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This story is reproduced from its original posting on the Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology blog .

 

The first two weeks of the archaeology field school were spent working at the site of the Rose Plantation, which is a part of a 600 acre property called the Dill Property on James Island owned by the Charleston Museum.  We were working in an area where old maps showed structures that were probably part of this plantation.  We found remains of some structures and many artifacts that seem to suggest that we found some of it.

Weeks 3-6 were spent mostly at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site north of Charleston near McClellanville, SC.  The field school has worked on this site before but not in this location which was in a large field south of the main plantation house.  Our most productive excavation units were located at the southern end of this field, and a considerable distance from the plantation house. These excavations were overseen by David Jones, who coordinates the archaeological program for the State Park Service to include research archaeology and protection of archaeological resources.  He was assisted by Stacy Young, who is an archaeologist contracted in the past to excavate part of the old slave residential area at this plantation.

During this period students also rotated through two sites in downtown Charleston to get a feel for urban archaeology, which produces a very different set of challenges.  One site was at 86 Church Street, owned by the parents of archaeologist, Martha Middleton.  It ended up being a 4 1/2 foot deep single excavation unit with a lot going on in it.   The second site was the historic Manigault House, owned by and located across from the Charleston Museum.  Excavations were done both in the basement and under the porch.

Historic artifacts were found in all these locations, but lab analysis will be required to determine what it all means.  At Hampton Plantation not enough colonoware (pottery commonly made by African slaves, and possibly also Native Americans) was found to suggest that the structure(s) we think we uncovered were those of Africans.  There was also no window glass that is usually found in European-style structures.  The Seewee Indians were also residents in the area during the colonial period, and our Hampton site  may have something to do with them.  Lab analysis and, hopefully, more field school research there in two years will be necessary to sort this out.

Students read 21 professional articles on various phases of archaeology, learned to identify about 80 kinds of historic ceramics used for dating purposes, and did additional written work in addition to learning fieldwork skills.

For photos of the 2015 Archaeology Field School, please check out the CofC Sociology and Anthropology Facebook page.

Original posting: http://today.cofc.edu/2015/05/01/discovery-of-rare-key-helps-unlock-dixie-plantations-storied-past/

1 May 2015 | 12:00 pmBy:
Contact: Maureen Hays, associate dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 843.953.0760

Senior Ben Widder  was participating in an archeological field school at Dixie Plantation when he discovered a key dating to the early 1700s.

Some archaeologists dig for years before unearthing a significant artifact.

But College of Charleston student Ben Widder had a bit of beginner’s luck during an archaeology dig last year at the College’s Dixie Plantation, located along the Stono River near Hollywood, S.C.

The senior anthropology major and archaeology minor was participating in his first archaeological field school when he unearthed a key dating to the early 1700s.

“I was using my trowel and I heard the clink of metal hitting metal,” recalls Widder. “I scraped around it pretty quickly when the ring of the key became exposed, and seconds later the tip of the trowel lifted the ring up, exposing the rest of the key.”

“I found a key!” Widder shouted, as his classmates and professor came running.

Maureen Hays, professor of anthropology and associate dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, says the key was probably made before 1707 when a parsonage house for Saint Paul’s Church was constructed on the property. American Indian groups burned the parsonage during the Yamasee War (1715-1717).

“I believe this is a rare find,” says Hays, who is co-director of the archaeological field school along with Kim Pyszka ’92, an assistant professor of anthropology at Auburn University at Montgomery.

The key before it was restored by the Charleston Museum.

Occupied for thousands of years, the site of what is now Dixie Plantation is historically, archaeologically and ecologically significant. The 881-acre property was bequeathed to the College of Charleston Foundation in 1995 by the late conservationist, ornithologist, and artist John Henry Dick.

In recent years, archaeologists digging at Dixie have discovered hundreds of artifacts, including ceramic sherds, tobacco pipe stems and a Spanish coin.

Archeologists have also located the foundation of the old parsonage house. And now, thanks to Widder’s discovery, they have a key associated with the parsonage.

