Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TOMORROW! Hilton Head ASSC Chapter Meeting

April 20th- ASSC Hilton Head Chapter Meeting

The Archaeological Society of South Carolina, Hilton Head Chapter will host our next meeting April 20th.

Guest speakers Gibbes McDowell and Dr. Chester DePratter of SCIAA (South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology) will present their new movie re: archaeology of the SC & GA marshes, Sea Island Secrets. The meeting will be at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn at 1 pm.

Gibbes McDowell, a native Beaufortonian, has always held a passion for the marshes of the Low Country. But it was his constant trips to his fish camp off Hunting Island that piqued his interest in the sherds of pottery and apparent shell rings that caused him to contact Dr. DePratter at SCIAA. This duo contacted Mike Hudson, a Beaufort born, cinematographer to film and document their finds which are remarkable.

Chester DePratter earned his doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees in anthropology from the University of Georgia. He has worked on a number of American Indian sites, primarily in South Carolina and Georgia, and has written many articles on prehistoric archaeology, exploration routes of Spanish explorers and the early European presence in the southeastern US. He is the author of the book "Late Prehistoric and Early Historic Chiefdoms in the Southeastern United States." Since 1989 DePratter has focused on the 16th century Spanish site of Santa Elena and the search for the French site of Charlesfort on Parris Island, SC.

Light refreshments will be served. This will be your opportunity to see the film before it's public airing.First shown at the Beaufort Film Festival to a sell out crowd (filling both theatres) Sea Island Secrets was a smashing success. Sea Island Secrets will be premiered on SCETV, May 5th.

Upcoming Chapter Events:

May 17 - TBA

Sept. 20- Nena Rice of SCIAA will speak at 1 pm

Oct. 18- TBA

Nov 15th- Chica Arndt of CGAS will discuss the Mary Musgrove site in Savannah at Historic Honey Horn at 1 pm

Dec. 6th Christmas Social will all be at 7 pm at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Historic Honey Horn, Hilton Head

For further information: George Stubbs- 843-363-5058 www.assc.net

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Hilton Head Island, SC -- A private reception and book-signing will be held on April 17, 2011 at 4 pm to introduce Mr. Clare Adkin, noted historic fiction author. Refreshments and book copies will be available at the signing. To attend the Hilton Head Island reception for Mr. Adkin, please contact heartz@adelphia.net.

Mr. Adkin first received national and international acclaimed for his commissioned book, BROTHER BENJAMIN (1990). Like Brother Benjamin, QUIET GUILT is set in Michigan. A year out of high school and still working in his family’s apple orchard, Quiet Guilt’s main character, Chuck, yearns for a life of adventure. Suddenly as an invitation to his prayers, he is offered the job of reporting a high profile murder. QUIET GUILT has the reader in suspense as the journey with Chuck set in the Depression Era in small town America unfolds.

Clare Adkin was raised on a fruit farm in Allegan County, Michigan. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in history, he embarked upon a 38 year career in teaching and coaching. He has been thinking about Mary Anne Starr, the subject of QUIET GUILT, since he discovered her while doing research for his first book, Brother Benjamin. True to mantra, “History is interpretation, the essence of which is research and writing.” Adkin and his wife Sally make their home in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Linda Vingelen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Archaeological Field School on Edgefield, South Carolina Pottery Communities

Archaeological Field School on Edgefield, South Carolina Pottery Communities

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Anth. 454-CF and 455-CF (6 credits; 6 weeks), May 23, 2011 to July 1, 2011

This field school will provide training in the techniques of excavation, mapping, controlled surface surveys, artifact classification and contextual interpretation. Students will work in supervised teams, learning to function as members of a field crew, with all of the skills necessary for becoming professional archaeologists. Many students from past University of Illinois field schools have gone on to graduate study and professional field-archaeology positions. Laboratory processing and analysis will be ongoing during the field season. Evening lectures by project staff, visiting archaeologists, and historians will focus on providing background on how field data are used to answer archaeological and historical research questions.

Learn more on our web site

** Historical Significance and Project Background

The first innovation and development of alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery in America occurred in the Edgefield District of South Carolina in the early 1800s.

