While 2020 has brought many unforeseen changes to life at Lipscomb, it has also brought new beginnings. Later this fall, Lipscomb will celebrate the opening of the new Lanier Center for Archaeology.

The Lanier Center comes to Lipscomb University from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and brings with it two world-renowned biblical archaeology experts, Dr. Steven Ortiz and Dr. Tom Davis.

“We thought it was a really great fit with our mission, being a Christian institution, having archaeology as part of that is really the evidence of what we’ve been reading about in the Bible and what we’ve been studying about. To really be able to dig into that, metaphorically and literally, is an exciting thing for us,” said Dr. Kim Chaudoin, assistant vice president of Public Relations and Communication.

As a part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Lanier Center will offer master’s and doctorate degrees as well as a vast library of archaeological resources and artifacts. There are also plans to expand with an undergraduate program in the future.

“Most of what we have is a study collection to be used by students. If you take an archaeology class with me, we are in the classroom, but we will also come to the Lanier Center and study the actual artifacts,” said Ortiz.

Not only will there be new programs of study, but also opportunities for students to participate in archaeological digs. These trips will be open to all students, not just those studying archaeology.

“We have trips all over the Middle East, mostly Israel and Cyprus. We have one project in Egypt, and we want student volunteers. Students can take a summer school course, come dig with us, and they also travel the country. They tour all over Israel. They swim in the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as getting dirty during the week,” said Dr. Ortiz.

Many of the artifacts from the Lanier Center for Archaeology will be on display for students and visitors to observe.

“This center will have a research library and also an artifact study collection for students to use,” said  Ortiz. “But with that, we also try to have exhibits or have a museum, so this semester, we will be using one exhibit in the Hutcheson Gallery, which is usually reserved for modern art, but will now have ancient art.”

The exhibit will highlight artifacts uncovered during student-led research projects and will serve as an introduction to life during biblical times.

While the gallery will not open until November, there will be a virtual introduction and opening ceremony for the Lanier Center for Archaeology from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 6. To register or learn more, visit https://www.lipscomb.edu/arts-sciences/lanier-center.

Additional reporting by Mckenzi Harris.

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