Road widening leads crews to discover ancient civilization

Hwy 378 Indian burial

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - While preparing to widen a Florence County highway, SC Department of Transportation crews stumbled upon a 10,000-year-old discovery.

Crews found an old Native American campsite, and are excavating the site. Officials ask that the location of the site be kept quiet until all historic pieces have been removed.

"We came in and did some exploratory shovel testing, and found some Native American ceramics, some pre-contact period artifacts," said Sean Norris, Archeologist.

Arrow heads, pieces of pottery and cookware are just a few items that have been found in the soil at the campsite, but archeologists said they're looking for more.

"We're clearing off the plow zone levels, the disturbed levels and getting down to where we can potentially find some pit features maybe some postal features," said Norris.

Norris is leading this dig. He says finding feature like this will help his team uncover clues about the size of the campsite, and the people who lived there.

"You know a lot of times, the pre-contact Indians in the area would travel the waterways, the Lynches River, the Pee Dee River and up and down the tributaries following the food sources," said Norris.

SCDOT is overseeing the dig and is working with the Catawba Indian Nation to analyze the findings.

"We will take it back to our lab and run some analysis, do some measurements, get some good photographs and stuff. And then it will all be kept with the South Carolina Institute of Archeology and Anthropology," said Norris.

Some of the history found at the site will be placed in an exhibit at the new Florence County Museum.

"Native American people have been in this area for a long, long time. And there are still a lot of Native American groups in this area, and we are very interested in preserving their culture and history," said Norris.

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