Official 2022 Conference Program

The following is the official conference program for the 2022 conference on February 19, 2022! Find full event details here.

Schedule of Events | Abstracts
*Presentations are being live streamed from the Society’s YouTube channel

9:15-9:30: Welcome and Introduction by President David Gordon

9:30-9:45: Insights on Early South Carolina Prehistory Derived from Upper Lake Marion GPS Location Data, by Robert Costello

Very early in the author’s endeavors as an avocational archaeologist the potential value of recording specific location data for significant archaeological artifacts became evident and prompted his purchase of a GPS receiver. During his past two decades of archaeological research this has resulted in recording of more than a thousand GPS location marks related to archaeological sites and specific artifacts recovered from surface-collecting the Lake Marion shoreline in Clarendon and Sumter Counties.

This presentation serves to introduce the archaeological community to these data and to seek input on how best to share it for the betterment of South Carolina archaeology. Some of the more interesting perspectives on the Paleo and Early Archaic presence derived from these data will be highlighted. It is hoped that this presentation will encourage other avocational archaeologists to prioritize recording and reporting specific location data on their finds.

9:45-10:00: The Lafayette Bridge, by Brandon Peck (Coastal Carolina University)

The Lafayette Bridge in Georgetown finished its construction in July of 1935 and with it, the route from Maine to Miami had finally been completed. To the descendants of enslaved peoples still living on either side of the Winyah bay, a new sense of freedom had been granted to them. On the Waccamaw Neck, several different communities of African American peoples remained following reconstruction. At the large plantation sites on the Waccamaw neck, several Afro-Carolinian communities remained without electrification, medical care and economic security prior to the construction of the Lafayette bridge. At the turn of the century, the historic plantations in the Waccamaw neck region were procured by wealthy northerners who used these lands as their private hunting grounds and winter retreats with little care for the people who have called this their home for a generation. The Rural Electrification Commission (REC) established in 1936 would play a role in the development of public services to these communities. In this presentation, I plan on discussing the demographic transition following the construction of the bridge, the new economic opportunities presented to the descendant communities and the cultural-spiritual connection that they had to their homes.

10:00-10:15: Waccamaw Indian People: Past, Present, Future, by Carolyn Dillian (Coastal Carolina University), Katie Stringer Clary (Coastal Carolina University), Jesse Morgan(Coastal Carolina University), Cheryl Cail(Waccamaw Indian People), Harold Hatcher(Waccamaw Indian People)

The innovative exhibit Waccamaw Indian People: Past, Present, Future was a collaborative effort between Coastal Carolina University, the Horry County Museum, and the Waccamaw Indian People. The Waccamaw Indian People, whose traditional lands include Horry County, South Carolina, are a state-recognized tribe with cultural traditions that reflect their unique past. This project entailed the creation of an exhibit and educational material that highlights their culture and history, which is relatively unknown to the public. Coastal Carolina University students and faculty, in partnership with the Horry County Museum and the Waccamaw Indian People, used oral histories, historical archives, photographs, belongings, and collections to build an exhibit at the Museum that educates the public about the rich and diverse Native American history and culture of Horry County through community-driven interpretive text and interactive exhibits. The exhibit tells the story of the Waccamaw Indian People’s past, present, and future, as they wanted it told, using narratives gleaned from interviews conducted by students, and written with an ongoing back-and-forth with tribal members to ensure that the interpretation was in line with their vision for the message. It is our goal that this exhibit will provide model for archaeologists and museums working with Native American people.

10:15-10:30: Paddling into the Past: Conserving South Carolina’s Oldest Indigenous Watercraft, by Nicholas DeLong (Warren Lasch Conservation Center) and Gyllian Porteous

In August 2020, the WLCC took temporary custody, for the purposes of conservation, of an indigenous dugout canoe that had been illegally recovered from the Cooper River, South Carolina. Through carbon dating, this canoe has been dated to 4170 years old (±60) placing this canoe as the oldest in the state uncovered to date. The canoe is composed of 5 fragments with one major section that comprises a portion of the bow and hull of the watercraft.

One of the main goals of the conservation project was to collaborate with Native American Communities in South Carolina. A consultation event was hosted by the WLCC that brought together leaders from eight tribes and communities from across the state to discuss and determine the best treatment approach for the canoe. The goal of this collaboration is to recontextualize this significant artifact by reconnecting it with the descendants of its original makers.

10:30-10:50: Morning Break & Poster Session (see abstracts on last page of schedule)

10:50-11:10: Reconstruction and interpretation of archaeological textiles excavated from the H.L. Hunley Submarine: A collaborative effort between conservators, archaeologists, curators, and historians, by Johanna Rivera, Nicholas DeLong, Greg Varley, Virginia Theerman

The H.L.Hunley submarine disappeared in 1864 in Charleston after successfully attacking USS Housatonic. Researchers determined that shortly after the loss of the submarine, the bodies of the crewmembers were gradually covered with sediment, protecting their clothing from the environment. 

