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23 September 2003
4,000-year-old pottery shards in S. Carolina

Shards which may date back to 2000 BCE have been unearthed by a preliminary dig on a city-owned site in Beaufort, South Carolina (USA). Now archaeologists are hoping that the small collection of pottery fragments, found on a 1.27 acre plot on Joyner Street, may open the way to further investigation and provide information on habitation in the Woodland Period, between 2000 BCE and 900 AD. Archaeologist Daphne Owen Battle says: “I don’t think it’s going to be a site where somebody lived for a long time. [But for the site] to have remained intact in the middle of a subdivision is very phenomenal”.
     Battle, of Beaufort-based Cypress Cultural Consultants, conducted the survey under the Beaufort Unified Development Ordinance at the request of the city planning department after a decision to sell the Joyner Street plot for development. Now Battle’s work is being reviewed by Valerie Marcil, a staff archaeologist with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, who is expected to make recommendations to the city before the site is sold or altered. Marcil helps determine whether archaeological sites are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historical Places. Impressed with the recent findings, Marcil said: “The site could have very good information about the people who lived there and what they were doing.” While not expecting further excavations to reveal any substantial artefacts, Marcil has pointed out that pottery shards can tell their own story to professional investigators.
     There are 23,500 state-registered sites in South Carolina. Beaufort County is amongst the most progressive in South Carolina, according to Keith Derting, archaeological site file manager for the SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, with more than 2,000 known archaeological sites – the first county to pass this milestone.
     Battle’s survey also includes a site at Boundary Street, which was identified as the location of a Civil War fortification called Battery Saxton.

Source: BeaufortGazette.com (22 September 2003)

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