UNH remembers archaeologist dedicated to New Hampshire history

Monday, February 6, 2023

PRofessor Charles Bolian in 1983 (photo courtesy of UNH archives).

Charles E. Bolian, associate professor emeritus of anthropology, passed away on September 21, 2022. He served UNH from 1971 until his retirement in 2005.

An archaeologist who often worked close to home, Bolian led excavations in Lee, Seabrook and the Lakes region of New Hampshire, with scholarly work that ranged across the Northeast. According to former colleagues, his field work over three decades was essential to the development of knowledge about the region’s prehistoric archaeology. A second strand of field work focused on sites in South America and the Caribbean, with excavations in the Colombian Amazon.

Bolian taught courses across the curriculum, from introductory physical anthropology and archaeology, to methods and theory, to the archeology of world regions. He was a master teacher who motivated many a student to pursue a career in archaeology. He carried a heavy advising load because of his dedication to mentoring. Students knew his door was always open.

Beginning in 1999, Bolian served as chair of the Department of Anthropology, where he tackled a curriculum overhaul, among other initiatives. He served the profession as part of the NH Archaeological Society (with a term as president), the Society for American Archaeology and the Society for Latin American Archaeology. Locally, he was on the board of the Garrison Players and the Lamprey Watershed Association and was a member of the Rollinsford Historical Commission.

Bolian had a passion for New Hampshire history and protecting the state’s ecology.

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