Sediment entered the submarine near the forward conning tower, covering the commander of the vessel, Lieutenant Dixon, earlier than the rest, contributing to a better preservation of his clothing. Due to their fragility, the textiles were block-lifted, containing a combination of textiles, skeletal remains, and personal artifacts. 

Lt. Dixon’s case puzzled the archaeological and conservation teams because he was not wearing military clothing but rather high-quality civilian attire. As a result, we sought the help from local historians and curators to try to reconstruct Dixon’s attire. This collaborative approach led us to finally piece together what Dixon wore and led us to resolve some of the clues to his mysterious life. 

11:10-11:30: A Deadly Device: Examining the Weapon System of the Submarine H.L. Hunley, by Michael Scafuri

The submarine H.L. Hunley attacked and sank the blockading ship USS Housatonic on the night of February 17, 1864, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, becoming the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in war. Although successful in its mission, the submarine was itself lost that same night. Since its recovery in 2000, the archaeological investigation of the vessel at Clemson University’s Warren Lasch Conservation Center has provided a better understanding of this attack and uncovered more details about the spar-mounted torpedo employed by Hunley. This paper will discuss these details as well as insights into the weapon system’s evolution, design, subsequent modifications to the submarine, and damage to the vessel relating to the attack. In addition, this paper will elaborate on some collaborative studies that have provided information on the torpedo blast effects and helped clarify current interpretations of the loss of the submarine.

11:30-11:45: Torpedoed, Salvaged, and Buried:  Findings from the 2021 Investigations of the USS Housatonic shipwreck off Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by James Spirek, State Underwater Archaeologist, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia

On the night of 17 February 1864, USS Housatonic while on blockade duty off Charleston Harbor was attacked and sunk by a spar-torpedo delivered by the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley during the American Civil War.  The ill-fated blockader became the first surface warship sunk by an underwater combat vessel.  In 1999, a partnership of Federal and State organizations conducted a geophysical and archaeological study of the site that determined the orientation of the shipwreck and noted the excellent state of preservation of recovered artifacts.  In 2021, another round of investigations built upon the earlier findings by focusing on the damage caused by the torpedo and on life aboard an Union blockader during the siege of Charleston.  This presentation will discuss preliminary findings from the recent geophysical and archaeological examination of the sunken Union warship undertaken by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, College of Charleston, and Clemson University’s Warren Lasch Conservation Center.

11:45-12:00: Contextualizing Historical Avocational Reports: A Comprehensive Database of South Carolina Hobby Licensee Reports Over Five Decades, by William Nassif, Underwater Archaeologist, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, and Emily Schwalbe, PhD. Candidate, Northwestern University.

Since its establishment in the 1970s, the South Carolina Hobby License program has permitted avocational small-scale recovery of archaeological and paleontological material from state waters. Individuals may apply for a license through the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA). Licensees must submit quarterly reports documenting their findings and may keep the materials they recover after SCIAA and the State Museum review their reports. Previously, licensees’ reports have directed the Institute to significant archaeological sites and shipwrecks, contributing to public understanding of South Carolina’s rich maritime heritage. Over the past year, archaeologists with SCIAA and Northwestern University have begun to create a comprehensive GIS database of licensee artifact reports from the 1970s to the present, with the goal of contextualizing findings and directing future archaeological studies. This presentation will detail the creation of this database and its potential application for South Carolina’s underwater archaeology.

12:00-1:30: Lunch Break

1:30-2:00: ASSC Business Meeting

2:00-2:45: Keynote Presentation

Social Distancing in the Age of Climate Change: Late Archaic Interactions in Cosmological Perspective, by Ken Sassamann (University of Florida)

The end of the Archaic Period in the American Southeast, ca. 3200 years ago, was once considered a consequence of innovations in technology, settlement organization, and food production. From a modern perspective, this transition is understood as a disruption in networks that connected people across vast space and diverse ethnicity in shared practices of world renewal. Coastal shell rings, large riverine settlements, and the largest site of regional gatherings, Poverty Point, were all abandoned at this time as groups disengaged and dispersed across the region. Archaeological evidence for interactions and gatherings in the centuries leading up to this transition shows how collective rituals tied to particular places created vulnerabilities to climate change that could not be resolved through traditional practices.

Bio: Dr. Kenneth Sassaman has a rich history in South Carolina archaeology. He worked at the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program for 12 years before joining the Anthropology Department at the University of Florida and has continued his work on archaeology in South Carolina for the past 30 years.

2:45-3:00: Afternoon Break

3:00-3:15: The Dirt Ceiling: An Overview of Gender Disparities in South Carolina Cultural Resource Management Reporting, by Katherine G. Parker (University of Tennessee)

Awareness of the structural inequity that exists within archaeology and anthropology has gained increasing attention over the last three decades, with numerous studies indicating the detrimental effects that this imbalance has had on the climate and individuals within our discipline. While past research has documented the effects of gender inequality in academic and societal realms, virtually no studies have investigated whether these gendered disparities persist in the cultural resource management (CRM) sector—a major oversight, given the breadth of archaeology conducted within this sector.  This article uses CRM report data from South Carolina to highlight patterns in authorship gender that have pressing implications for practitioners throughout the Southeast.

