Hello, I'm Edwin Lyon.
In my day job I am an archaeologist for the New Orleans District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.  (But please note that I "work for" the Army, I am not in the Army.  I don't even own a green suit.)  In the my spare time I teach courses in The Mississippi River in History and Applied History at Tulane University in New Orleans.  I am also a fellow of the recently established Center for the Study of New Orleans and the Mississippi River at Tulane. 

How I arrived here is kind of complicated and interesting, at least to me.  I was born in New Jersey, went to school in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Louisiana.  I graduated from Louisiana State University and later received my M.A. in anthropology from LSU.  For a number of years I worked in college textbook sales, travelling from the Canadian border to Texas and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains.  I finally received my Ph.D. in history from LSU in 1982 for a dissertation on the history of federal archaeology in the Southeast during the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

In 1996 I published a revised version as A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology with the University of Alabama Press.  The book received the Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize from the University of Alabama Press for the best manuscript signed by the Press in 1994 in Southern history, literature, and culture. 

Edwin Lyon- 
Online Guest

and Archaeologist

In 1982 I began working for the New Orleans District as an historian but that's not the end of the story.  Years ago, I had gone out on a number of archaeological digs.  I soon learned that archaeology is work, hard work, in often unpleasant surroundings.  So I decided I certainly didn't want to be an archaeologist. 

Well, after several years of working as a historian for the Corps of Engineers my job was eliminated and I was transferred into a position as an archaeologist.  It was the best thing that every happened to me.  But I am still a sidewalk archaeologist, proud that my white sneakers never get dirty.  Most of my work focuses on identification, study, and protection of historic sites.  I have managed projects on locks along the Mississippi River, historic districts, forts, flood control structures, bridges, and other kinds of historic properties.  The contractors working for me have used archaeological surveys, architectural studies, and historical research in their work. 

One of the most interesting archaeological projects I have been involved in was an excavation, or what we call data recovery, at Nina Plantation, on the west bank of the Mississippi River near New Roads, Louisiana.  One of our archaeologists, Joan Exnicios, managed the project and I helped out when needed.  We found a plantation where sugar and cotton had been grown.  The river had eroded the bank until the land was abandoned and a levee setback constructed farther back from the river.  Over a period of time the spring floods of the Mississippi River covered the area with a thick layer of sediment about 3 feet thick, protecting the archaeological remains.  Our archaeological contractor, R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates, recovered over a hundred boxes of artifacts and lots of information about how the planters and African Americans who were enslaved on the plantation lived
For more information about the New Orleans District you can visit our web site at http://www.lmn.usace.army.mil.  For more information about me, my interests, and my courses please visit my personal web site at  http://home.earthlink.net/~edwinlyon 

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