Previous Research in Adjacent States

Archaeology developed much differently in Georgia and North Carolina than it did here in South Carolina. In both cases the main campus of the state's university systems hosted archaeologists who attracted students and conducted in-state research from the 1930s onward. Although there were incursions by curious out-of-staters we were 30-40 years behind them. When people began doing archaeology here they relied on established typologies from the neighboring states, as well as developing local types of their own. In some cases the types, series, and ware groups seem valid. Pottery that is identifiable as Deptford Check Stamped extends from southeastern North Carolina to Louisiana (Brown 1982). If Yadkin check stamped is included the type extends well into central North Carolina.

Native Americans did not observe our modern borders, and cross country travel appears not to have been uncommon. Savannah River type broad stem, broad blade points, for instance, are found all across the Eastern states, and both the Tuscarora and the Catawba, moved to the south from the Great Lakes region. In the early 18th century Seneca raiders were the feared enemies of the Waccamaw and Cape Fear Indians of Southeastern North Carolina, who avidly sought the protection of the European settlers. An early 18th century missionary in Goose Creek noted that the Indians to the north spoke a language that was the equivalent of Latin in Europe. He called it Soano, Savano, or Siouan at different times. He said it was mutually intelligible as far north as Canada (Le Jau, in Klingberg 1956). The people to the south and west spoke Muskhogean, and it was intelligible at least as far as the Mississippi. So finding pottery types used in the adjacent states is not unexpected.

Georgia was extensively occupied by Mississippian people, and the many mound sites there drew archaeologists from all across the nation. This continues today with the work of David Hurst Thomas and his team from the National Museum of Natural History (see Thomas et al 2008,Thomas, Deagan et al 2008).

This great gathering of researchers has resulted in the naming of over 400 types, according to a recent web site established by Mark Williams, of the University of Georgia. He notes that about 60% of the identifications “are of no real value.” Chester DePratter's “Mouth of the Savannah Sequence” (DePratter 1991) is applicable, to a point, on most of the coast. The pottery in the Appalachians and adjacent foothills is the same in North and South Carolina, more or less. Work along the Savannah River has been introduced previously.

North Carolina had less Mississippian mounds, but it produced a university based archaeological program that not only spread its graduates far and wide, but continues to do so. Today there are archaeologists working in both academic and CRM settings all across the state. For an overview the reader is referred to Trawick Ward and Steve Davis' 1999 book “Time Before History.”

In terms of pottery studies, there are so many it is hard to decide which to include. Joffre Coe's 1964 monograph (Coe 1964) provides a basic framework and his 1995 Town Creek book (Coe et al 1995) is valuable as well. Both of these deal with sites in the upper Pee Dee drainage, and are directly pertinent to South Carolina sites. Billy Oliver's dissertation also focuses on sites in the Yadkin branch of the Pee Dee (Oliver 1992). If there is a lot of pottery research out there, one must point out that most of it deals with later expressions. The exception to this is Joe Herbert's excellent overview of Coastal Plain pottery (Herbert 2003, 2009). In the Piedmont and Appalachian recent dissertations by Dave Moore (2002), Chris Rodning (2008), and Jon Marcoux (2008) expand upon the pioneering work of Bennie Keel (1976) and Roy Dickens (1976).

One might think that sites on the Virginia border would not contribute, but the ceramic practices used by the Sara there were brought south when they moved to the Pee Dee river in the 1690s (see Wilson in Neighbors ed, 1983) though considerable additional work has subsequently been conducted by the University of North Carolina.

In addition, Stanley South's masters thesis, finished in 1958 but recently published by the University of North Carolina Press (South 2003), focused on sites along the Roanoke River at the Virginia border, yet the pottery he illustrtaes could easily be lost in a collection from the Coastal Plain of South Carolina.