Stanley Austin South was born on February 2, 1928 in Boone, North Carolina. After a stint in the Navy, he attended Appalachian State Teachers College in 1949. He then taught eighth grade in Greensboro, NC for two years and worked as a professional photographer. Later, he attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his Master’s Degree in Anthropology in 1959.
South first worked as the State Archaeologist for North Carolina. In 1969, he became a professor with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He participated in numerous excavations throughout North and South Carolina. These excavations included Town Creek Indian Mound (NC), Old Salem (NC), Fort Fisher (NC), Ninety Six (SC), Charles Town Landing (SC), Brunswick Town (NC), Santa Elena (SC), Fort Dobbs (NC), Fayetteville Arsenal (NC), and Bethabara (NC).