October is Archaeology Month! By Dr. Audrey Dawson-Croft

It’s almost October! And, that means cooler temperatures, fall foliage, and pumpkin flavored everything! In South Carolina, it also means Archaeology Month!  

Archaeology Month is a statewide, educational outreach program that celebrates our shared cultural heritage. During the month, there are a variety of events held at locations throughout the state. South Carolina’s first event of this type, an Archaeology Week entitled “Witness the Past,” was held September 19-26, 1992, thanks to the efforts of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), the Archaeological Society of South Carolina (ASSC), the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and the Southeastern Archaeological Center of the National Park Service, among others. In 1998, Archaeology Week was expanded into an entire month as the number of educational programs increased. The first Archaeology Month, “Rock Art: Stone Imagery through the Ages,” was held September 3-October 3, 1998.

This October, South Carolina is celebrating its 26th annual Archaeology Month with a great list of events. These events are listed below in the order that they occur.


105th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair

October 3-7, 2017

Although not held in South Carolina, the 105th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair allows visitors to experience Cherokee culture through archery and blowgun demonstrations, stickball, and local art, dance, and music. The Cherokee historically lived in areas throughout the upstate of South Carolina. This annual, four-day event will be held at the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds in Cherokee, North Carolina. For more information, please visit http://visitcherokeenc.com/events/detail/cherokee-indian-fair/.


5th Anniversary Celebration of the Native American Studies Center at the University of South Carolina Lancaster

October 5, 2017 (4:30-7pm)

Visit the Native American Studies Center at the University of South Carolina Lancaster on Thursday, October 5th to celebrate their fifth anniversary! The event starts at 4:30pm and will feature Native American entertainment, basketing making demonstrations, and speakers from both the University of South Carolina and the state recognized Native American tribes. Guests will also be able to view the displays and exhibits, tour the Center, and participate in a fundraiser challenge and art raffle. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served. For more information, view the Center’s newsletter at http://usclancaster.sc.edu/nas/newsletter/v7i3.pdf.


Historic Camden Lunch and Learn: Archaeological Efforts at the Battle of Camden with James Legg

October 6, 2017 (12-1pm)

Join archaeologist James Legg, from the SCIAA at the University of South Carolina Columbia, for a presentation on the archaeological excavations of the Camden battlefields and to view artifacts from these excavations. It is free and open to the public. Please bring a bagged lunch. For more information, please contact Haile Brazier at (803) 432-9841 or visit https://www.historiccamden.org.


Sweetgrass Basket Classes

Saturdays in October

Every Saturday in October, the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn Plantation on Hilton Head Island is offering a class on sweetgrass baskets. Listen to a local 7th generation Gullah basket maker talk about the history of one of the Lowcountry’s best known art forms and try to make your own. The cost is $65/person and reservations are required, visit http://www.coastaldiscovery.org/event-registration/?ee=5415 for more information.


Annual ASSC Fall Field Day

October 7, 2017

The Archaeological Society of South Carolina’s (ASSC) Annual Fall Field Day will be held on Saturday, October 7th. This year’s Fall Field Day will be held at the University of South Carolina Aiken as part of their 32nd Annual Science Education Enrichment Day (SEED). Fall Field Day is a free, family-friendly event where visitors can see primitive technology demonstrations, meet with local archaeologists, and learn more about South Carolina’s rich cultural history. Please stop by the SCAPOD table and say hi! For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/ArchaeologicalSocietyofSC/.


FestiFall at Walnut Grove Plantation

October 7-8, 2017

Visit Walnut Grove Plantation in Roebuck, South Carolina (near Spartanburg), for the 25th Annual FestiFall, a two-day living history event. Over the weekend, visitors can watch the reenactment of a Revolutionary War skirmish. In addition, artisans will be on-hand to demonstrate how candles, baskets, brooms, barrels, and other items were made during the colonial period. To plan your trip, visit http://www.spartanburghistory.org/calendar/2017/10/7/festifall-at-walnut-grove-plantation.


