Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Upcoming Conferences

Here are a few conferences coming up in late March and April that you might be interested in attending:

*Archives Preservation Conference at the SC Department of Archives and History. The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, March 31 from 9:30 AM to 12:15 PM. For more information, visit the conference website.

* The ASSC Annual Conference will be held on April 9, 2011 at Gambrell Hall located on the University of South Carolina campus, see the announcement below and visit the ASSC website for details.

* April 11-14, 2011 is Native American Studies Week and several talks will be held at USC Lancaster.

*April 18-19, 2011- The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology and Department of Anthropology at USC will be holding the 2011 Postdoctoral Fellows Conference, "Moving the Middle to the Forefront: Re-Visiting the Second Epidemiological Transition" for more information visit: here.


APRIL 9, 2011



What do Ice Age hunters on the banks of the Saluda River near Columbia, General Francis Marion, slave potters in the Lowcountry, the Confederate Navy and cadavers dug up on USC’s horseshoe have in common? They are all topics of public presentations at the Annual Conference on South Carolina Archaeology to be held at the Columbia campus of the University of South Carolina. Geared for non- professional audiences this all day affair is open to the public for a $10 registration fee and $5 for students and seniors.

The Keynote lecture, Fifteen Years of Archaeology and Public Education at the Johannes Kolb Site, will be delivered at 4pm.

For pre-registration, a detailed schedule of events, and more information see the ASSC Web page or contact Program Chair Chris Judge at or at 803-206-4125.

Friday, March 25, 2011

News From Georgia Archaeology

Camp Lawton Excavation at Magnolia Springs State Park will offer "Public Days" on Sunday, March 27, from 11:00-4:00, and Saturday, April 9 from 10:00-3:00. This information is from the state park website: They have a $5 parking fee. Phone number is (478) 982-1660. The Georgia Southern University website has more detailed information, since the dig is being directed by Dr. Sue Moore of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Society for Georgia Archaeology Spring Meeting on May 14-15 in McDonogh, Georgia. The theme for this meeting is: "Gone But Not Forgotten: Rediscovering the Civil War through Archaeology". More information and a registration form is available at: Archaeology Month is May, so if our group wants to have an event, we should send in our information by the end of the month to have it publicized on the SGA website.

And lastly, we have an opportunity to see the Brunswick Canal and the ruins of Elizafield Plantation, both located right next to each other at a site near Darien, Georgia. If there are enough people interested in making the trip, there is a possibility of using a bus or van for the drive, and stopping off at a choice of several good restaurants for lunch. Let us know if you would be interested in going this trip?

Chica Arndt
Coastal Georgia Archaeological Society,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 26: Ossabaw Island will host Gullah Geechee Day

Ossabaw set to share its story

Island will host Gullah Geechee Day Trip next week

By Chuck Mobley
Lifting snippets of history from antebellum documents, archaeological discoveries, census records and oral recollections, the Ossabaw Island Foundation is stitching together a script portraying the experiences of the Gullah-Geechee people who farmed its fields as slaves and as free families.

The “biggest challenge” has been to decide what to include in the narrative, and what to leave out, said Paul Pressly, the director of the Ossabaw Island Educational Alliance.

“We want to balance the story of the colonial period with that of the antebellum period, and we want to give an appropriate place to Reconstruction and the eventual migration of African Americans to Pin Point,” Pressly said.

Sturdy reminders of the past

A state-owned barrier island located some 20 miles south of Savannah, Ossabaw is reachable only by boat. The alliance and the foundation, as part of the terms of a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, are expanding visitation opportunities to the public.

On March 26, they will host the first Gullah Geechee Day Trip.

This excursion will include a visit to the three tabby slave cabins, which are part of the old North End Plantation site. One of the cabins was built around 1825, the other two in the 1840s. They were part of what used to be a row of seven slave cabins, said Jim Bitler, the on-island coordinator for the foundation.

North End Plantation, according to the 1850 census, had 65 enslaved people working on it.

