Vintage JMU Archaeological Research Logo combined with new JARL logo
Students working in archaeology lab

The JMU Archaeology Research Laboratory is located in the Frye building. The laboratory is directed by Dr. Dennis BlantonDr. Di Hu, and Dr. Julie Solometo.

To find out more about some of the recent work we are doing with students, check our our news and media coverage.

Classroom space

Frye 103 is a shared classroom space. It has reference collections for teaching, multimedia capabilities, whiteboards, and adjustable table arrangements.

Frye 103 classroom
Frye 103 classroom

The full complement of traditional archaeological field gear is housed in the lab. Aside from standard excavation tools, the equipment includes cameras, a total station transit, and UAVs (aka, drones).

Reference Collection

The laboratory holds an extensive collection of artifacts for comparative research. It includes examples of stone types utilized by local Native groups, stone tools and ceramic sherds representative of specific times and places, as well as ceramic, glass, and metal artifacts typical of historic period sites.


An impressive library is housed in the laboratory that contains many works unavailable elsewhere on campus. Naturally, most of the items pertain to archaeology but many others concern local and regional history. Unique items include technical reports prepared for cultural resource management projects and dozens of publications describing an array of material culture categories. A large collection of paper maps is also part of the holdings. (Note: Library materials are available for in-house use only.)

American Southwest Lab

The American Southwest lab is run by Dr. Julie Solometo and houses reference materials, documentation, and collections from Ancestral Puebloan sites in Arizona and New Mexico. Students working in the lab focus on the analysis of ceramics and stone tools, spatial data, architectural information, and ancient images, including petroglyphs and pictographs.

American Southeast Lab

From this lab area Dr. Blanton directs a range of archaeological projects situated in the Middle Atlantic and the Southeastern regions of the United States. Many projects engage local communities by serving their archaeological needs. They provide frequent and convenient opportunities for students to participate in archaeological field and laboratory studies. Other projects concern the topic of early colonial encounters between Indigenous populations and Europeans. Most of this work is conducted in Georgia but some of it also pertains to Jamestown in Virginia.

Experimental Archaeology and Geoarchaeology Lab

The Experimental Archaeology and Geoarchaeology Lab, directed by Dr. Di Hu, recreates and experiments with ancient technologies. It houses a reference collection of recreated artifacts. The lab is equipped to run controlled ancient projectile experiments. The lab also has microscopes with the capability to study microscopic remains of food residues on ancient tools and usewear on ancient tools. Access to a Niton XL5 Analyzer (pXRF) enables the analysis and characterization of geological raw source materials and igneous stone artifacts.

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