The Historic Zion Forum at the Heritage Library, Hilton Head Island

October 13, 2017 (8:30am-6:30pm)

On Friday, October 13, the Heritage Library on Hilton Head Island will host the Historic Zion Forum. Anthropologists, historians, and local experts will discuss recent archaeological excavations at Palmetto Bluff and other important sites; the Revolutionary War Trail and local battlegrounds; and the preservation of Gullah Geechee culture, among other topics, in order to understand Hilton Head Island’s role in American history during the American Revolution and the plantation era. SCAPOD’s own, Dr. Kimberly Cavanagh of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, will be presenting on community partnerships and the importance of these to Hilton Head Island. A cocktail reception will be held after the Forum at the Zion Cemetery & Baynard Mausoleum. Tickets for the day-long program cost $65; tickets for the lunch and lunchtime presentation are $20; and students with a valid student ID are admitted for free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/historic-zion-forum-tickets-36278871080.  


History Day at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn Plantation

October 14, 2017

Join the Coastal Discovery Museum on Saturday, October 14, for the Hilton Head Island History Day. Four docent-led morning and afternoon tours (either by bike or trolley) will introduce visitors to the island’s military history in addition to its nautical and agricultural history and preservation. Reservations are required. Please visit http://www.coastaldiscovery.org/event-registration/?ee=5376 for more information.


Volunteer Archaeological Excavation at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site

October 14-17, 2017

Join archaeologists as they excavate the site of the enslaved laborers’ house at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site. The artifacts recovered from these excavations will improve our understanding of how the enslaved laborers lived, worked, and created a community on this 18th to 19th century rice plantation. Volunteers will be able to assist in screening the soil and washing the artifacts recovered. Come for a day or stay for the weekend! Visit http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/products/10004015 for details on how to register.


Civil War Earthworks: Tour and Presentation at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site

October 14, 2017 (1:30-4pm)

Visit Rivers Bridge State Historic Site on Saturday, October 14, for a tour of the Civil War earthworks at the site. The tour will start at 1:30pm and end at 2:30pm. It will be followed by a presentation from Dr. Eric Poplin, an archaeologist at Brockington & Associates. Dr. Poplin will discuss the recent archaeological excavations of the Civil War earthworks at Congaree Creek battlefield near Cayce, South Carolina. The cost is $5 for adult; children ages 15 and under are free. For more information, visit http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/products/10004443.


5th Annual Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival: A Rich Tapestry of World Cultures

October 19-21, 2017

This year the Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival will be held in Gambrell Hall, Room 153, on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus from October 19th through the 21st. This annual event is free and open to the public. The film festival screens documentary films that highlight archaeological contributions to understanding past cultures. This year’s theme is “A Rich Tapestry of World Cultures.” More information, including show times and film titles, can be found at www.arkhaiosfilmfestival.org.


2017 Lunch and Learn Series, Native American Studies Center, University of South Carolina Lancaster

October 20, 2017 (12-1pm)

Join archaeologist Chris Judge for the monthly Lunch and Learn event at the University of South Carolina Lancaster, Native American Studies Center on Friday, October 20th. In a presentation entitled “Archaeological Research in the Upper Portion of the Wateree Valley: Mounds, Mortars, and Mysteries,” Professor Judge will discuss the potential of the region near the headwaters of Beaver Creek in understanding the Mississippian (ca. A.D. 1000-A.D. 1600) polity and cultural landscape. The potential for this region was revealed through the analysis of artifacts recently donated to the Native American Studies Center. The lecture is free and open to the public. Please bring a bag lunch. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1639719916059424&set=gm.1826527684326811&type=3&theater.


“Piecing Together the Past with Archaeology” at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site

October 21, 2017 (10am-4pm)


Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site in Charleston, South Carolina, is hosting an event entitled “Piecing Together the Past with Archaeology” on October 21, 2017. Visitors will be able to visit with the site’s archaeologist and other local professionals to see how archaeologists learn about the past.  Guests will also be able to visit the site’s archaeological resources and view artifacts from excavations at the site. Plan your trip to Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site at www.southcarolinaparks.com/products/10003566.

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