20 years of excavation comes to an end
The Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project to conduct its final field season March 8-12
By Jana E. Pye, Editor, email@example.com
Whether you have been a long time volunteer of the Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project on the Great Pee Dee River Heritage Preserve, or have never been, don’t miss your chance to visit as the archaeological investigation will conduct their final field season March 8 – 12 in Darlington.
According to archaeologist Chris Judge, professor at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, “After 20 years, it is time to finish up our excavations and shift towards intensive lab analysis and then prepare both technical and public oriented reports of our work at this important site.”
The site, a 2,725-acre preserve in Darlington County owned and managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, an area that has been a veritable treasure for archaeologists, who have discovered artifacts that span from:
Paleoindian Period (12,000-10,000 BC)
Archaic Period (8,000-3,000 BC)
Woodland Period (1,000 BC to AD 1,000)
Mississippian Period (ca. 900-1600 AD)
Historic Period: from Mississippian time through the 19th century, including artifacts from site namesake Johannes Kolb, a German who had emigrated to New Jersey in 1704. In 1737 he acquired land in the Welsh Tract – the Kolb site.
“Carl Steen, Sean Taylor and I were fortunate to have been introduced to this incredible archaeological resource by Ernest L. “Chip” Helms, Jr of Darlington,” shared Judge in a letter to the Friends of the Kolb Site. “Chip and his family, in particular his sister Mary Ellen Hodges introduced us to many friends in the area between Mechanicsville and Society Hill and in and around nearby Florence. These introductions allowed us to create a community-based program of archaeological research and education. Many of the undergraduate students who first volunteered at the Kolb site are now among the professional archaeologists working in our state and beyond. Numerous volunteers from the local community, across the state and throughout the southeast joined us in the process of carefully and systematically sampling this site and we have learned many important lessons along the way.”
“The March 2016 field effort is not the end of the Kolb project; far from it actually. We are now raising funds and beginning to design a museum exhibit on the prehistory of South Carolina featuring the Kolb site, continues Judge. “This exhibit will run for three years with an opening reception on Saturday March 18, 2017 at the Native American Studies Center at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, during the Native American Festival that kicks off Native American Studies Week. So the emphasis shifts from fieldwork at the site each March to the laboratory year round, and Public Day will now be held in Lancaster, South Carolina on a Saturday each March.”
Visit the site:
Whether a longtime volunteer or interested in your first field visit, the community is invited to join the volunteers during the 20th and final season of the Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project at the Great Pee Dee River Heritage Preserve in Darlington County, SC.
Help celebrate two decades of archaeological investigation in the Pee Dee by volunteering or visiting the site daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The one-week excavation is staffed by students, volunteers, and professional archaeologists.
Group visits must be scheduled in advance; please contact Meg Gaillard, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Heritage Trust archaeologist, at 803-528-1455 or by e-mail at GaillardM@dnr.sc.gov. The Public Day is Saturday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Directions to site:
From downtown Darlington:
1. Take Hwy 34 (Cashua Ferry Rd) traveling northeast approximately 7.8 miles to intersection of North Charleston Rd (on the left) and South Charleston Rd. /State Road s-16-35 (on the right).
2. Turn left onto North Charleston Rd. and go about 1.5 miles.
3.Turn right onto the preserve road just after the Wildlife Viewing sign (tan binoculars on brown background) There will be a double gate (likely to be open) and on the gate will be a sign for the Great Pee Dee River Heritage Preserve.
4. Follow the preserve road (dirt/gravel road) about three miles. Continue through several year old timber harvest clear cut. Kolb Site is located about a mile beyond clear cut.
This year’s Public Day demonstrators:
On the public day Saturday, March 12, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., enjoy demonstrations of African American lifeways, leatherworking, and reenactors in addition to demonstrations by Fuz Sanderson, Keith Grenoble, and Scott Jones. The South Carolina Archaeology Public Outreach Division (SCAPOD) will provide kids’ activities including pottery re-fit and sand stratigraphy.
A call for help: donations
Work at the Kolb Site has been made possible by the generous contributions of private parties, grants, volunteer workers, and the communities of Mechanicsville and Society Hill, South Carolina.
With the economy lagging and pressure on state government to spend less on discretionary programs the usual funding sources are scarce, and contributions are requested to help cover the costs of food, transportation and supplies for field volunteers and demonstrators. After fieldwork is over the artifacts need to be washed, cataloged and stored, which incurs additional funds.
To make your donation to the Kolb site, e-mail Diachronic@aol.com, send a check to PO Box 50394, Columbia S.C. 29250.