My Clemson: Allison Kidd ’10

As an archaeologist and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Kidd specializes in Roman architecture and urbanism.

Allison Kidd '10 stands with colleagues in Turkey

Q| WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GO TO CLEMSON?

A| Going to Clemson was a decision largely guided by my parents, considering they are both alumni, and the University’s high national ratings and low in-state tuition. Although I was not initially invested in the idea, it was not long into my freshman year that I found myself embedded in the Clemson experience, thanks to the countless professors who challenged my academic growth, the members of the administrative and academic staff who went above and beyond the call of duty to invest in my future career, and my classmates who challenged my personal growth — many now lifelong friends. All future applicants should know that these are Clemson’s virtues, and they mean much more than the annual published statistics and college ratings!

Q| WHAT CAREER STEPS DID YOU TAKE AFTER CLEMSON?

A| I began a master’s degree in classical archaeology at the University of Oxford immediately after graduating from Clemson. Before taking the big leap into the Ph.D., I returned to Clemson for a year, where I worked for the Calhoun Honors College as an assistant major fellowships adviser and for the Office of International Affairs as an international programs coordinator while also serving as an intern for the Columbia Museum of Art. In 2012, I began my doctoral studies in the history of art and archaeology at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. I spent the next five years conducting research, leading archaeological excavations and teaching courses in classical archaeology in New York City and abroad, mostly in Italy and Turkey. After graduating with my doctorate in 2018, I began a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh.

Q| WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

A| I am currently living in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I am a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. I also currently serve as the field director for the Edinburgh-Apolline Excavations at Aeclanum in Italy and a member of the research team for the NYU-led Excavations at Aphrodisias in Turkey.

Q| WHAT’S THE COOLEST ARTIFACT YOU’VE UNCOVERED IN YOUR WORK?

A| I find that people often love to hear about the statues or mosaics I’ve found, but for me the ‘coolest’ artifacts are those items that are either considered extremely rare finds — such as the 1,800-year-old preserved wooden beams with intact nail holes we uncovered in 2017 or a polychrome mudbrick wall we uncovered in 2018 — or items that reveal unexpectedly extensive trade networks and connectivity — such as finding in a rural Turkish medieval settlement a silver Crusader coin that had been manufactured in Wallachia, modern-day Romania.

Q| WHAT’S A COMMON MISCONCEPTION OF BEING AN ARCHAEOLOGIST THAT YOU’D LOVE TO CLEAR UP?

A| Archaeologists do not study dinosaurs! Archaeology is the study of human history through their material culture and the changes they affected on the natural environment, whereas paleontology is the study of Earth’s history through plant and animal fossils. Think more Indiana Jones, less Ross Geller.

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