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Windy Ridge, 38FAl18, is a prehistoric site located on a ridge top in the inter-riverine zone between the Catawba-Wateree and Broad rivers in Fairfield County in the Piedmont portion of South Carolina. In May and June, 1977, archeological excavations were conducted at Windy Ridge by John H. House and Ronald W. Wogaman of the Institute of Archeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia. These excavations were funded by the (then South Carolina Highway Department) South Carolina Department of Highways and Public Transportation for the purpose of mitigating the loss of archeological resources due to construction of Interstate 77.
It has been requested that Windy Ridge and thousands of similar lithic artifact scatters on upland land surfaces throughout the southern Piedmont represent hunting camps that were occupied for brief periods, perhaps seasonally, throughout the Archaic. The archeological research at Windy Ridge was designed to examine this hypothesis in the case of a single site. Two alternative hypotheses of the overall function of such a site in prehistoric settlement systems and two hypotheses of the potential biotic resources extracted from the environment at such a site were formulated and a set of archeological test implications were outlined for each hypothesis. The sampling strategy and excavation techniques together with the analytical methods employed in the laboratory were designed to fulfill the data requirements of these hypotheses.
Artifacts from diverse cultural periods spanning 8000 years of prehistory were found throughout the sandy loam upper soil horizons at Windy Ridge. Though no stratigraphic separation of components was present, it was possible, analytically, to make some minimal segregations of the assemblage into chronologically and functionally meaningful units. It was inferred that throughout most of prehistory the aboriginal utilization of Windy Ridge consisted of many brief episodes of occupation, each involving the manufacture and/or use of a relatively narrow range of stone tools. The assemblage appears to be dominated by the outputs of manufacture of local raw materials and the use of hafted bifacial cutting tools. The spatial structure of the site suggests that quantitatively and spatially small units of cultural deposition characterized its formation during most prehistoric periods. The Middle Archaic component at Windy Ridge, however, seems to represent rather large units of synchronic deposition such as might be expected if prolonged or frequently recurrent use of permanent facilities had occurred during this interval at Windy Ridge.
On the whole, the data tend to support the hypothesis that Windy Ridge represents a series of brief episodes of occupation involving specialized extractive activities, perhaps hunting and butchering of white-tailed deer. This inference is far from conclusive, and the data suggest significant technological, functional and organizational differences among prehistoric components at Windy Ridge.

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The South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology--University of South Carolina




Excavations, Indians, Windy Ridge, Piedmont, South Carolina, Archaeology




This is Volume 3 in the Institute's 'Anthropological Studies' papers.

Windy Ridge: A Prehistoric Site in the Inter-Riverine Piedmont in South Carolina

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