Campus at night.

About the Center

Heritage is a hot topic. It has become a major focus of interest nationally and internationally and draws on such fields as archaeology, ethnology and history.

Issues of fundamental importance in community organization and structure that link past to present include in- and out-migrations of distinct ethnic groups; co-mingling and merging of ethnic groups resulting in new social formations; and social, economic and political inequalities.

In short, we view the concept of “community” not as a bounded, self-contained entity but as a mosaic of interacting and continually evolving social and ethnic formations. Snapshots of the mosaic at different points in time provide a framework for investigating historical changes in the community. This diachronic perspective allows an examination of the larger regional, and perhaps global, context that figures strongly in the changing complexion of a community.

The Center for Heritage and Archaeological Studies (CHAS) brings together scholarly research, education and public outreach with a broad focus on heritage, identity and community engagement. Our work ranges from archaeological excavations to interviews of descendant community members, to collaboration with museums and historical societies.

Geographically, our work takes place in New Jersey and surrounding areas, as well as in other parts of the world where faculty, students and community members with common interests are engaged.