“We’re looking at how the people on Ossabaw fit into the larger world,”a system of plantation labor and commerce that ran from South Carolina to Florida and to the other side of the Atlantic, said Deborah Mack, a Savannah-based museum consultant who is co-chair, along with Pressly, of the NEH-funded project.

Chasing the paper trail

The tabby cabins sit on a gently-curving, deeply-lined dirt road that once led to fields that produced indigo, sea island cotton and other crops.

A student of Georgia’s colonial years, Pressly said there’s also evidence of a nascent shipbuilding business around 1770. It’s certain that oak trees on Ossabaw were cut and then used to produce timbers for sailing ships.

Pressly has used an 18th-century manuscript collection at the Georgia Historical Society to pursue primary information about the shipbuilding venture.

The papers of George Jones Kollock of Savannah, who owned the island’s South End Plantation, are housed in the University of North Carolina’s Southern Historical Collection. South End, according to the 1860 census, had 71 slaves, and Kollock’s overseer kept detailed information on its operation, said Bitler.

It’s sadly ironic, pointed out Bitler, that there is extensive documentation on South End, but no physical evidence, while North End has the slave cabins, but absolutely no written record.

Seeking new voices

In the absence of documentation on North End, Mack and Bitler have turned to still another source, the oral recollections and stories of descendants of the people who once lived there. The 1880 census put Ossabaw’s population at 160 people, but they moved to adjacent settlements, particularly Pin Point and Skidaway Island, over the next 20 or so years.

A nationally recognized anthropologist, Mack is a member of the scholarly advisory committee for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She’s worked with museums around the world, including the B.B. King Museum and Delta Heritage Center in Indianola, Miss., and the Theodore Monod African Art Museum in Dakar, Senagal.

On Ossabaw, she’s working to collate the oral stories, written records and physical evidence and turn them into a picture of its Gullah-Geechee residents — what crops they grew, what they ate, how they lived, where they worshipped and why they eventually left the island where they had lived for generations.

This upcoming tour will be the first opportunity for her and Bitler to share with the public what has been learned, and their first opportunity to go through their script of the island’s history.

“We hope to offer the trip at least twice a year and perhaps more, depending on the interest,” said Pressly.


Go to Savannah Now to see a video of the three slave cabins that have stood on the north end of Ossabaw island since the mid-19th century.


What: Gullah Geechee Day Trip to Ossabaw

When: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (approximate return time) on March 26

Where: The boat will depart from and return to Delegal Marina at The Landings on Skidaway Island.

Details: Deborah Mack, a nationally-recognized museum consultant who lives in Savannah, and Jim Bitler, the on-island coordinator for the Ossabaw Island Foundation, will lead the trip. Passengers are to bring their own picnic lunch and beverages.

Fees: $50 per person for members of the Friends of Ossabaw and $70 per person for non-members.

More info: Call 912-233-5104 or go to Ossabaw Island

You can watch a video here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beaufort County Historical Society-Upcoming Events

The Beaufort County Historical Society reminds you to check your calendars for these great events.

March 24 – Speakers: Barry Sheehy and Cindy Wallace re: Civil War Savannah Series. Meeting starts at noon at the Beaufort Yacht & Sailing Club, Meridian Rd., Beaufort, SC . This series is being designed for TV and the photographs are just amazing.

May 19- Annual Meeting Speaker and location TBA

Please RSVP to Nancy Gilley at 843-524-7969 for an optional light lunch catered by Debbi Covington will be served at 11:30 for $10.

The Beaufort County Historical Society is the oldest association in Beaufort County dedicated to the study and preservation of history. A member based organization, the society was established in 1939.

For further information contact: Pamela Ovens-President or call 843-785-2767

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 24: Lectures on Edgefield Pottery!

This Thursday brings two opportunities to hear about current research in Edgefield pottery.

First, at 12:30 in Room 302 in Hamilton College, at the University of South Carolina, Christopher Fennel and George Calfas of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will give a brown bag on the topic.

Then they will make their way to Founders Hall, located at 1500 Old Towne Road in Charleston for a 6:30 pm lecture on their work.