It remains an enduring mystery as to how these new ceramic methods were developed in that place and time, and how the techniques of clay choice, temper, and glaze developed over the following century. These potteries employed enslaved and free African-American laborers in the 19th century, and the stoneware forms also show evidence of likely African cultural influence on stylistic designs. Edgefield potteries thus present fascinating research questions of understanding technological innovations and investigating the impacts of African cultural knowledge and racial ideologies on a craft specialization during the historic period in America. This project entails an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and archaeological study of the first development in America of alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery forms, the development of that South Carolina industry over time, and the impacts of racism and African cultural influences on those processes.

The technological innovation of alkaline-glazed stoneware pottery was introduced in North America by potteries operated by Abner and John Landrum in the Edgefield, South Carolina area in the first decades of the 19th century. These technological developments by entrepreneurs of Scots-Irish heritage played out in a landscape shaped by racial difference. Numerous African-American laborers, including "Dave the Potter" who added inscriptions to his vessels, worked at these production sites.

Advertisements in local newspapers in the early decades of the 1800s listed enslaved laborers with skills in pottery production. African Americans most likely participated in all phases of the production process, such as: building and maintaining the kilns; digging and transporting clay; working and grinding raw clay in "pug" mills; chopping wood for fuel; preparing glaze mixtures, tempers, and clay pastes; turning the pottery wheels and shaping the vessels; and loading and unloading the kiln firings.

As local historians Holcombe and Holcombe (1989: 22) observed, the "District's ceramic entrepreneurs would never have been able to manufacture such large quantities of Edgefield wares without the slave participation." Indeed, in the period of 1800-1820, the recorded number of enslaved African Americans in the surrounding area had increased to comprise half of the Edgefield District's population. An illegal transport of enslaved laborers on the ship Wanderer delivered 170 newly-captive Africans to the Edgefield District in 1858. The production of remarkably shaped "face vessels" at local potteries have also been analyzed as presenting evidence of the influence of stylistic traditions from cultures of West Central Africa.

This project seeks to undertake detailed archaeological investigations of principal sites in Edgefield, conduct archival research, and start a multi-year community engagement and education program related to these subjects.

Archaeological field schools and research teams at such pottery sites can
explore both the production facility remains and the residential sectors for the enslaved and free African-American laborers. Primary research questions include:

(1) examining the distribution of work areas and residential locations in each pottery site and analyze the degree of spatial segregation due to the impacts of slavery and racism;

(2) understanding differential uses and development of those work and residential spaces, as reflected in archaeological features and artifact distributions, and the degree to which variations correlate with
different racial categories associated with the occupants;

(3) analyzing faunal and botanical remains to explore and contrast dietary and health patterns between residential sites and the degree to which variations correlate with different racial categories associated with the occupants; and

(4) understanding the development and changes over time in the technologies of pottery production at these three manufacturing sites.

** Field School Overview

This six-week archaeological field school will focus on the site of Pottersville, where Abner Landrum started the first stoneware production
facility in the Edgefield district in the early 1800s. We will excavate the kiln and related production areas and conduct surveys to locate the house sites of the craftspeople and laborers who created the Pottersville village surrounding that manufacturing facility. Instructors will include Prof. Fennell, U. Illinois doctoral student George Calfas, and archaeologist Carl Steen of Diachronic Research Inc., among others. The instructors and students will stay in local housing in the Edgefield area during this six week field school, and visit nearby archaeology sites and museums on weekend trips.

For additional information about this field school opportunity, please contact Chris Fennell by email at cfennell@illinois.edu, by cell phone at 312-513-2683, or check his faculty web page for background information on the multi-year archaeology project in Edgefield, South Carolina. You can also contact George Calfas at gcalfas2@illinois.edu.

To apply for participation in this fieldschool, please download and complete a short application form, available here, and submit it to Chris Fennell by April 8, 2011. Accepted students should register for the related course numbers (listed above) for the summer session.

Please note that all students must register for both courses (a total of 6
credit hours). Students from colleges other than the University of Illinois can register through our exchange program and receive transfer credits.


Christopher C. Fennell
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Head
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois
109 Davenport Hall, MC-148
607 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801