3:15-3:30: Archaeological Investigations in South Carolina’s National Forests:The Legacy of Robert Morgan, by David G. Anderson and Katherine G. Parker

Heritage management on South Carolina’s National Forests has encompassed a wide range of activities, by a great many people and organizations, ably directed for nearly the past 40 years by Robert Morgan. This work has included survey and compliance activity associated with the routine operation of the forests, part of a systematic resource inventory process; the implementation of a major mitigation program following Hurricane Hugo; numerous partnership projects with faculty, staff, and students at universities and other state and federal agencies; and outreach and education activity; architectural documentation and restoration project; and preparing historical summaries of life in the forest.

3:30-3:45: The Role of Archaeology in the Revitalization of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation of South Carolina, by Lisa A. McQueen-Starling, Chairwoman and CEO of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation of SC

As the CEO, Chairwoman, and Founder of the Wassamasaw Indian Nation of South Carolina, I have had the opportunity to consult on several different archaeological studies.  On March 2013 Brockington Associates Dr. Poplin to the Daniel Island Home-Owners Association monthly meeting regarding a large concentration of Native American artifacts were discovered during the excavation of a site in the Ralston Creek area and with Warren Lasch Conservation Center at Clemson University (WLCC) to consult on the conservation treatment of a fragmentary waterlogged dugout canoe removed from the Cooper River. The canoe has been dated to 4170 years old (+/- 60) placing this canoe as the oldest in the state uncovered to date. 

Our Tribe has a long and rich history in this part of coastal South Carolina, stemming from Daniel Island (before 1670 aka Etiwan Island) to Wassamasaw. On April 1, 2012, the Wassamasaw Indian Nation (WIN) filed a petition of over 2000 pages which included supporting documentation to be acknowledged as a Native American Indian Tribe in South Carolina. This process makes Native American Indian people prove their heritage. Our petition included several families and generations throughout the past 200 years that are related to each other by blood and who share common characteristics and behaviors. Our community has existed as a separate and ethically distinct community with a cultural heritage far beyond any other community in the surrounding area.

In this paper, I will share my experience acting as a consultant as well as an advocate for state recognition, and how archaeological discoveries can contribute to the future of federal acknowledgement for the Etiwan Tribe Wassamasaw which makes us a sovereignty nation.

4:00-4:15: Russian-American Collaboration on African American History in South Carolina and the Eastern US, by J. Christopher Gillam (Winthrop University), Richard J. Chacon (Winthrop University), Gleb V. Aleksandrov (HSE University, Moscow), and Dmitri M. Bondarenko (Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow)

Building upon continued research on enslaved people and their descendants at Historic Brattonsville, Russian and American anthropologists/archaeologists have gained fresh insights into the many difficulties of dealing with African American history in South Carolina and the eastern US. Specifically, the Russian Black Heritage project, in partnership with Winthrop University, SC, is exploring how the cultural memory of varied US ethnic groups maintain and project their own perceptions of African American history. Historic Brattonsville, members of the Brattonsville African American Project (BAADP) and other historic plantations across the eastern US have been instrumental in the early stages of the study despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic. Methods have involved direct interviews, participant observation, as well as museum, monument and institutional visitations that will continue in 2022 and beyond.

Poster Abstracts

A Comparative Study of Bone Pins from South Carolina, by Kiersten Weber

Animal bone pins are one of the few organic tools recovered from Late Archaic (5,000 to 3,500 cal BP) shell sites along the southern Atlantic Coast. Often incised with geometric designs, bone pins provide a glimpse into decorative styles that are distinct from decorations exhibited on contemporary pottery. This research quantifies morphological and stylistic pin attributes from five sites located in South Carolina. Recently recovered specimens from Pockoy Island (38CH2533) and Spanish Mount (38CH62) are included in this study as are bone pins from legacy assemblages of Daws Island (38BU9), Chester Field (38BU29), Fig Island (38CH42), Spanish Mount (38CH62). Bone pins are one of the few organic tools that are recovered from Late Archaic shell sites and provide a small glimpse into decorative styles that are distinct from decorations exhibited on pottery. This research quantifies specific morphological and stylistic attributes from bone tools recovered from five different comparable sites located on South Carolina coastal zones. The artifact assemblages include newly uncovered specimens as well as taking a fresh look at bone pins from legacy assemblages.

An Analysis of Ceramic Vessel Form and Function at the Pockoy Island Shell Rings, by Catherine Garcia

Excavations at Pockoy Island (38CH2533), a Late Archaic shell ring site on the southern coast of South Carolina, have uncovered an enormous amount of highly fragmentary Thom’s Creek pottery. A sample of this pottery was analyzed from a morphological and functional perspective in order to create an overview of vessel sizes and shapes that are present in the assemblage. Some vessel forms were then fully reconstructed using digital modeling software in order to identify specific vessels and their potential functions. Based on these results, inferences are made about site function and the activities that took place at these shell rings.

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