|There was a time in the far distant past when men and women set foot upon the soil of what we now call Carolina for the first time. From that moment on the activities of humankind here have been recorded.
From the first spearpoint crafted from local chert, from the first deer felled by that spear, to the very moment the Union warship Patapsco, amidst thunder and fire, came to rest on the sands of Charleston Harbor, when the last Edgefield potter gently melded earth, fire and water into the simple beauty of a stoneware jug-- it has all been recorded. This record is an amazingly complete story of all that has befallen us--it is a tale which faithfully holds our history fast, patiently awaiting the hands of those skilled in revealing its knowledge, so that it may become part of the cherished heritage of this historical corner of America we call South Carolina.
And where is this record? Where are the pages that hold this knowledge fast? They are beneath our feet still--they form the very soil on which we came first to tread--it is beneath the seas and rivers which brought many of us to the settlements and plantations that began our saga here. The record is revealed by archaeologists who, with their trowels, patiently peel apart the pages laid down by time. They translate the secrets they unearth into the books, films, and museum exhibits that tell the rest of us who we are, where we came from, what struggles, sacrifices, rewards, and accomplishments contributed to the process that makes us what we are as the South Carolinians of today.
And yet the story is barely told. Recognizing this, the State of South Carolina created the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in 1963. While State and Federal funds support much of the work of the Institute, much of the pure archaeological research is paid for by the private sector. These funds come from foundations, grants, commerce, and industry--companies with the desire to be good corporate citizens, individuals with a desire to make a personal contribution to their State's heritage, and yet more help is urgently needed.
What You Can Do To Preserve Our Past