Director of Research & Collections
Dr. Travis Parno is the Director of Research and Collections and currently serving as the Acting Executive Director at Historic St. Mary’s City. He has over 15 years of experience excavating and researching historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Bermuda. In addition to overseeing the Department of Research and Collections, Travis runs Historic St. Mary’s City’s annual Field School in Historical Archaeology, the country’s longest-running program of its kind.
Travis received his B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary. During his time at William & Mary, Travis fell in love with historical archaeology while working at Jamestown. There he conducted research examining the cultural implications of Catholic artifacts dating to the early occupation of James Fort, an ostensibly Protestant site. Travis next moved across the Atlantic to pursue a M.A. in Historical Archaeology at the University of Bristol. His research remained focused on the 17th century, but navigated southwards, where Travis explored the nature of legal and illegal trade in the Caribbean colonies. He completed his graduate career at Boston University, where he received a Ph.D. in Archaeology. Travis’ doctoral dissertation investigated life at the Fairbanks House (located in Dedham, Massachusetts), one of the premier surviving examples of early 17th-century timber-frame architecture in the United States.
Before arriving at Historic St. Mary’s City, Travis taught courses in archaeology, anthropology, and writing at Boston University and Brandeis University. He has also conducted archaeological work at a variety of other sites, such as an 18th-century church and 18th-/19th-century plantation on the island of Bermuda; a 19th-century mansion in Milton, MA; and a late 19th-/early 20th-century farm in Concord, MA. His primary research interests include colonial and postcolonial life in the English Atlantic world, the social and legal origins of slavery in Maryland, the functions of ordinaries in the 17th-century Chesapeake, everyday expressions of religious belief, and the role of archaeology in museums. Travis is the author of various publications detailing his research and he has presented numerous papers at academic conferences beginning in 2007.