But finding the key was only the first step. The ferrous artifact was heavily oxidized and required months of careful restoration at the hands of archaeologists from the Charleston Museum.

The key after restoration using electrolysis.

Ron Anthony, one of the museum archaeologists who restored the key using electrolysis, has been teaching at the College as an adjunct professor since 1990.

“It’s a process whereby chlorides locked within the artifact are purged from the artifact via electricity or chemical means,” explains Anthony. “This is a common, safe way to conserve any metal artifact which oxidizes.”

As for Widder, he was just happy to be the one to make the discovery. “If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. I just happened to be assigned to that spot.”

 

Conference flyerFinalThis year’s conference (April 11, 9:00 -3:00; Wells Fargo Auditorium, College of Charleston) will include papers highlighting recent research in the history, archaeology, and societies of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  Many studies reflect the overall theme of the conference, which takes a particular interest into the uses of technology in the study and presentation of the past. Participants include:

Olivia Adams: “Examining Cultural Landscapes of the Past: Charles Towne Landing”

Zak Bartholomew: ‘The Use of Geospatial Statistics for Defining Archaeological Sites Using Surface Survey Data”

Caitlin Bennett: “Dental Age Estimation in Subadults: A Re-Evaluation of Standards for Contemporary African American Children”

Carolyn Howle: “Reimagining the New Grange Passage Tomb through Folklore”

Jeremy C. Miller & Aaron Brummitt: “Observing Multi-Site Occupation through Innovative and Affordable Technologies:  An Analysis of over 5,000 Years of Human Occupation at 38BK2091, Rebellion Farms”

Hannah Rawcliffe: “Anthropology and Technology:  How Can Cultural Heritage Digitization Improve Dissemination of Information to the Public?”

Susan Bergeron: “Reconstructing the Rice Kingdom: Developing an Immersive Virtual Landscape for Historic Hampton Plantation”

Jesse Rouse: “From the Surface Down: Looking for Landscape Change at Hampton Plantation”

Craig Garrison: “Carriage Steps and Charleston’s Streetscape”

 

Welcoming Remarks by Tracey Burkett, Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Charleston

Keynote Address by James Newhard, Director of Archaeology, College of Charleston

The conference is sponsored by the SC State Park Service in partnership with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Program in Archaeology at the College of Charleston.

ARCHClubLecture

5th Annual SC State Parks Archaeology Conference

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 19 February 2015 | 4:34 pm — 

Call for Papers -2015 (2)

Lowcountry Archaeological Field School this Summer!

By Lauren Saulino
Posted on 2 February 2015 | 7:15 pm — 

COURSE: ANTH 493 Archaeological Field School, 8 s.h. of credit
DATES: Monday, May 18, 2015 through Thursday, June 2, 2015 (7 weeks)
TIME: 7:30 a.m. – 2:30/3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
PLACES: Dill Property (James Island), Manigault House (downtown), and one of the state parks (yet to be determined)
INSTRUCTORS: Dr. Barbara Borg (CofC), Ms. Martha Zierden (Charleston Museum) and Mr. Ron Anthony (Charleston Museum).  Other archaeologists from the SC state parks system will also be working with us when we are working on one of their sites.
TRANSPORTATION: Students usually drive their own cars or arrange to ride with other students.  If the state park we work in is farther away than CharlesTowne Landing (West Ashley) or Colonial Dorchester (Summerville) the park service will hopefully provide a van and driver.  (This happened one year when we traveled to Hampton Plantation State Historic Site near McClellanville, SC).  Students are expected to be on site ready to work by 7:30 a.m. (this is to avoid the heat later in the day, and you will be grateful for it).

This is an intensive, team taught field school (a 400-level course), the goal of which is to teach you all the basic skills of doing field archaeology. All special equipment will be provided, though there will be one required reference text to purchase.  There is a hefty academic component to the course with articles to read and summarize (made availabale on the OAKS system), a mid-term ceramics identification exam, a synthetic hypothetical project exercise, and a final written exam.  You must be able to do the homework on your own time, after the field day is over, so this means evenings and weekends.  It is important to not over-schedule your life during field school.  60% of your final grade is field skills, and 40% is written work.

