The findings aren’t stunning – artifacts from that period are common throughout the state. But until recent years, archaeologists believed concentrations of artifacts from the Archaic period were likely only along major waterways. The Fort Jackson site is on sandy uplands, several miles from the Wateree River and even farther from the Broad.
“You were not supposed to find stuff like this in the sand hills,” said Chuck Cantley, archaeologist with the S.C. Department of Archives and History.
Researchers now are finding plenty of artifacts from that time – the Archaic period – on high ground. Audrey Dawson, the chief investigator at the Fort Jackson site, and her crew have found five dense concentrations. They uncovered sandstone they believe is from hearths, quartz that has been chipped to create tools and projectile points, and rare pieces of pottery.
The artifacts include stone from the mountains of North Carolina and coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, hinting at wandering groups. But it’s also clear someone sat in these woods and chipped quartz to make points.