Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve Documentary Film Series Public Screening

Archaeologists from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Heritage Trust Program hosted a film screening of the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve documentary film series in Columbia, SC, USA for the 2015 Day of Archaeology. Also in attendance were archaeologists who worked with DNR from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) and the South Carolina Archaeology Public Outreach Division (SCAPOD).

FFHP Film Screening 24 July 2015

Archaeologist Sean Taylor (left) answers questions at the screening of the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve documentary film series.

The film series documents archaeological excavations, tabby restoration, and public tours that took place at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve during the winter of 2014-2015. The films and supplemental educational resources (lesson plans and vocabulary list) are available for free on the films web page and HD film versions are available through the filmmaker’s website and Vimeo.

Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve Artifacts

SCIAA archaeologists have cataloged over 12,650 artifacts excavated from the site during the winter of 2014-2015, and the number continues to grow daily as more artifacts are analyzed.

Funding for the film series was provided by the DNR Heritage Trust Program, and grants received from the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund and The Humanities Council SC. A survey is provided to gain feedback from viewers.

Tabby Restoration and Documentary Filming

Tabby restoration expert, Rick Wightman fills molds with recently mixed tabby at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve while filmmaker Jamie Koelker documents the process.

The Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve is a 3-acre property owned by the DNR and located in Port Royal, Beaufort County, SC, USA. Situated along the Beaufort River, the preserve contains the remains of a tabby fort built by the British between 1730 and 1734 to defend against possible attacks from the Spanish at St. Augustine, Florida. The preserve acquisition was made possible by a donation of the site from the National Park Service’s Federal-Lands-to-Parks Program and funds from the DNR’s Heritage Trust Fund.

Sean Taylor with visitors at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Archaeologist Sean Taylor (left) shows artifacts to visitors at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve.

The fort, also known as Fort Prince Frederick, is thought to be the oldest tabby structure in South Carolina and possibly the oldest tabby fort in the Southeastern United States. Provincial scout boats were stationed here periodically. A relatively small fort, it measures 125 feet by 75 feet with an obvious bastion on the southwest side. The eastern wall was lined with a battery and cannon. The interior of the fort held a barracks and a magazine, and was garrisoned by an independent Company of Foot British Regulars until their transfer to Georgia in 1736.

Artifacts in hand at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve

Nineteenth century artifacts excavated from the Smith’s Plantation component of the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve.

Transitions in slavery in the Virginia Piedmont

Excavations a Wingos

Six graduate, one undergraduate, and two recent graduates in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee are working, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to study transitions in slavery in the Virginia Piedmont during the 18th century. We’re comparing three sites, all associated with members of a single enslaved community that were relocated from the eastern to western piedmont in the 1770s. The North Hill site at Poplar Forest in Bedford County, Virginia, was excavated in the 1990s, and the collection is being compared to artifacts from two sites currently under investigation: Wingos, also a quarter farm at Poplar Forest, and Indian Camp plantation in Powhatan County, about 85 miles to the east. Enslaved members of the community lived there from the 1730s-1770s before being moved west.

One part of our team came close to wrapping up work at Wingo’s quarter today. In 2009, we found two subfloor pits associated with one of the houses at the quarter; this summer we’ve been looking for additional structures and samping the yard, seeking evidence of how enslaved residents shaped the spaces surrounding their houses. Today started with backfilling and a run to the local farm supply store to buy straw. We backfilled completed units and planted grass seed on them, and finished troweling, photographing and mapping what were supposed to be our last two units. At about mid-day, as the temperatures soared to nearly 100º F, we discovered a large feature running into the south wall of one of the last units. We spent the remainder of the afternoon opening a new unit in an attempt to expose its edges. We’ll have to return Monday to continue working to define it. Luckily, we have the resources to extend our excavations for a few more days. (more…)