We dress sensibly for the temperature and the conditions, and no special clothing or shoes are required.  Athletic shoes, shorts, T-shirts, and hats are usual, long pants if we are working in the woods, and a rain poncho or jacket.  No sandals or flip flops are allowed for safety reasons.  Students bring their own sack lunches daily.  Water in coolers will be provided.  No alcohol is allowed.  Many students find the small rigid plastic coolers that hold food and drink (and that you can also sit on) to be very convenient, as we do not always have picnic tables.  Rest rooms are “usually” within walking distance.

A field school looks wonderful on your resume, and if you hope to work in, or go to graduate school in, archaeology you will be expected to have attended at least one substantial field school.  Field school teaches you how to work in a real research environment, and as a close-knit team despite occasional challenging weather extremes.  Field school is a wonderful experience for most, but you have to be serious about your participation.  You are graded on the skills you learn in field school, and there is little time to make up missed field days or written work.  Committing to doing all the work and staying on schedule is essential for success.  Those students who do this will find the field school to be a wonderful experience, we hope, and we have found this to be so over the past 20 years!

I hope this description finds some of you thinking seriously about field school.  This particular field school will not be held again until Summer 2017, though there are other possibilities both on and off campus to complete a field school. Again, shoot me an e-mail if you think you might be seriously interested: Dr. Borg (borgb@cofc.edu)

http://today.cofc.edu/2015/01/29/graduate-student-digs-old-charleston-city-wall-thesis-research/

Photo by Grace Beahm, Post & Courier

College of Charleston historic preservation student Justin Schwebler is literally in the trenches proving his thesis.

Schwebler, who will earn his Master in Science later this year, is tracking and analyzing the use of Bermuda stone in Charleston, South Carolina. His research showed the stone was used as the foundation of the city’s original sea wall, built in 1769, and he wanted to prove it.

With the help of his professors in the joint master’s program between the College of Charleston and Clemson University, a dig was organized to uncover portions of the wall.

On the first day of the dig, Bermuda stone was uncovered, though not in the area believed to be the original sea wall.

Schwebler explains, “The stone is soft – it can actually be cut with a saw – so it is very possible the stone crumbled away after its lengthy exposure to water and waves.”

READ: Learn more about the dig in the Post and Courier.

Photo by Grace Beahm, Post & Courier

Bermuda and Charleston had a strong trade relationship in the 1700s, with thousands of blocks of Bermuda stone coming into the Port of Charleston. That said, it’s now rare to find in the city, and even more rare in other U.S. locations.

“Bermuda stone is in at least two other notable places downtown,” Schwebler notes. “The ‘pink house’ at 17 Chalmers St. and ‘Pirate’s Courtyard’ at 145 Church St.”

 

Faculty-Student Research Receives Support

By James Newhard
Posted on 18 December 2014 | 2:41 pm — 

Congratulations to the following archaeology students and faculty mentors, who have received support for research and professional presentations from the College’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities:

Academic Year Research Award
Alana Acuff (Anthropology) and Jami Baxley (Classics)
Mentor: James Newhard
Title: The Global Electronic Repository of Aegean Scripts (GERAS): post-processing 3D structured light scanning imagery
Research Presentation Grants
Olivia Adams (Anthropology)
Mentors: Maureen Hays, Kimberly Pyszka
Title: Landscape Archaeology and GIS: Understanding Cultural Adaptations and Tenant Farming in the Low Country, Hollywood, SC
Conference: South Eastern Archaeological Conference

Zak Bartholomew (Anthropology)
Mentor: James Newhard, Norman Levine
Title: The Development of a Legacy GIS for the Contextualization of the Linear B Deposits from the Palace of Nestor at Pylos
Conference: Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting

The Archaeology Club will be meeting this Thursday evening in Randolph Hall, Room 301B, at 5:30 pm.  In attendance will be a number of archaeologists from the area, discussing internship opportunities for the coming semester.

My old trowel.

November 2014- Isenbarger Flyer - Nov - Copy

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