Dr. James Still Community Archaeology Project


Have you ever dreamed of going on a dig? Here is your chance to join Marc Lorenc on his first year of archaeological excavation at the Dr. James Still historical site in Medford. The dig will take place Tuesday, June 21 through Saturday, July 15, from 8 to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free for participants 18 or older or teens accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Registration should be made emailing MarcLorenc@gmail.com or by calling (917) 664–6164. Full-time volunteers are expected to arrive and excavate at regularly scheduled times. Part-time volunteers can negotiate their availability. The dig will take place at the site of Dr. Still’s former mansion at 209 Church Road in Medford.

Using data gathered from the ground penetrating radar survey, Lorenc and the volunteers will excavate select areas such as Dr. Still’s Victorian House, which was demolished in 1932, and other surprises now lost to time. Volunteers will gain valuable experience while learning archaeological field and laboratory methods. Those physically unable to excavate can help with processing artifacts in the laboratory at the Dr. James Still Education Center.

This Community Archaeology Project is funded by the New Jersey Historical Commission in association with the Medford Historical Society and its Dr. James Still Project. The excavations will serve as Marc Lorenc’s dissertation research at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Dr. James Still (1812–1882) was renowned as the “Black Doctor of the Pines.” The son of former slaves and with only three months formal schooling, he taught himself to read and write and became one of the richest men in Burlington County. He acquired many properties along Church Road and elsewhere in Medford and published his autobiography in 1877.

An herbalist and healer, he concocted many remedies and helped thousands of patients. The office building still stands, but it is in deteriorating shape and was just declared one of New Jersey’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites. The state bought the side in 2009, the first African-American historical site it acquired for preservation. The adjacent education center is leased by the Medford Historical Society.