Hope you can make one of these two great talks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 24: Beaufort County Historical Society

The Beaufort County Historical Society will host Barry Sheehy and Cindy Wallace speaking about their new endeavor regarding their Civil War Savannah Series on March 24th at noon at the Beaufort Yacht & Sailing Club, Meridian Rd., Beaufort, SC .

This new book is stirring rave reviews in the Savannah area and is designed to become a televised series.

Cindy Wallace will share her photographs on display during and after the talk.

May 19- Annual Meeting Speaker and location TBA

Please RSVP to Nancy Gilley at 843-524-7969 for an optional light lunch catered by Debbi Covington will be served at 11:30 for $10.

The Beaufort County Historical Society is the oldest association in Beaufort County dedicated to the study and preservation of history. A member based organization, the society was established in 1939.

For further information contact: Pamela Ovens-President or call 843-785-2767

Funding shortage threatens archeological Kolb Project

Funding shortage threatens archeological Kolb Project

MECHANICSVILLE, SC - In the past 15 years, archaeologists have dug up artifacts that date back as far as 13,000 years at the Johannes Kolb site in this Darlington County community.

You can watch the video report here.

And you can still donate! Donations are tax deductible! Go to to help.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Digging for answers, finding more questions

DARLINGTON COUNTY -- For the last 16 years, archaeologists have been digging up the past at the Great Pee Dee Heritage Preserve in Darlington County. Excavations of the 2,725-acre site, owned and managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, have produced American Indian artifacts dating back 12,000 years. Evolution of the Annual Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project gives the public and students the opportunity to see what makes the Great Pee Dee site so unique.

"We dig small holes and that gives us basic information about the site. Where are the artifacts? Not only horizontally, but vertically. How deep are things buried? Our shovel testing after 200 or 300 holes all produced artifacts which is incredibly rare for an archaeology site," Sean Taylor, an Archaeologist with DNR, said.

The field project started as an attempt to not only look for artifacts that belonged to our earliest ancestors and discover what their lives were like through excavations, but to also give students a rare learning opportunity.

"There wasn't a lot of field opportunities for students, so the main point of the project is to get some students out to get some field expertise. How do we do archaeology? Why do we do archaeology? What are we learning from archaeology? That has been our main focus all along," Taylor said.

Very discreet clusters of Early Archaic, 8,000 B.C. to 1,000 B.C., and Paleoindian artifacts, from between 13,000 B.C.and 7,900 B.C., have been found since the excavation expanded to four meter square blocks. "We can take those and we are very careful to map and coordinate items so we can see where certain activities are, just like in your kitchen or perhaps your workshop today. We organize ourselves so we can function and do certain tasks and the same is true for people in the past," Taylor said.

An artifact may very well be the answer to a question, but it's a little piece of a very big puzzle. Take for example the spear point Archaeologist Chris Young found. Based on other research in the area he was able to determine a time period when people would have used that particular kind of tool. "The only problem we have is that the base is broken off and that is probably the most diagnostic part of the point. What I mean by diagnostic is it's an attribute that we can associate with a certain time period. We believe this is from the early Archaic or Middle Archaic period. If we can figure out what the material is and where it came from, then we can make interpretations of the source. Were they getting it out of the Pee Dee River or were they trading stone with other people we think they may be encountering along their natural path or journey?," Young said.

And that's the point of archaeology. It's not necessarily finding an artifact, but finding human behavior. "It's not so much the point to collect artifacts for the sake of those artifacts. All the things we find are neat little items and we very much enjoy finding them, but we're very much interested in finding what are the behaviors, the types of activities the people were doing that caused these artifacts to be created or be left behind. To learn about what people were doing in the past," Taylor said.

A Florence mother visiting the site with a group of students said visiting the site and being able to touch history helped even young children develop a better understanding of human behavior. "You know that there were Native Americans here. Right here, walking around. You can kind of even imagine them, wow! They were out here by the river and making their pottery and here we are hundreds of years later, looking at these things."

And it's that sense of the awesomeness of history that keeps archaeologists digging.

The Johannes Kolb Archaeology site was discovered in the 1970's by Chip Helms.

You can watch the CarolinaAlive video here.

