Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What did you do this year?

Submit an article or “Notes from the Field” for South Carolina Antiquities 2010!

South Carolina Antiquities seeks articles about archaeology in South Carolina and adjacent areas. Professional and avocational archaeologists should send papers you have been working on for review. In addition, this year Antiquities will include a “Notes from the Field” section for you to update colleagues on current projects and recent finds. This is a great way to contribute to a larger discussion of archaeology in South Carolina.

Manuscripts submitted for review should conform to the American Antiquity style guide (see the ASSC website for a pdf copy). The deadline for submission for 2010 is June 30.

Please send submissions or queries about books to review to the Journal Editor, Jodi Barnes at jodib9@gmail.com.

Archaeological Resource Act Passed

I am very pleased to relate that the Archaeological Resource Act
introduced by House Bill 4129 was signed into law on 11 June 2010.
A copy of the act as signed is attached. The final form of the act will
be distributed after publication to the Acts etc.

It was a great privilege to work with Representative Funderburk, Camden.
Her leadership was instrumental and should be recognized and commended
by all of us. The members of COSCAPA who weighed in on behalf of the
bill should also be commended. The opposition had come out in force (it
made the front page of a newsletter in Pattaya, Thailand) and the
support was very important to the bill's passage.

Thank you all very much,


Jonathan Leader, PhD
SC State Archaeologist

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Digging in: Research team looks for clues on Indian life at Tuckasee King

Digging in
Research team looks for clues on Indian life at Tuckasee King

By Patrick Donahue

An afternoon by the river was a day of work for a team of researchers at Tuckasee King on Thursday.

Under the leadership of Dr. Charles Cobb, a team from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology conducted a series of test digs at Tuckasee King as they continue their research into the lives of Colonial-era Indians.

The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology received a grant from the National Science Foundation to research the migration of Native Americans in the 1600s and 1700s as those Indians traveled to Charleston, S.C., to engage in trade. The goods they traded mostly were deer skins, being shipped out of Charleston to Europe.

What the team is hoping to uncover is how trade affected the mass migrations of Indians to the Lowcountry and how the influx of Europeans may have changed Indian ways and culture.

“To us, it’s really important, because it’s not in the history books,” said Dr. Christian DePratter, a USC archaeologist. “There’s not enough documentation as to what they were and on their everyday life.”

The Indians moving through the area included the Uchee from Tennessee and the Chickasaw from Mississippi.

“There was a huge swath of Native Americans,” Dr. Cobb said.

The project is in its second year, and Cobb envisions it as a long-term endeavor. Their trip to Tuckasee King on Thursday was their first foray across the Savannah River from the Palmetto State into the Peach State. They have conducted digs at Stokes Bluff.

“This is our second field search in what’s probably a 12-15-year project to look up and down the river,” Dr. DePratter said.

What Dr. Cobb and his team have found are sites dating back to the 1700s. They were having lunch in Springfield one day and noticed the name Tuckasee King. That got them to thinking about that site being a potential home to Indians.

“We said, ‘that’s an Indian name,’ and said, ‘we’ve got to find out,’” Cobb noted.

Tuckasee, he said, is the Uchee name for chief.

The team conducted 15 shovel tests at the Tuckasee King landing. Each individual dig was a square of 50 centimeters, or about 20 inches.
“We’re looking for Indian pottery,” said Joseph Johnson, a senior archaeology major at USC.

And what they’ve found, mostly quarter-sized pieces, leads them to believe they selected the right location for a dig.

“Now, we’re pretty sure,” Dr. Cobb said. “The ceramics we’re finding are identical to those on the other side of the river.”

“It’s enough to tell us there was a settlement here, and at least we know there was something here from that period,” Dr. DePratter said.

Dr. DePratter said the “tribes” were breaking down and re-forming as they migrated and as they were defeated by other groups of Indians.

The area at Tuckasee King is similar to a site upriver on the South Carolina side, with a high bluff allowing for views up and down the river. It’s a strategic spot, “for defensive purposes as much as anything,” Dr. Cobb said. “This is an incredibly important trade route.”

Thursday’s dig was a one-day visit, but Cobb and his crew hope to return to Effingham for a longer stay and will talk with county officials about doing something more extensive in the future.

Coastal Carolina's first archaeological field school

Coastal Carolina's first archaeological field school
By Dr. Cheryl Ward

Here at Coastal Carolina, we’re getting ready for our first archaeological field school as Dr. Carolyn Dillian has arrived from Princeton just in time to start shopping and planning for an archaeology extravaganza. The field school will be based at the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, where we will be conducting survey and excavation work (and camping out) as well as traveling a bit to The Oaks at Brookgreen, other refuge properties, and some other sites that need attention. Historic and prehistoric time periods will be covered, and we’ll send out a link for you to follow along with us.

We will be starting right here in Conway, where a utilities excavation opened up part of the late 19th-century shipyards near the river. There are a few spots open for volunteers in good physical health who are interested in helping to screen heavy clay sediments and otherwise record artifacts from the pit spoil. If you’re interested and available on Tuesday 8-12, or 1-5, or Wednesday 8-12, contact me directly for more information at cward@coastal.edu.

A recent discovery at Charles Towne adds to the understanding of its chronology.

Please feel free to forward these notes, and encourage people who want to subscribe to visit http://www.coastal.edu/archaeology/mailinglist.html to do so.

Our next group meeting will be on Tuesday, July 13, at 7 pm, in the Waccamaw Center for Higher Education, and we will present the results of our field school work and outline plans for the rest of the year’s programs and field days.

Cheryl Ward
Director, Center for Archaeology and Anthropology
Associate Professor of History, Maritime Archaeologist
Coastal Carolina University
P.O. Box 261954
Conway, SC 29528 http://ww2.coastal.edu/cward/drward.php
cward@coastal.edu tel. 843.349.6657