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The next time Peter Coutros ’08 says he was out in Timbuktu, he’s probably telling the truth. A second-year Ph.D. student in anthropological archaeology at Yale University, Coutros has conducted projects around the world, from the Sahara to the Amazon and the Peruvian Andes to the Mongolian Steppe.
“Archaeology has this indefinable allure,” says Coutros, who also holds a master’s degree from Yale, for which he conducted an archaeological reconnaissance and survey in Timbuktu, Mali. “Traveling around the world and meeting people from different cultures and witnessing, as well as participating in, customs and rituals is an amazing way to learn about other societies. It sure beats just reading about them in books!”
While he always knew he wanted to make a career in archaeology, Coutros found the support and opportunity he needed to make his passion a reality as a history major at Moravian. Former history professor Karen Morrison’s expertise in western Africa and African Diaspora history inspired him to delve into West African archaeology.
“She was supportive of my plans no matter how crazy they seemed at the time,” he recalls. “She really was a major reason for my continuing to pursue archaeology.”
Coutros met his Ph.D. advisor, anthropology professor Rod McIntosh, serendipitously through an internship in his junior year at the Moravian Dye Works in historic Bethlehem. McIntosh was leading some first-year Yale graduate students in excavations at the site and invited Coutros to join them.
Like archaeology, Moravian also held an “indefinable allure” for Coutros, who was captain of the lacrosse team in his senior year and still keeps in touch with his housemates.
“Moravian is one of those places you make the friends you’ll have for the rest of your life,” he says. “It’s simply the atmosphere – everyone was so friendly. You become friends with so many different people from so many different groups that it feels like you know the whole college.”
"Moravian is one of those places you make the friends you’ll have for the rest of your life."