James J. F. Deetz directed historical archaeological projects across the United States and in South Africa. At his death in 2000, he was the David A. Harrison Professor of Historical Archaeology at the University of Virginia. A native of western Maryland, Deetz began his career as a student at Harvard University as what he called “an early case of affirmative action, providing for the admission of hillbillies to Ivy League institutions.” He earned a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1960. Soon after, he became intrigued by the idea of the archaeology of the Pilgrims, and bringing the past to life at Plimouth Plantation. Then, in the summer of 1963, Deetz discovered gravestones, in the colonial cemeteries of New England. The rest, as they say, is history. As his career brought him from Brown University to the College of William and Mary, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Cape Town, and finally the University of Virginia, Deetz uncovered two hundred years of tobacco plantations in Tidewater Virginia, the coal-mining town of Somersville, California, and colonial outposts in South Africa. In recognition of his accomplishments, the SHA awarded him the J. C. Harrington Medal in Historical Archaeology in 1997.