SC Department of Archives and History’s Preservation Conference March 31-April 1

SC Department of Archives and History’s Preservation Conference

March 31-April 1.

Workshops include:
* Archaeologists and Archivists Working Together
* Unique Preservation Stories from Rural SC
* Running an effective public meeting

...and more.

You can view the complete program here.

The workshop, Archaeologists and Archivists Working Together: Digging into South Carolina’s Past, may be of particular interest:

The popular perception of archaeologists includes excavations. Yet aside from examining material culture, for historical archaeologists, documents, such as birth and death records, census records, family trees, wills, probate inventories, newspaper articles, diaries, maps, and photographs, can provide additional information for understanding the past. The documents located in the archives help to identify the people who once lived at a particular site, provide the social-cultural context in which the sites were occupied, and contribute to the social meanings of the landscape and the objects recovered.

The workshop has three parts: (1) Documentary Archaeology: How do archaeologists use documents and primary sources? (2) Archives Basics: What are archives? What’s available? What sorts of documents are useful for archaeological research? (3) Case Studies: Archaeologists discuss how they use primary sources in their archaeological research. This workshop is for practicing archaeologists, students of archaeology, or people who want to think like archaeologists. It is also for archivists, students of library science, or people who are interested in documents and maps.

Jodi Barnes, Archaeologist, SC Department of Archives and History
Brian Cuthrell, Archivist, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina
Craig Keeney, Archivist, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina
Charles Lesser, Archivist, SC Department of Archives and History
Steve Smith, Archaeologist, Applied Research Division, SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
Carl Steen, Archaeologist, Diachronic Research Foundation

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The Quarterly meeting of COSCAPA will be held at the Kolb Site on March 11.

ASSC/Hilton Head Chapter March 15th Meeting at 7 pm

Archaeology Society of SC/Hilton Head Chapter March 15th Meeting at 7 pm

Steven Smith will present information on Francis Marion's Snow Island Retreat at the Discovery House at Historic Honey Horn

Hilton Head, SC: The Archaeology Society of SC/Hilton Head Chapter will be hosting Steven Smith (SCIAA) who will speak on Revolutionary Battle Sites in SC including Francis Marion's Snow Island archaeological results at 7 pm Tuesday, March 15th. All meetings are held at the Discovery House at Historic Honey Horn.

Prior to the American Revolution the region around Snow’s Island, South Carolina was the home of a close-knit colonial community. During the war, this community strongly supported the American Whig resistance against the British. In August of 1780 Francis Marion took command of the partisan militias there. The Snow’s Island region became Marion’s base of operations until late March 1781. At that time the British destroyed Marion’s base, however, the community, consisting of both warriors and civilians, continued to support Marion and the American cause until the end of the war. Steven D. Smith will present the story of Francis Marion and his relationship with the Snow’s Island partisan community. The presentation will include a discussion of the archaeological evidence of Marion’s camp and redoubt near Snow’s Island.

Steven D. Smith Ph.D. is the Associate Director for Applied Research at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. For 34 years he has been a professional archaeologist and historian, and specializes in the archaeological study of battlefields and campgrounds associated with the American Revolution and Civil War. He is author, co-author or editor of 7 books and booklets, 9 journal articles, 14 book chapters, 14 encyclopedia entries, 57 technical reports, and 54 professional presentations. He has taught African American Military History at USC. As a research archaeologist and historian, Steve has conducted archaeological investigations at Revolutionary War battlefields including Camden, Blackstocks, Williamson’s Plantation, Fort Balfour, Fort Motte, and 15 sites associated with Francis Marion. He has also worked at Civil War battlefields on Folly Island, Honey Hill, and at River’s Bridge. Steve lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

The public is always invited and welcome to attend our Chapter Meetings.

For further information: George Stubbs- 843-363-5058

Save these dates:

May 17, Sept 20, Nov 15 and Dec 6th Christmas Social evenings at 7 PM

Apr 19 and Oct 18 afternoons at 1 PM.

Jan 28th 2012 3rd Annual What the Heck is it? Artifact Identification