence from both periods of the kiln’s operation.



To better understand the range of technical choices available to potters working on Lot 38, this summer’s excavation is expected to reveal the following:

  • its design, construction, usage, and modification over time
  • the range of wares fired
  • its relationship to other pottery-related activity areas and features on Lot 38.

Ultimately, this project examines how the introduction of new and innovative wares affected the production of Moravian pottery, the social relations of the workmen, apprentices, journeymen, and master potters who made it, and the people who used it.


blue_green bottle_f2
faience ring bottle recovered archaeologically,
attributed to Rudolph Christ