Archaeologist Stacey Young

Park Service Profiles

Meet Stacey Young, an Archaeologist for South Carolina State Parks! Stacey grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Many of her summers were spent with her grandparents, who took Stacey, her brother and their cousin camping. During these trips, they would visit historic sites, museums and educational programs at state parks. Stacey says, “I think these experiences were very influential on who I am today and why I chose the field that I am in. Both of my parents also provided me with similar experiences.”

Stacey earned her Bachelor’s in Anthropology from the University of Memphis and her Master’s in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Southern Mississippi. Many of her early field trainings during undergrad were held in state parks. She has also held an assistantship with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and worked as an intern in Collections and Curation at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, while in graduate school. Stacey even worked part time at a greenhouse and garden-center, where she gained knowledge about plants.

Before coming to state parks, Stacey worked for the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) as the Director of the Applied Research Division and various cultural resource management (CRM) firms; New South Associates and TRC. In 2010, she was contracted for an archaeology project at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site. There, she met David Jones, the state parks archaeologist at that time.

“During that project we identified the brick foundation of a house located within an area where enslaved workers lived and worked. David continued excavations at the site through several seasons of fieldwork which utilized volunteers, and I assisted with that work. We received a couple of grants which included engaging with local communities in the archaeological research.”

Stacey also worked on archaeology projects at Cheraw State Park, Edisto Beach State Park, and Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site before joining SCPRT, where she has been for the last three years.

Like many of our staff, daily activities can vary day-to-day depending if Stacey is in the office or out in parks. Overall, Stacey manages the archaeology program for South Carolina State Parks. “This includes resource protection, research and interpretation and education. In many instances, these duties overlap. Public outreach, especially engaging with descendants and local communities who have direct ties to the archaeological sites and histories, is an important part of my work,” she says.

Stacey works directly with Regional Chiefs and Park Managers when they are planning park improvements, such as trails, campgrounds and new facilities, to ensure that archaeological sites are protected. She does the fieldwork herself or contracts the work out if the project is large.

When in the office, Stacey is reviewing files to see if any archaeological sites are recorded on a park, reviewing historic maps and documents to gain an understanding of the natural and cultural histories of parks, developing budgets and scopes of work for archaeology projects, researching artifacts, developing interpretive waysides and writing reports.

When in the field, Stacey is generally conducting an archaeology survey to identify sites within a project area. An archaeological survey involves systematically walking an area and excavating shovel tests. Through the systematic shovel testing, she is able to examine the soils across an area, look for artifacts and understand how an area was used in the past. Stacey also works with several partners, such as the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the University of South Carolina and SCIAA, on research projects that involve large scale excavations. 

"During the fieldwork, I usually have an opportunity to talk with park visitors about my work as an archaeologist. Over the past year, I’ve been involved with archaeology projects at the new Black River site, Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, Table Rock, Croft, Givhans Ferry, Hampton Plantation, Edisto Beach, Rose Hill Plantation and Sesquicentennial."

While Stacey is responsible for archaeology in state parks around South Carolina, she is also closely involved with the archaeologists at Charles Towne Landing and Colonial Dorchester state historic sites. Archaeologists at these parks have their own archaeology labs and develop their own research and interpretive programs for the public.

Stacey enjoys visiting the various parks across the South Carolina, seeing the different geographical regions and environments and learning about the cultural histories of people who once lived or visited each place. Stacey says she enjoys “talking with park visitors about their experiences in the parks, the archaeological work and history of places, especially if they are from the local community or have more direct connections to a place. I also like talking with the park staff about their work and experiences at various parks.”

While not yet an Ultimate Outsider, Stacey has been to many of our parks and looks forward to one day visiting Myrtle Beach State Park and attending a field trial event at H. Cooper Black Jr. Memorial Field Trial and Recreation Area. Among her favorite parks are Jones Gap, Edisto Beach and Hampton Plantation, but she says “whatever park I am visiting or have an active project at is usually my favorite!”

Thank you Stacey for your hard work and dedication to the State Park Service! To get a sneak peek of what a day in Stacey's life is like, watch Episode 23 of our “Day in the Life” series.

Think you might be interested in a job with the South Carolina State Park Service?  Click here to see our current, full-time job openings!